Manchester United have continued their development under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and look set to finish the 2020-21 season strongly. The Red Devils are certain to finish second in the Premier League, while they also have a chance of adding silverware to their ranks by winning the UEFA Europa League.
But with Manchester City streets ahead of any other side in the Premier League, Solskjaer knows he needs to add a handful of quality players to his squad to compete on all fronts next season. His side have performed admirably for large parts of the current campaign, but their disastrous elimination from the UEFA Champions League group stages will play on the minds of the Norwegian.
Manchester United preparing for important summer ahead
Manchester United have been linked with quite a few players in the past few months, as they look to add to their squad this summer. With the European Championships around the corner, it remains to be seen how they go about their business after the end of the current campaign.
On that note, here are five players who have been linked with moves to Old Trafford this summer.
#5 Pau Torres | Villarreal
Manchester United need a central defender to partner Harry Maguire, as Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly continue to divide opinion amongst the Old Trafford faithful. Villarreal's Pau Torres could be the ideal man to add quality to their backline, with the Spanish international currently hailed as one of the best defenders in La Liga.
When quizzed by Sport (quotes via Mirror) about being linked with Manchester United and Arsenal, Torres downplayed speculation that he is keen to leave Villarreal this summer.
"It’s a pride to see that your work is reflected in these kind of things that are talked about. But I face it with a lot of calm, I’m in a great club like Villarreal, and from the tranquility, I work every day."
“I’m not thinking about that (taking a step forward) either, there’s still a long way to go, and my short-term objectives are the European semi-final and then to be available for the national team."
However, if Manchester United make a big offer for him, he is unlikely to reject a move to Old Trafford.
#4 Kieran Trippier | Atletico Madrid
Manchester United have been linked with several right-backs to provide competition for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Kieran Trippier could be the ideal man to play such a role at Old Trafford.
The Englishman sealed an unexpected move to Atletico Madrid in 2019 and has played an important role for Diego Simeone's side in the past two seasons.
However, if he's offered a return to England, Trippier might be tempted to make the switch to Old Trafford. He turns 31 this year and his best days are probably past him, but his crossing ability and experience could be valuable additions to a Manchester United squad that currently lacks depth in key areas.
#3 Raphael Varane | Real Madrid
Raphael Varane's contract expires in 2022 and the Frenchman is no closer to putting pen to paper on a new deal. He has been one of Real Madrid's most reliable players in recent years and has been linked with a switch to the Premier League, with Manchester United and Chelsea credited with an interest.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said earlier this month that Varane could leave the club if he fails to renew his contract, sparking rumors of a move to England. The Frenchman himself provided an update on his future, as he indicated that his future lies away from Real Madrid.
"My future is clear. I am focused on the end of this season. We are in a very intense and key moment”
Manchester United are likely to sign a central defender this summer and Varane could be at the top of their list if Real Madrid agree to part with him.
#2 Jadon Sancho | Borussia Dortmund
One of two Borussia Dortmund players on the list, Jadon Sancho was involved in a drawn-out transfer saga with Manchester United last summer. However, the Bundesliga giants stood firm on their price tag in excess of £100 million, due to which the transfer failed to materialize.
A gifted winger who is capable of scoring goals and creating them, Sancho could well leave for a considerably lesser sum this summer, with his contract set to expire next summer. Manchester United are in desperate need of a world-class player on the wings and could be tempted to rekindle their pursuit of the Englishman.
However, few clubs are reportedly monitoring the situation, so a bidding war could be on the cards for the former Manchester City star.
#1 Erling Haaland | Borussia Dortmund
Erling Haaland is currently the most wanted man in world football and has quickly made a name for himself as one of the most feared strikers on the planet. The Norwegian goal machine has broken several records since making his debut for Red Bull Salzburg and has carried on putting up world-class performances at Borussia Dortmund.
He has a release clause in his contract that allows him to leave for €75 million in 2022, so clubs across the continent have an important decision to make this summer. They could either pay over the odds and land him at the end of the 2020-21 campaign or wait a year to trigger his release clause.
Manchester United have thrown their hat into the mix, with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea also interested in signing the towering striker.