Manchester United have reached a decision about their January transfer targets

Woodward is clearly thinking of the future this January

Manchester United find themselves in a curious position heading into the January transfer window.

Yet to appoint a permanent manager, it remains to be seen whether interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be given any say as to who he brings in next month.

The Norwegian might argue he has earned that right with a 100% win record since taking over from Jose Mourinho, his side having scored 12 goals in three games - that's more than a quarter of their goals for the entire campaign.

In truth, it speaks volumes about the toxic atmosphere the 'Special One' had brought upon the club that the Red Devils were willing to put themselves in such a position.

It's expected that before they make a permanent appointment in the summer, they will also be bringing in a director of football to help oversee recruitment.

So many United fans see Ed Woodward as primarily a commercial operator, a man chosen by the Glazers to oversee the business side of things - but one who, ultimately, hasn't made solid decisions concerning the game itself.

They might feel apprehensive, therefore, at the thought of their executive vice-chairman playing such a key role next month.

Big questions remain despite United's recent turnaround. Will they be bringing in a high-profile centre-back? Are they going to strengthen at full-back?

According to The Times, Woodward is set to err on the side of caution.

Woodward's plan of action 

The newspaper claim he is only willing to invest big money if certain young talents become available, such as Ajax's in-demand defender Matthijs de Ligt.

De Ligt is wanted by a host of other top clubs - including Manchester City and Barcelona, if reports are to be believed.

That would seemingly rule out a move for Tottenham's Toby Alderweireld, with whom United have been consistently linked. Spurs recently activated a one-year extension on his current deal, but one which contains a release clause of £25million.

Ajax are set to receive a host of offers for De Ligt

While he doesn't get everything right, it seems Woodward is making a shrewd decision here. 

There is little point bringing in expensive solutions to what may prove temporary problems, especially as a new manager could come in and overhaul the squad again in June. 

What is more, there are going to be no quick fixes. 

Investing in youngsters ought to prove a much more sensible strategy than trying to make a splash with big-name signings; as highest-earner Alexis Sanchez has proved, that can so often be a mistake even if he was brought in as part of a swap for Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 

And, whether he gets the job full-time or not, prioritising youngsters is a plan Solskjaer would approve of, too. 

Who should Man United sign in January? Have your say in the comments. 

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