The Red Devils will reportedly be targeting Kalidou Koulibaly, Dayot Upamecano and James Tarkowski, and if one wonders why Manchester United are so keen on defensive reinforcements, they only have to look at the club’s recent performances.
The Red Devils made quite a few additions in the summer transfer window but failed to address a glaring issue in their squad – the absence of a world-class centre-back.
Even though Manchester United spent heavily on Harry Maguire last summer, there are lingering doubts that the Englishman might not be the ideal long-term solution to their defensive woes. Their recent defensive frailties came to the fore once again after Manchester United lost two of their first three games in the Premier League this season while shipping in 11 goals so far.
A 1-6 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at home left a bitter aftertaste and perhaps made Manchester United rethink their transfer strategy for next summer. And while that could lead to a defensive revamp in a year’s time, it may be easier said than done.
Manchester United’s defensive targets may not be easy to acquire
Manchester United are aware that targeting the three players in January might not be financially viable, which is why the club may wait till next summer to go on the offensive. But even then, their defensive targets might not be easy to acquire.
Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly has been under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s radar for quite some time, but luring the Senegalese to Old Trafford has proven to be quite a challenge.
Despite Manchester City’s strong interest in the player this summer, Koulibaly stayed at Napoli when the transfer window ended, and the Serie A club remains adamant that their star player isn’t leaving in the near future. Napoli director Cristiano Giuntoli has revealed that all concerned parties are content at the moment, and as such a move for the player is off the cards for a while.
"I think Koulibaly is staying. We are very happy, and so is he. I believe that he is staying," said Guintoli.
If Manchester United’s chances of securing Koulibaly next summer appear bleak, their road to Upamecano isn’t straightforward either.
The Red Devils were believed to be the favourites for the player’s signature at one time, but Liverpool are also reportedly monitoring the Frenchman now. As such, Jurgen Klopp and Solskjaer could be in a battle for Upamecano's signature in a year’s time.
Closer home, prising away Burnley’s Tarkowski may not be a walk in the park either. Manchester United could face competition from Leicester City for the Englishman's services next summer after the Foxes came close to sealing the deal this summer.
The player himself is believed to be interested in joining up with Brendon Rodgers at Leicester. Before the transfer window closed, the Foxes had already begun negotiations with the Clarets for the player who is valued at £40m by his club.
Even though the signs are not ominous for Manchester United, Solskjaer will hope that the summer of 2021 will bring some much-needed respite. The question is, will the Manchester United defence and Solskjaer be able to hold on for that long?Published 10 Oct 2020, 23:06 IST