3 key signings Man Utd need to make this summer | Bruno Fernandes influencing deals?
In order to become title contenders next season, these are the three key signings Manchester United will need to make this summer
As we near the end of the season, it is arguable that Man Utd need to exit the upcoming summer transfer window having made three new signings, improving three key areas of their squad; a central defender, a defensive midfielder and a right-winger.
Even though Utd currently find themselves sitting in second place in the table, any true fan will have noticed Utd’s lack of creativity and sometimes unenergetic performances as of late.
Even though finishing second would be an improvement to Manchester United’s third-place finish last year, in order to become title contenders, these are the three key signings they will need to make.
It is not unknown that Utd have goal-scoring talent within their team, including the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, alongside midfield talents Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes – the highest scorer for Utd this season.
Even though Man Utd are the second highest-scoring team in the league, they have conceded 32 goals so far this season compared to league leaders Man City’s 21 and herein lies the first problem.
The ability to have a strong attacking threat is reliant on having a defence you can trust to protect the team from counter-attacks, whilst also contributing in the build-up play. Harry Maguire’s partnership with both Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly has not provided Utd with the stability needed at the back, meaning a centre-back signing is essential for future success.
Man Utd have been linked to a number of defenders including the likes of Spanish International, Jules Koundé. However, the Express have reported that Koundé’s release clause is rumoured to be around £77m which may be too high, especially considering the hefty £80m already spent on signing Utd Captain, Harry Maguire.
More promising transfer rumours relate to French International and Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane. The Daily Telegraph reported that Madrid would be willing to accept a much lower price this summer due to financial suffering, as well as the fact Varane only has one year left on his contract.
Another potential option for Utd is Kalidou Koulibaly. The Mirror reported that Napoli would be willing to sell the centre-back for around £40m, half of what Utd previously offered in 2018.
Nevertheless, more recent reports have pointed towards Utd being interested in the 24-year-old centre-back Pau Torres who has been impressive in the La Liga this season. Metro reported that Torres also has a more affordable release clause in his contract of around €60 million (£51m), however Utd will be competing with the likes of Real Madrid in the race to sign the Villarreal star.
A defensive midfielder is another must signing for Man Utd this summer. Defensive midfielders should be able to not only help defend but also act as feeders to the attacking players, looking for those creative passes to get the ball from the back to the front quickly.
Arguably, Fred and Scott McTominay have not been able to provide any consistent strong performances as defensive midfielders for Utd in the absence of Paul Pogba. This may be due to both players having very similar styles of play, going box-to-box rather than acting as out-and-out defensive midfielders. Therefore, this signing is a must if Manchester United are to progress next season.
There have not been many transfer rumours linking Utd to any defensive midfielders. However, players such as Declan Rice or Wilfred Ndidi would be the ideal signings.
Manchester Evening News reported that Rice was ‘among the options in midfield’ for Utd but that Chelsea are frontrunners if Rice does decide to leave West Ham in the summer. Furthermore, Rice is likely to have a hefty transfer fee, as his contract with West Ham does not run out until 2024.
Although with Jesse Lingard having been loaned out to West Ham, Utd may have the advantage of being able to offer up a swap deal in an attempt to sign the England International.
Bruno Fernandes has been a revelation for Utd ever since his debut back in February 2020, with 26 goals/assists in 29 appearances this season.
However, this creativity in attacking midfield needs to be matched by creativity on the wings. Marcus Rashford is able to provide this on the left with 16 goals/assists to his name this season. However, with Mason Greenwood starting to play in a more central position and Dan James not being able to offer much more than pace in counter-attacks, a right-winger is an important signing for Utd.
Jadon Sancho was Man Utd’s target last year, however Borussia Dortmund’s demands were ultimately too high to reach any deal. Amad Diallo was signed as a young, promising alternative to Sancho but due to his age and lack of first-team experience, he has not been given much time to prove his worth in a Utd shirt.
Sancho most likely remains to be Solskjaer’s prime right-wing target, however, there are cheaper options for Utd to consider.
One such player who has been linked with a move to Utd is Wolves winger Pedro Neto. Football Insider have suggested that fellow Portuguese International, Bruno Fernandes, will be used to ‘lure’ Neto from Wolves this summer. It was reported that Neto would cost around £40m, a price which Utd would be able to afford.
NBC Sports have otherwise suggested that Utd are monitoring Leeds United star, Raphinha (via UOL.com). The report, which had come from a Portuguese outlet, suggested that Raphinha and Fernandes are best pals. Once again, it looks like Bruno Fernandes may be the middle-man used to tempt the 24 year old Brazilian into making the move. The pair used to be teammates at Sporting Lisbon in the 2018/19 season, linking up nicely to create goal scoring opportunities, with Fernandes assisting 5 of Raphinha’s goals.
Arguably, any of those wingers would provide Utd with the extra creativity and counter-attacking threat that lives within Utd’s DNA.
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