Five positions Manchester United need to address this summer - and the players they could sign
There has been a plethora of new arrivals at Old Trafford since Jose Mourinho took over as the manager in 2016. Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Eric Bailly, Nemanja Matic, Victor Lindelof, Fred Rodrigues and Diogo Dalot are seven of the nine signings made by the club under the Portuguese, while Alexis Sanchez was brought in from Arsenal in exchange for another Mourinho signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a stop-gap solution to United’s striker problems, was shipped to LA Galaxy upon former Everton man Lukaku’s purchase.
While there was a plethora of fresh blood brought into the club over the last two years – in a spending spree worth north of £300m (figures from transfermarkt.com) – the former Real Madrid manager was forced to end the season with nearly half a team filled with signings that were made prior to his arrival. The likes of Chris Smalling, Ander Herrera, Phil Jones and the aging full-back Antonio Valencia were all forced mainstays regardless of how impressive or unimpressive their showings were.
If the reports are to be believed, there will be another host of new talent to be brought in by the Manchester club to address a few key areas of the team. Along with reinforcements, United will also look to replace the reportedly outgoing squad players such as Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind and Marouane Fellaini.
Here are five positions that United need to address, and players that could potentially fit the bill.
Despite signing a central defender for two summers running – first Eric Bailly and then Victor Lindelof – Jose Mourinho still lacks a world-class centre-half who could provide the rock-solid base on which a team can be built. United are on the lookout for an ideal partner for Bailly.
Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly has been one of the most impressive defenders in the Serie A after they became the first team to accumulate 90 points and failed to win the Scudetto. Yet, he could prove to be the centre of a bidding war and could cost up to £70m. Clement Lenglet had a string of impressive performances in the Champions League and would be a relatively cheaper option to every other name United have been linked with, and younger than most. Jerome Boateng – a World Cup and Champions League winner – is seemingly an immense coup for anyone who can prise him away from the Allianz Arena.
But the most ideal option for United is Toby Alderweireld if Daniel Levy does drop his asking price (MEN report that Spurs want £75m for him). The Belgian is arguably the ablest centre-half in the English top flight with compatriot Jan Vertonghen and has all the qualities to lead and organize a defence. The Spurs defender comes with an abundance of experience in the league, is capable of playing with the ball at his feet and has an excellent reading of the game. The long-term benefit of this move would be his leadership and the influence he can have on the young Lindelof and Bailly. The only notable drawback is his injury record – but if fit, he should be the leading candidate to lead United’s defence.
Koulibaly is a very plausible alternative for Alderweireld and is relatively younger than the Spurs man.