Another transfer window approaches, and Manchester United are bound to be eager to spend yet again.
Despite landing Alexis Sanchez in the winter, United’s woes haven’t lessened all that much. In fact, the up and down performance of Pogba, the selection dilemma of Martial, and the impending retirement of Carrick amidst the exits of the likes of Fellaini might all add up to a hectic session for the Red Devils.
While Mourinho insisted that attacking options won’t be an area he’ll look into a relatively short time ago, and that midfield will be the primary concern in the upcoming transfer window, things may very well change now.
Here are the top 10 transfer targets for Manchester United going into the summer:
1. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
Perhaps a name that will be most tied to the Mancunian club due to how linked they have been in the past windows. Already a player on United’s radar, the Serb is certainly a midfielder that fits Mourinho’s needs quite well.
At just 23 years of age, he will also be a more long-term option to pair alongside the likes of Matic and Pogba in the United midfield. To add to that, he might even prove to be the apt replacement for a departing Fellaini. Moreover, the player himself has claimed that he is quite happy and flattered with the interest he has received from across Europe.
2. Thomas Meunier
Right-back has always been a vital position at Old Trafford, and Mourinho’s style places great importance there, particularly in link-up and initiating counter-attacks. While Valencia has been doing incredibly well in that spot, it is a foregone conclusion that at 32, he can’t be United’s best hope for consistent world-class football.
PSG’s Thomas Meunier would be an apt answer to this dilemma, and he has been linked with the Mancunian outfit as of recent. Apart from fitting the requisite skill-set, a fairly recent development might aid Mourinho as well. The Belgian has gone on record to say that he will leave PSG if manager Unai Emery is not given the sack next year.
This indicates clear disharmony for the 26-year-old, and as of such, United might be eager to capitalize.
3. Danny Rose
Meunier’s potential arrival would still leaves the other flank wide open. While Ashley Young is doing a terrific job there, evident in the fact that he was handed a contract-extension, work still needs to be done. Add to this the obvious discontentment of Luke Shaw, and a player is badly needed.
This is where Danny Rose comes in. Ever since his vocal criticism of the wage structure in place at Tottenham from last year, an exit plan has been brewing. The pacey Englishman is an admirer of Mourinho, and much could be achieved by United if they sign him.
However, Tottenham won’t be easy to do business with for the transfer, and are bound to be adamant in whatever price they quote. However, an increasing number of murmurs would suggest that this can be solved if the two clubs indulge in a swap-deal involving Shaw and Rose.
4. Ryan Sessegnon
Another potential left-back who is also capable of functioning as a winger, the 17-year-old is a relatively new name on the list. Currently playing for Fulham in hopes of elevating them to the Premier League next season, a host of English clubs have caught a whiff of his talents.
His 14 goals in all competitions, despite being a left-back, have led Tottenham and United to be primary pursuers. However, as per The Sun, it would appear that he won’t move to any other side should Fulham earn promotion into top flight football.
If true, that is quite a statement for a teenager to make considering the sort of clubs willing to make the deal, but it also begs the question as to just how well United will integrate him into their side owing to his age. But with Shaw, Blind, and Darmian likely to leave, this purchase will be required just to have the requisite number of players in the position.
Another player who has been linked with United on and off, his central midfield abilities make him a great target for the club. The 26-year-old Italian, however, is being pursued quite strongly by Liverpool too, and as of such, a strong battle awaits United in that regard.
Viewed as the ideal replacement for Michael Carrick, his antics at Napoli seem to suggest that his own side might not part with him. Regardless, multiple sources have claimed that United have held transfer talks with the player’s agent, indicating a strong chance that a summer deal could be on. All in all, a figure upwards of £50 million is bound to exchange hands regardless of which English side secures his signature.
6. Gareth Bale
A name Manchester United supporters must be sick of seeing linked with their side, but the signs are there for all to see. It is a foregone conclusion that the injury-prone Welshman is surplus to requirements at Real Madrid.
Despite having acquired Sanchez in the winter, the Chilean has done little to ease United’s functional worries, and despite his initial statement, Mourinho might have to dip into an attacking transfer after all. In that case, Bale will be an ideal purchase, as multiple sources report that the player is Old Trafford-bound.
At the end of the day, it seems likely that the deal will come down to the Real Madrid hierarchy wishing to not make a loss on the 28-year-old, and as of such, an £87 million fee is being floated about. Interestingly, a report of a £100 million-plus deal from an unnamed Chinese side is also being reported, and this could very much spice up the stretched-out saga.
One of the more versatile options on the list, the Brazilian is a player United actively pursued much of last summer. However, at the time, Monaco’s desperate insistence on not wanting to lose any more talent ensured that all interest for the 24-year-old was in vain.
But now, his intention to work with Mourinho could see a new start in the summer window. His ability to function as both a full-back and a central defensive midfielder will be crucial for the Mancunian club. A red-jersey clad Fabinho would arguably solve all of United’s transfer concerns apart from numbers.
However, Monaco might still be a tough party to convince, but despite all that, there seems to be a strong hope that Old Trafford will welcome him in the summer.
8. Toby Alderweireld
While yet again a departure from Mourinho’s general area of concern, there is no doubt that the Red Devils face problems in their defense. To further this woe is the fact that Chris Smalling could seek an exit as well.
Thus, United would do well to sign Alderweireld from Spurs, as he appears to be a highly eligible defender at the moment. Paired with the possibility of Rose joining, the duo could be part of a massive swoop that United will indulge towards, in order to secure their backline.
At the same time, his potential asking price of €50 million could very well put the club off in a bid to seek a cheaper option.
9. Samuel Umtiti
While spending huge amount of money for a defender is relatively rare, doing so for a proven starlet has its own benefits. United have shown interest for Umtiti in the past, but a solid deal is yet to develop. This could change in the summer owing to the aforementioned difficulties that might arise in the heart of their defense.
At 24 years of age, the French international could be a solid signing for Mourinho. In fact, such has been the intensity of United’s interest, that reports suggest Barcelona are contemplating a massive pay-rise for him in a new contract that would ward other clubs off.
In spite of that, the management would be more than happy to bankroll a huge fee for a player of his caliber.
10. Jan Oblak
While many will be surprised to see a goalkeeper on the list, a look at some of the past events would surely lessen it. Real Madrid never truly recovered from their failure to sign David De Gea, and have allegedly made multiple attempts since to lure him to the Bernabeu. This is despite the shot-stopper having penned a solid new contract at Old Trafford.
However, the said contract is set to expire in 2019, and this could rekindle their interest. In addition, PSG have emerged as another side eager for his signature in their own bid to make the entire roster world-class.
If the unthinkable does occur, United will find an apt keeper in Oblak. To add to this, reports have indicated that the player himself has kept United and Arsenal on high-alert to the possibility of a move in the summer.
While the window is still a few months away, the World Cup in between might mean several things. A new target could emerge, and many of the players on this list may have developments of their own that could move them towards or away from Old Trafford. Time will tell what occurs at last.