That could be the opening Manchester United have been waiting for. The Red Devils were interested in the England international in the summer but Tottenham were then unwilling to sell. Rose’s relationship with Mauricio Pochettino has, however, become fraught.
Back in August, Rose publicly underlined his desire to win trophies and the former Leeds United youngster revealed his plan to return North at some stage in his career – all pointing to a move to Manchester.
“Time is running out and I do want to win trophies,” Rose said. “I don’t want to play football for 15 years and not have one trophy or one medal.
“Sorry, that’s not what I am about. I wouldn’t be happy with that. I want to win something.
“I will say this too — I will play up north. I don’t know exactly when, but I will get back up north and play some football somewhere. I moved away from home (from Leeds to Spurs) at 16.”
That would’ve made José Mourinho’s ears prick up and the recent encouragement from Spurs could see a January switch take place.
But, as is so often the case in such situations, the will of the player to move will be determinative. As well as moving closer to home, a January switch could see the former Leeds defender treble his current £55,000-a-week wages.
But do United really need a left-back? And, if so, is Rose the right man for the job?
How Rose Compares To Mourinho’s Current Options
Left-back has been a position of flux for United this season, with Blind, Darmian, Shaw and Ashley Young featuring in the role at various points over the past 18 months.
Ideally, Mourinho would have a more settled occupant of the position, but one of the issues he has encountered is that the players at his disposal offer very different attributes, none of whom really supply the full gamut of what skills he requires.
Shaw presents the best attacking option, with his pace and ability to threaten the opposition with overlapping runs. Darmian is the most defensively astute but offers little to nothing going forward. Blind is somewhere in between, providing excellent deliveries from the flank and sensible positioning, but desperately lacks pace. And Young is a threat going forward, but can be caught out positionally given he is naturally a winger.
Traditionally, Mourinho prefers to operate with one adventurous full-back pushing forward and the other in a more defensive role – think Branislav Ivanović and César Azpilicueta from his second spell in charge of Chelsea.
With Antonio Valencia having become so crucial for the Red Devils at right-back, stationing another converted winger in Rose on the left would mark somewhat of a departure for the Portuguese coach.
But, like Valencia, Rose offers a degree of balance by being comfortable both in attack and defence, as well as when transitioning between the two.
At Spurs, Rose thrived as their main provider of width down his flank, benefiting from the defensive solidity of centre-backs Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, and excelling when played as a wing-back in a 3-4-3 formation.
However, this is not to say that Rose is negligent of his defensive duties. Indeed, at this stage of their respective developments, the Tottenham man is more effective defensively than Shaw, whose positional sense has not matured as quickly as Mourinho would have hoped.
Rose’s 1.6 interceptions per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season see him rank behind Blind (1.8) and Darmian (1.7) but he’s ahead of Shaw (1.3) But only the Italian defender (2.7) could better his average of 2.5 tackles per 90.
Offensively, Rose’s average of one dribbles per 90 minutes is far better than Blind (0.2), Darmian (0.3) and Shaw (0.5) while only the Dutchman (2) could better the Spurs man’s return of 1.5 key passes per 90.
Rose Could Be a Transformative Signing for United
If United are able to pull off the signing of Rose, it would be statement to the rest of the Premier League.
Taking a very skilled player from a direct Premier League rival would show just how serious United are about re-establishing their once-unquestioned status as the country’s biggest and best club.
On the pitch, with his pace, delivery, experience and consistency, Rose has the ability to significantly strengthen the Old Trafford side.
With right-footed players such as Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford often starting on the left wing, United have lacked genuine width and pace on the outside down that flank since Patrice Evra used to maraud forward from his left-back berth.
Adding Rose could see a return to the kind of wing play that is prized on the red side of Manchester, without having to compromise the manager’s preference for inverted or defensive wide men.
A notoriously hard negotiator, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy would not allow Rose to leave the North London club easily. And United are serious about their interest in the 26-year-old, they will need to match the £45million Manchester City paid Spurs for Walker in the summer.
But for their money the Red Devils would be getting a player who is perfectly suited to life in the Premier League and would instantly improve their starting XI.
Expensive though he may be, Rose could prove a transformative signing for Manchester United.