'Really difficult': Romano says Man United will struggle to sign £40m ace and midfield target

Fabrizio Romano believes Manchester United face an uphill battle if they want to bring Edmond Tapsoba or Joao Neves to the Premier League in January from Bayer Leverkusen and Benfica respectively.

Sir Alex Ferguson once famously quipped that improving your roster in the winter window is a ‘very difficult’ task, the legendary Manchester United boss staying clear of the January market more often than not.

Erik ten Hag is likely to have a rather quiet month himself, albeit largely due to circumstance rather than desire. Despite Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s impending investment, Financial Fair Play limitations will likely restrict the Red Devils to cheap or short-term deals in the New Year, meaning big-money targets like Edmond Tapsoba, Jean-Clair Todibo, Antonio Silva and Joao Neves will probably be placed on the backburner until the summer.

Photo by ANP via Getty ImagesQuiet January likely for Manchester United

“The focus at the moment, from what I’m told, is a centre-back,” Romano tells the United Stand’s YouTube channel. ”From what I’m told, in January or in the summer, Man United will sign a top centre-back.

“One of the names, for sure, is Todibo. Man United already had very positive discussions on the player’s side last summer. The player was very expensive, 45 or 50 million euros. Way too much for Man United.

“Antonio Silva is another player United are following. Tapsoba at Bayer Leverkusen is another player they are following. He was on the list last summer and then he expected his contract at Bayer Leverkusen.

“I don’t see him leaving in January. I honestly think it would be really difficult to convince Bayer Leverkusen.”


Romano told Caught Offside a few weeks ago that Leverkusen, setting records in the Bundesliga and dreaming of a historic title, value Tapsoba at a minimum of £40 million.

Benfica’s wonderkid midfielder Joao Neves is another likely to be revisited in June rather than January, with Portugal team-mate Bruno Fernandes giving the wonderfully-gifted 19-year-old his seal of approval ahead of a potential reunion at Old Trafford.

Bruno Fernandes is a big Joao Neves fan

“Joao Neves is a player very well known by Manchester United,” Romano adds, the Red Devils talentspotters making regular trips to the Portuguese capital.

“The scouting department really appreciate him. Man United have been there (watching him) quite a lot. I think it is really difficult to sign him in January, also because (this) is a tough season for Benfica.

“I don’t see them selling a key player like Joao in January. But, in the summer, he could be one to watch because he is very talented.”

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