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Man Utd transfer news: Are Rice, Haaland and Zakaria any better than what Rangnick already has?

With the January transfer window approaching its halfway mark, we take a look at five potential Man United signings and compare them to what Ralf Rangnick already has at his disposal.

Many fans are calling for the Red Devils to strengthen ahead of the final five months of the season.
However, are any of the rumoured signings actually better than what Rangnick already has in his squad?
Here, we take a look at all the key stats, numbers and comparisons.

Declan Rice (West Ham) vs Fred

Declan Rice, West Ham, Aston Villa, Premier League

West Ham's Declan Rice has been liked with the biggest Premier League clubs for the last two seasons.

The 22-year-old is still in the early years of his career, yet he's already made 150 first-team appearances for the Hammers. Rice would undoubtedly come with a hefty price tag and many may ask whether the player is worth a near nine-figure sum.

One man already in the Man United squad who plays in the same position and has made a similar number of appearances this season is Fred.

The Brazil international arrived at Old Trafford from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018. Since then, he hasn't exactly set the stage alight.
Question is, how does he compare to Rice when looking at this season's stats?

Let's begin with appearances. Rice has played in 20 of West Ham's 21 league games this season - all of them starts. Fred, meanwhile, has 15 appearances to his name, 14 of them starts.


The extra time on the pitch has unsurprisingly given Rice a slight edge in the passing statistics, with the England international making over 360 more passes than his opponent.

The most important passing stat though, is the completion rate. The West Ham player has a completion rate of 90%, while his Brazilian rival is some way back on 84%.


Another stat which makes for interesting reading is the number of dispossessions. Fred has played 630 minutes less than Rice yet he has given the ball away 11 times - three more than the West Ham man.

Defence and attack

With regards to their defensive contributions, it's Rice who dominates the numbers. The West Ham midfielder has twice as many blocks (12-6), more than double the amount of interceptions (35-16) and also leads when it comes to tackles (46-39) and clearances (25-14).

However, it's not all bad news for Fred. In fact, the Brazilian has done better when it comes to the attack.

As well as scoring more goals (1-2), Fred also has a far superior shot accuracy rate, boasting a percentage of 83% - well ahead of Rice's 55%.

Verdict: When it comes to Fred, the stats suggest that perhaps the Brazilian is not being utilised to his full potential. The 28-year-old was dubbed 'the conductor' at Shakhtar Donetsk for his box-to-box style. However, because he is predominantly used as a defensive midfielder for the Red Devils, there's only so much he can bring to the table offensively.

With regards to Rice, the stats speak for themselves. The 22-year-old is already among the Premier League's best midfielders and it's no surprise that the biggest clubs in the world after chasing his signature.

The verdict is simple - it's time for the Glazers to get their chequebook out.

Denis Zakaria (Borussia Monchengladbach) vs Scott McTominay

Out of the five possible names on this list, Denis Zakaria is arguably the closest to becoming a Manchester United player.

The 25-year-old is out of contract this summer and his current club Borussia Monchengladbach have already announced that he won't be re-signing.

Liverpool, Arsenal and Man City have all shown interest in the player, but they will undoubtedly face stiff competition from Man United - a club that's in desperate need of a defensive midfielder.

To give you a better overview of Zakaria, here are a few stats in comparison with current United midfielder, Scott McTominay.

Zakaria has played in 15 of Gladbach's 18 Bundesliga games this season - starting 14 times and scoring two goals. McTominay, on the other hand, has made 17 Premier League appearances, 15 starts and has scored one PL goal.


Despite playing fewer league games, Zakaria is statistically a better passer than his rival. The Swiss international has completed 127 more passes than the Scot, and also enjoys a pass completion rate of 90%.

McTominay, whose own pass completion rate is 85%, comes up short in every passing category, though you could argue that competing in the Premier League is far more difficult than the Bundesliga.

Defensive contributions

McTominay makes up for his passing with some impressive defensive numbers. The 25-year-old has recorded 34 tackles this season - nine more than Zakaria.

The Scot has also prevented more dribbles against him (17-10) and has closed down opposition players on 230 occasions - 25 more times than the Gladbach man.

In attack

Scoring goals is not exactly the forte of both players. No surprise then to see them post similar attacking figures, with Zakaria producing four more shots (18-14) and McTominay posting a slightly higher shots on target percentage (28%-22%).

Verdict: Looking at the stats, you can begin to see that Zakaria and McTominay share a lot of similarities.

Both players are just 25 years old and still have their best years ahead of them.

United need fresh blood in the middle of the park and the partnership of Zakaria and McTominay would go a long way to building some much-needed stability in front of the back four. The verdict is simple, get him signed!

Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) vs Cristiano Ronaldo

The hottest centre-forward in world soccer has been linked with a move to the Premier League for a number of years now.

Erling Haaland's Borussia Dortmund contract expires in 2024 and the player will soon have to make a decision with regards to his future.

Should a move to Old Trafford transpire, it could ensue a fascinating battle for a starting shirt with Cristiano Ronaldo, who is currently manning the centre-forward position at the club.

Here's the big question then - should United stick with their star man or should they get back in touch with Mino Raiola? Here are the stats.

Due to Haaland's injury in October and November, the Norway international has only registered 13 league appearances this season - five fewer than Ronaldo. That, however, hasn't stopped him from dominating the stats.


Haaland might be behind Robert Lewandowski and Patrick Schick in the Bundesliga's golden boot race but he has still scored 15 league goals this season. Ronaldo, on the other hand, has eight efforts to his name despite having around 350 more minutes on the field.

The Norwegian also boasts a better shot on target percentage (42%-33%) and produces an average of 4.27 shots per match - more than Ronaldo whose number is around 3.8.


While the five-time Ballon d'Or winner might not be as lethal in front of goal as he once was, he does wipe the floor with Haaland when it comes to passing.
Ronaldo has completed almost 200 more passes than the Norwegian, and also boasts a passing completion rate of 79%.

His ability to distribute the ball around the park also gives him an edge when it comes to creating opportunities in front of goal. Ronaldo has produced 37 shot-creating actions this season, which is five more than Haaland.

Verdict: Man United don't need a centre-forward with a good passing ability. They need someone who can score 25+ Premier League goals a season.

Ronaldo, who is 36-year-old, was the right man for the job a decade ago. However, if United hope of returning to the top of domestic and European soccer, signing Haaland should be a priority. His goal numbers speak for themselves.

Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig) vs Nemanja Matic

Considering Ralf Rangnick's connections at RB Leipzig, it's no surprise that a couple of their stars are being linked with a move to Old Trafford.

One of them is Mali international Amadou Haidara who has been a stalwart in Leipzig's midfield for almost two years.

In order to learn more about the player, we have compared his stats with a United midfielder who has enjoyed a similar number of appearances and who potentially has the most to lose with his signing - Nemanja Matic.

Recent injuries have meant that Haidara has only been able to clock 13 appearances this season - 10 of them in the starting line-up. Matic, meanwhile, has enjoyed 11 apps in the Premier League with seven of them coming as a starter.

Attacking contribution

One aspect of Haidara's game which will get Man United fans excited is his attacking threat.
The 23-year-old has scored two goals this season and produced a total of 12 shots. That's significantly more than Matic who has had five attempts on goal and is yet to get on the scoresheet.
Bearing in mind those numbers, you won't be shocked to hear that the RB Leipzig man has an xG of 0.9. Matic, on the other hand, is rather disappointing when it comes to expected goals with a current xG of 0.1.


The Serb might not offer much of an attacking threat, but it's hard to deny his ability to distribute the ball across the park.
Matic has a passing completion rate of 86% after successfully delivering 430 of his 500 passes this season. Haidara comes up short in this area with a rate of just 80%.
However, one other stat of note is that Haidara has produced 115 passes under the press from the opposition - that's 31 more than Matic.

Defensive actions

When it comes to tackles, blocks and interceptions, there's little to separate them. That's not the case, though, when it comes to pressing.

With Rangnick looking to implement his gegenpressing concept at Old Trafford, he will be in the market for players who are keen to run and press.
Haidara is a player who certainly matches that requirement having pressed 173 times this season - that's 69 more times than Matic.

Verdict: With Newcastle appearing to enter the race for Haidara's signature, things could get a little expensive should United continue to pursue their interest in the player.

Looking at the stats, the player doesn't exactly leap off the page - even when compared with a 33-year-old Nemanja Matic. With that in mind, you could argue that United would be better off channelling their efforts into one of the aforementioned players.

Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig) vs Jadon Sancho

Having scored eight goals and produced seven assists in 18 Bundesliga games this season, it's no wonder that some of the biggest clubs in the world are beginning to show an interest in Christopher Nkunku.

The 24-year-old is firing on all cylinders and is the subject of many transfer rumours - including one linking him to Old Trafford.

Interestingly, Manchester United have already signed a winger from the Bundesliga. His name is Jadon Sancho.

The 21-year-old joined the Red Devils last summer from Borussia Dortmund, but so far he has failed to live up to expectations.

If United already have a young promising winger, should they consider a move for Nkunku? Here's how the two players compare this season.

Nkunku has not only made two more appearances than Sancho (18-16), but he has also started 17 of those games. Sancho, on the other hand, has only made 10 starts.

Unfortunately for the England international, it isn't the only stat where he falls short.


Considering Nkunku has played almost 600 more minutes than Sancho, we shouldn't be surprised that the Frenchman has dwarfed his rival when it comes to goals.

The former PSG player has bagged eight league goals this season, while the Man United man has only found the back of the net once in the Premier League.


Interestingly, Sancho has produced as many shots as Nkunku has scored goals this season. The 21-year-old has produced just eight efforts on goal while his rival is already on 48 for the season.
If that wasn't bad enough, Nkunku is miles in front when it comes to the shot on target percentage. The Frenchman tends to test the goalie with 47% of his efforts - Sancho's percentage is just 25%.
With those stats in mind, it's no surprise that the RB Leipzig winger possesses a whopping xG of 7.9. His Man United counterpart is only on 1.2 for the season.

Passing and assists

Apart from goals and shots, Nkunku also dominates when it comes to passing and assists.
The 24-year-old has produced 80 more passes than Sancho this season and also leads the Englishman 7-0 when it comes to setting up goals.

Verdict: It's no secret that Sancho is going through a frustrating first season at Man United. The player arrived at Old Trafford with a hefty price tag and appears to be suffering under the weight of expectation.

The 21-year-old will eventually find his groove and become a major asset for Ralf Rangnick's men but in the meantime, Nkunku would be a tremendous addition to the squad.

The Frenchman is arguably one of the most in-form wingers in world soccer. With that in mind, the verdict is simple - sign him.

READ MORE: How the Premier League would look if positions were based on Instagram followers

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