Which positions should United strengthen in transfer window?

Cristiano Ronaldo laments a missed opportunity, one of many, that cost Manchester United against Atletico de Madrid. (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Cristiano Ronaldo laments a missed opportunity, one of many, that cost Manchester United against Atletico de Madrid. (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /
Manchester United transfer targets
Florian Wirtz of Leverkusen (left) could be wearing Manchester United colors next season. (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images) /

Manchester United are in crisis mode. They are set to go through another season without a trophy, marking their most barren run without silverware since the 1970s.

There’s little doubt that the Red Devils are in for another rebuild once their next permanent manager is appointed.

Despite having the most expensive squad in the Premier League, the Red Devils still have visible gaps in certain areas. Another busy summer transfer window awaits.

United are expected to make multiple signings in the summer. But there are specific positions that need upgrading for them to challenge for titles next season.

Potential targets for Manchester United

The Red Devils currently have six midfielders in their first-team squad with a total valuation of over £200m. Yet, there is a need to reinforce the midfield area for the benefit of their attacking and defensive line.

Paul Pogba is expected to leave in the summer, while Nemanja Matic is in the final days of his career.

Despite a plethora of midfield options, Manchester United lack a quality, sturdy defensive midfielder. Declan Rice is being observed as an option, but the West Ham United midfielder will cost over £100m (via The Daily Mail).

Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Yves Bissouma is a cheaper option. The hard-working, robust midfielder can be a good fit for the team.

As per WhoScored, Bissouma’s key traits include tackling, ball interception, and dribbling. That is exactly what United needs from a defensive midfielder. The 25-year-old native of Mali can protect their backline in the deeper areas, cutting out opposition attacks with his smart ball-winning ability.

Bissouma is valued at around €25m (as per Transfermarkt) and has only one year remaining on his contract. Brighton could sell him around that range and United would be able to get an energetic player to revitalize their midfielder for cheap.

Replacing Pogba

The Red Devils also need to replace Pogba. The Frenchman has been a divisive figure at Old Trafford, but his ability is unquestioned. Getting a replacement like him who can create chances, control the midfield, and also contribute defensively isn’t easy.

Manchester United should ideally look at someone young with considerable potential. Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Florian Wirtz serves as an exciting prospect. The 18-year-old has already taken the Bundesliga by storm.

Wirtz has 10 goals and 14 assists in 31 appearances this season. Widely regarded as one of the most exciting players in Europe, the teenager has a bright future ahead of him.

With Ralf Rangnick in the front office, the Red Devils have a prominent figure who can swoon German talent.

Wirtz can probably be signed for a relatively reasonable fee, too (around €50m). Knowing his ability to create chances out of nowhere, score goals from midfield and maintain a slick aura in possession, the 18-year-old can be a valuable long-term investment for United.

A need at right back

United’s situation with their backline has been a mess this season. They’ve conceded more goals in the Premier League than anyone else in the top 10. A new centre-back signing is unlikely after Raphael Varane’s arrival last summer.

But, the right-back position desperately needs to be improved. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has fallen behind and Diogo Dalot is far from the final product. A new right back is needed to revitalize their movement through that side.

Manchester United could go shopping in Brighton for this as well. Tariq Lamptey has proven himself an electric wing-back with a very high ceiling. The 21-year-old has 2 assists in the Premier League this season, but his ball progression and chance creation make him a definite threat.

WhoScored states that he likes to dribble, put in crosses regularly, and boasts solid defensive contribution. United needs better delivery from their wings for Cristiano Ronaldo & Co to score more goals. Lamptey’s ability to swing in those inviting crosses makes him an ideal right-back for the Red Devils.

Front line help necessary, too

Despite Ronaldo’s arrival last year, United have struggled for goals this season. Edinson Cavani is expected to leave in the summer, meaning a new young centre forward is desperately needed – as Rangnick himself has said.

According to The Athletic, the Red Devils are prioritizing a summer move for Harry Kane. Yet, the Tottenham Hotspur striker could cost more than £100m. That’s too much money and spending that would restrict United’s business in other positions.

Instead, they could go for a more cost-effective option in Real Sociedad striker Alexander Isak. The 22-year-old is a physical, rapid forward who loves to dribble past opponents and is prolific in counter-attacks. He’d be a solid fit for United’s fast-paced attacking style.

Isak has scored 8 goals this season and is clinical in the final third. The 22-year-old can link up well with teammates and is clever at holding up the ball. Moreover, he’d be willing to alternate with Ronaldo and wouldn’t be someone United has to start every game.

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His €40m value (as per Transfermakt) makes the Swedish striker a viable, relatively affordable option. The young forward has his best years ahead of him and can use his efficient style to bring a new dimension to United’s attack.