Manchester United are reportedly preparing a January swoop for Bournemouth winger Matt Ritchie as manager Louis van Gaal looks for a wide man to alleviate his woes in the Premier League. The Scotsman scored 15 goals and made 17 assists in 44 starts in the Championship last season and despite a lackadaisical start to his league campaign this time around, United believe he has the quality to turn things around at Old Trafford.
The Sun reports that United have asked their scouts to keep a check on the 26-year-old, who has been called up to the Scotland national team. The wide man has not been able to replicate his goalscoring form thus far, managing only two goals and a solitary assist, but the injuries to key strikers at the home of the newly promoted side has somewhat stunted his ability to link up play.
Van Gaal has explicitly mentioned the need for a fast and creative winger, with Memphis Depay and Ashley Young failing to live up to expectations. The Red Devils been linked with a move for Newcastle midfielder Ayoze Perez, who has been in good form since coming to St James' Park.
Yacine Brahimi is another player who is also being tracked for a move to Old Trafford, with the Porto winger making a point for himself with his eye-catching performances for the Portuguese side both in the league and in Europe. Meanwhile, Van Gaal is also looking for other internal solutions, with the club contemplating bringing back Adnan Januzaj, who is currently on loan at Borussia Dortmund.
The report states United have made Sadio Mane their priority target but Southampton are unwilling to sell midway through the season, given the current fight for places in the Premier League. Ritchie is therefore being scouted as a fall back option should the Red Devils fail to sign any of their top targets, given he knows the Premier League well and will be able to comprehend the vigours of the challenge faster than others coming in from a different country.