by Aiden Daries
Ole Gunnar Solskjær will surely be looking to get some big-name signings through the doors once the summer transfer window opens. Solskjær will begin his second term as Manchester United’s permanent manager next season after being brought in as Jose Mourinho’s successor.
The Red Devils have been somewhat topsy-turvy this season, with injuries being the main reason for this see-saw form.
Solskjær has managed to acquire the likes of Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James and his most notable signing, Bruno Fernandes, since being appointed. The quadruple all look to have been “proper” signings from the looks of things.
It is still unclear though if The Red Devils will be playing Champions League football next season, but they would surely be aiming to get their hands on some silverware. Many United fans believe that this isn’t possible considering the lack of strength in depth in the squad at the moment.
United should be looking to get in, not only big-name signings, but signings who have the United attitude and mentality embedded in them. Rival teams are only going to go from strength to strength and that’s why it is vital for The Red Devils to make marquee signings during this next transfer window.
The main areas of focus for this United team going into the window should be in the central-midfield and right-wing positions.
[Above: Manchester United’s current starting front three of Martial, Greenwood and Rashford, all under the age of 26 years old]
The likes of Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay in United’s midfield shouldn’t be any cause for concern, but the fear is what happens if one of the three suffers an injury.
The Red Devils could perhaps bring in one of Fred, Pereira or Jesse Lingard, but none of them looks to be anywhere near the form or quality of the current starting three in midfield.
Juan Mata has also been talked about, but as the Spaniard looks to have come to the end of his career, and being nowhere near as he was in his prime, can he really be starting for United if they want to get their hands on some silverware?
A brilliant acquisition that would strengthen the heart of United’s midfield is Ajax midfielder, Donny van de Beek.
Van de Beek would surely be challenging Pogba and Fernandes for the starting position, and some healthy competition in the squad is always an added bonus.
The young Dutchman has managed to bag 8 goals in 23 games this season in the Eredivisie and has contributed 2 goals in 5 games in the Champions League.
Van de Beek has incredible versatility and looks to play anywhere in the midfield three, and being a box-to-box ballplayer is an added bonus. His usual position is attacking midfielder but as we saw in the Champions League last season, he can do the hard work of playing in the number 6 role as well.
Making the step up from the Eredivisie to the Premier League is a huge and challenging one, but Van de Beek looks like a signing that could bolster United’s midfield. The prospect of playing with and against more skilled players would definitely improve the Dutchman.
The question is, however, will he be satisfied with playing the role of a rotation player and challenging the likes of Fernandes and Pogba? Either way, Donny van de Beek would be a brilliant acquisition for The Red Devils.
If United were unable to get Van de Beek on the cards, they could acquire the services of either James Maddison from Leicester City or Jack Grealish from Aston Villa who are both versatile in the middle of the park.
Manchester United’s standout position where they lack any strength in depth is the right-wing position. United’s Welsh winger, Daniel James, took up the role at the start of the season but has somewhat fallen off in terms of form in the latter part of the season.
United’s teenage sensation, Mason Greenwood, has also been occupying the right-wing position this season but the thought is that he is more valuable as a centre forward rather than playing out wide.
Chilean, Alexis Sanchez, is currently on loan at FC Internazionale Milano (Inter Milan) and is due to return to Carrington next season. However, Sanchez looks set to stay in Italy as rumours continue to circulate around United’s disinterest in the Chilean.
One name that would undoubtedly strengthen this United team is current Borussia Dortmund winger, Jadon Sancho.
Sancho has been plying his trade in Germany since leaving Manchester City in 2017 and has exploded on the scene ever since. He was called up to the England national team a year after his first season in Germany after putting in a string of amazing performances.
One of the many outstanding factors that set Sancho above other young players in the game is his ability of ball retention and close control that he possesses. In a way, there are flashes of Eden Hazard when you watch the young Englishman.
Pacey wingers are in the DNA of Manchester United, and Jadon Sancho has pace in abundance. You see wingers in today’s game that have tremendous amounts of skill but lack pace, with Philippe Coutinho being a prime example. The front three of Martial, Rashford and Sancho would undoubtedly, not only scare but tear teams to shreds.
Sancho has managed to get 17 assists to his name and has bagged 17 goals in 28 games in the Bundesliga this season. He was also the first player in Europe’s top five leagues to hit double figures in goals and assists, which reflects the quality of player he is.
If United don't manage to get Sancho through the doors, they should think of re-signing Memphis Depay from Olympique Lyonnais. Depay’s style of play mirrors that of Sancho and he would be another marquee signing for the Red Devils.
Manchester United are one of the few teams that could possibly take advantage of the global pandemic’s economic impact with so many clubs being hesitant to not spend big this window. They could acquire top names and challenge for the league come next season.
[ABOVE: Jadon Sancho celebrates his hat-trick by showing his support for George Floyd]