Despite United’s excellent run since Solskjaer took over, it is still clear that if Man United want to compete with Liverpool and Man City next year they will have to revamp their squad by making some smart signings this summer. United should have around £150 million net to spend this summer, but could increase the budget through offloading some players.
These players could include Lukaku for £65 million, Marcos Rojo for £15 million, Andreas Pereira for £17 million, Phil Jones for £20 million and getting Alexis Sanchez off the wage bill as soon as possible. Giving United a total Transfer budget of around £250 million.
But who should United pursue?
United’s need for a centre back has been well documented since Mourinho has been at the club and now under Solskjaer as well. Kalidou Koulibaly would be the number one option, though he would likely cost £90 million, and with United needing strengthening else where on the pitch, this could be too high a price to pay.
Nathan Ake would be a good alternative, as he would cost half the price at around £45 million. The 24 year old Dutchman is excellent physically in terms of his strength and pace. He has great positioning, especially when the ball is shifted out to a wide position, Ake can anticipate low crosses and cut them out. He is adapted to the Premier League which is always an added bonus and he is still only 24 so is going to be a long term investment.
Despite the recent great form of Matic and Herrera, the centre midfield position for Man United still needs improvement. Tanguy N’Dombele would be the perfect player for United to pursue. The 22 year old Frenchman is a box to box midfielder who possesses the ability to move the ball forward via his powerful dribbling and tight control, or through his ability the play through balls and create key passes. In Ligue 1 this season he has 1.1 key passes per game, as well as 2.9 dribbles per game. Last season he had 1.4 key passes and 2.5 dribbles per game, showing that he is consistent with his output in terms of dribbling and chance creation.
United need a midfield who can produce this sort of output as with Herrera and Matic in midfield, United sometimes struggle to move the ball forward quickly through midfield as neither Matic norHerrera are athletic dribblers. N’Dombele would not only offer added creativity, but added physicality and is also very young and could be an important player for United for the next 10 years.
Jadon Sancho should be the primary target for United this summer. The 18 year old Englishman possesses exceptional dribbling ability and pace, which is a great asset for any team to have as pace can really help you open teams up through beating defenders in one on one situations. Unlike many young wingers however, Sancho has great composure, vision and decision making ability. Sancho has averaged 2 key passes per game, as well as 3.1 dribbles per game in the Bundesliga this season. Sancho’s expected assist rate of 0.32 per game puts him in the top 5 in the Bundesliga this season, showing that he is one of the most creative players in Europe.
Sancho would fit perfectly on United’s right hand side, as he would be able to link up with Dalot overlapping or underlapping him as he has done with Hakimi this season. Sancho is fantastic at playing quick, one two’s on the right hand side as well as making runs inside his full back into goal scoring positions. He’d also offer versatility, being able to play as a right or left winger or even as a second striker in the role that Lingard has played this summer.
United would probably have to offer a record fee of £90 million to prize him away from Dortmund, though Sancho is still only 18, 19 in the summer and some way off his peak age, meaning he is only going to improve and his value will rise in the coming seasons.
Nabil Fekir’s contract expires in the summer of 2020 meaning that United could be able to get the Lyon’s prize attacker for around £40 million, which is a lot less then the £60 million that Lyon demanded from Liverpool last summer.
Fekir has managed 1.7 key passes per game and 1.4 dribbles per game in Ligue 1 this season, as well as 2.4 key passes in the champions league this season. This showcases Fekir’s creative ability in terms of his ability to create chances as well as open up structured systems through his dribbling ability.
Fekir can play as a central attacking midfielder or as a centre forward in the false nine role. He would offer United quality in depth which United have lacked with Alexis Sanchez being wildly out of form. Fekir at 25 would lower the age of United’s squad and would offer versality being able to play as a wide inside forward in a 4-3-3, as a false nine or as a second striker in the 4-4-2 diamond system.
Fekir would also offer long range shooting ability which is a great ability to possess in your squad especially if you are struggling to create clear cut chances, a trait that Phillipe Coutinho used for Liverpool.
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