Manchester United have finally started to look respectable in the Premier League after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the wheel. But there is still something far from being compared to the glory days of Alex Ferguson.
After finishing 2 consecutive seasons in a Champions League place, Ole will surely hope to do better in Europe, especially after his disastrous exit in the group stage last year. No matter how good you are up front, every major team must have strong defense, something Manchester United have lacked in recent history.
They conceded the most goals among the top 4 teams in the Premier League last season. Even their loss to RB Leipzig, which cost them a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League, was due to their lackluster defense, for which they conceded 3 goals.
Manchester United had an inconsistent performance in the defensive department, so they need to bring in players who can have a massive impact on their defensive structure. FootTheBall brings you all the players Manchester United could bring in to strengthen their bottom line and do better next season.
PRIORITY N ° 1: CENTER-BACK
IDEAL OPTION: RAPHAEL VARANE (REAL MADRID)
The buzz of this potential transfer has been going on for weeks and with good reason. Raphael Varane is the best option United could choose in this transfer window. Manchester United need to build a strong partnership between Harry Maguire and another star defender going forward this season. Varane, with his pace and ability to play ball, perfectly complements Harry Maguire’s skill set.
Real Madrid desperately need money as they want to bring in Mbappé or Haaland, which is why Los Blancos are eager to get rid of so many players. United can get the 28-year-old worth around £ 60 million, which can be considered a steal for a World Cup and a multiple UCL winner. Varane is a world-class center-back and surely ticks all the boxes for Manchester United.
BUDGET OPTION: ETHAN AMPADU (CHELSEA)
With Jadon Sancho already in, and Varane looking close, Manchester United might want to be frugal in other deals. They also want to bring in players to fill other holes in the team, like a defensive midfielder and a right back, so they are about to put a pretty big hole in their pockets. In situations like these, young talents with a lot of potential are the perfect candidates for the big clubs and Ethan Ampadu is one of them.
A graduate of the local Chelsea academy, Ampadu has been loaned to many clubs over the years. He’s finally back in Chelsea and there are reports that the London-based club is looking to sell the young prospect. The market value of the 20-year-old is just £ 13.5 million, so United has a chance to jump in and secure their future with this Wunderkind from Wales.
THE QUIRKY FOOTBALL OPTION: NICO ELVEDI (BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH)
Nico Elvedi has become the center of attention thanks to his incredible performance at Euro 2020, but what many people don’t know is that he has been working the same magic for Borussia Monchengladbach the entire time.
Last season, he averaged 2.31 interceptions and 1.74 successful tackles per 90. He also had a passing accuracy of 91.2%. His tall stature allows him to establish air superiority in the area and he also has a decent pace for a center back. He was seen running one step at a time with Mbappé in the round of 16 match at Euro 2020. Manchester United haven’t seriously considered bringing in the 24-year-old Swiss defender, but in his current form, Elvedi probably won’t. in his current club for a long time.
PRIORITY N ° 2: DEFENSIVE MIDDLE FIELD
IDEAL OPTION: EDUARDO CAMAVINGA (STADE RENNES)
Reports suggest Eduardo Cavaminga is already being closely monitored by Manchester United scouts and an offer is being made. It is quite clear that Rennes wants to sell the young man and is just waiting for the best possible deal.
Ligue 1 clubs are financially devastated and forced to sell out their star players to make some money. Camavinga is one of the hottest young talents in the world of football and almost every major club in Europe is watching over him. The youngster’s contract will also expire next season, which is a clear sign that the youngster is not interested in continuing at the club.
The 18-year-old has a market value of almost £ 50 million, which clearly shows his quality. A player with solid defensive prowess and the ability to contribute to the attacking game from midfield, Camavinga is a bargain at his current price. Any team that secures his signature this season could potentially fill that void in their team for the next 15 years, or have an asset whose value will only increase.
BUDGET OPTION: DENIS ZAKARIA (BORUSIA MONCHENGLADBACH)
As we mentioned earlier, United could end up emptying their pockets with other stellar signings by having them hunt for bargains at some positions. In that case, Denis Zakaria could be the perfect choice for United. The 24-year-old has a market value of just £ 22.5 million. Zakaria appears to be on the cusp of making a breakthrough from the good group to the elite and Manchester United would do well to jump on him before that happens.
His stats have improved significantly in the last 2 seasons. Arsenal and Manchester City are among the few suitors waiting for the right opportunity. With Nemanja Matic nearing the end of his career, United could invest in Zakaria and help him become one of the best central players in the Premier League, as he helps United fulfill that elusive CDM role.
THE QUIRKY OPTION OF FOOTBALL: YVES BISSOUMA (BRIGHTON HOVE ALBION)
Yves Bissouma is a ball player with enormous potential, although he goes unnoticed. The 2020/212 season had been a fruitful year for the 24-year-old as he helped Brighton avoid relegation and finish 16th in his first season with the club.
He averages 3.9 successful tackles per 90 as he gains possession even before the opposing team has reached his penalty area. Their offensive prowess has yet to come to light, but United already seems settled in the attacking areas. Bissouma is one of the most underrated players in England and his market value of £ 22.50 million does not do his quality justice.
Liverpool and Arsenal are keen to buy the youngster, but Manchester United’s rich heritage could lure Bissouma to join the Red Devils.