Where do Man United need to improve?
It is apparent to most fans that Manchester United need to improve a number of areas within their squad, if they hope to once again challenge for supremacy both domestically and in Europe.
Some of the more obvious areas which the Red Devils need to strengthen are right-wing, centre-back, central midfield and centre-forward.
It is unlikely, though, that United will be able to bring in top-quality players in all four of those positions in just one window.
If Edinson Cavani extends his contract this summer, that may alleviate some of the pressure to bring in a new hitman.
Elsewhere, though, Man United could significantly upgrade on Victor Lindelof as Harry Maguire’s main centre-back partner.
On the right wing, the Manchester giants do not really boast an experienced natural option, with Mason Greenwood the player to have featured in that spot most often this season.
And with Nemanja Matic now past his best, a no.6-style midfielder should also likely be high on the club’s list of priorities.
Of course, there are a host of options all over Europe which Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and co. could look at in a bid to reinforce.
However, as most clubs have found out at some point or another, there is always a risk when buying a player without Premier League experience.
Naby Keita is a fairly obvious example, with the former RB Leipzig standout yet to showcase his best form nearly three years after joining Liverpool.
Of course, there are likely a host of reasons behind the midfielder’s struggles, but the risk factor is always heightened when purchasing players from outside of England.
Kai Havertz and Timo Werner are also great examples of this. Both were top stars in Germany, and both set Chelsea back sizable sums – yet neither have yet showcased why the Blues were so eager to sign them.
Yes, the German internationals are likely to improve the longer they stay at Chelsea. But if United want to challenge for the Premier League – which would appear the next logical step after finishing 2nd this season – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and co. do not really have six months or a year to wait for their signings to come good/adapt to the English game.
So, one solution to this would be to buy within the Premier League. Some downfalls to this, of course, come in the form of player price-tags, and the fact that anyone could still struggle to adapt to a new club/manager. But that risk is almost always decreased when buying a proven Premier League talent.
Therefore, at 101, we have picked out three Premier League players who could improve Manchester United next season.
The first of these is Brighton central defender, Ben White.
White is a product of Brighton’s youth system, and has been farmed out on a series of loans, the last of which saw the ball-playing defender seriously impress for Leeds United during their promotion-winning campaign in 2019/20.
Such form, in turn, proved enough for Graham Potter to hand White a chance as part of the Seagulls’ first-team setup this season.
And the youngster has gone on to grasp this opportunity with both hands, cementing himself as an absolutely integral cog in the club’s backline.
So far, White has started in 32 of Brighton’s 34 league outings this season. Across these appearances, the stopper has showcased impressive calmness in possession, ability to pick a pass, and of course, defensive prowess.
White is also still just 23 years of age, and has plenty of room to continue his development into a top centre-half.
In addition, despite being young and English, recent reports suggest that Brighton would demand around £35m for White, a fairly low sum in today’s market.
Raphinha joined Leeds United during the delayed summer transfer window last year.
And the Brazilian has since arguably gone on to prove one of the buys of the window.
Raphinha is a player full of pace, power and enough skill to terrorise opposing backlines.
This has led to the 24-year-old instantly establishing himself as a key member of Marcelo Bielsa’s attack, as part of which he has already notched six goals and six assists in 26 league outings.
🤯 Something special isn’t he? pic.twitter.com/8JwuWcclFo
— Leeds United (@LUFC) February 24, 2021
Even in the games in which he does not produce a goal contribution, the winger’s presence and ability to stretch defences – as showcased versus Manchester City earlier this month – still prove crucial to Leeds’ success.
His superb start to life at Elland Road, meanwhile, has already seen Raphinha linked with both Liverpool and Manchester United, and though he is unlikely to come cheap, signing the South American would hand the latter an experienced, natural right-winger who has already shone in the Premier League – something they do not possess at present.
The purchase of Raphinha would also open the pathway for Mason Greenwood to be handed more chances in his natural position – through the middle.
The final player whom Manchester United should look to sign this summer is Yves Bissouma.
Bissouma joined Brighton in 2018, from French outfit Lille.
He has since gone on to notch 87 appearances in all competitions for Graham Potter’s side. Across these outings, the 24-year-old has provided four goals and one assist.
And though some may not view Bissouma as a potential Matic replacement, due to the fact that he is slightly more forward-thinking than the Serbian, the Seagulls star is clearly a talent who excels both offensively and defensively.
The 24-year-old is confident with the ball at his feet, and more than capable of picking it up from deep to either take players on, or pick out the right pass to a teammate. Bissouma is also a progressive passer who generally avoids the sideways option – something players such as Fred are often guilty of at Old Trafford.
And, at the other end of the pitch, Bissouma’s work rate and stamina allow him to get back and help out defensively.
It is also worth pointing out that, in the current Brighton system, Bissouma is generally fielded as the more defensive-minded central midfield option, alongside the likes of Adam Lallana or Pascal Gross. This means that he is already used to taking on a considerable defensive workload, boding well for a partnership alongside players like Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes.
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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