Manchester United have lost in three semifinals this season and finished third in the Premier League, and right now there’s negativity in the air after they lost to Sevilla in the Europa League semi on Sunday.
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All in all, though, many would call 2019-20 season a big step forward. But what do they need to make the ‘next step’ forward under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?
Manchester United continue to be linked with every player going, while rumors rumble on about Jadon Sancho’s potential $140 million transfer from Borussia Dortmund.
Solskjaer has said Man United need to strengthen to keep progressing and Ed Woodward and Co. will need to make the most of being back in the Champions League and building their squad to take the next step and cement their spot in the top four.
Here’s a look at where Man United must strengthen this summer with necessities and luxury signings.
Necessity signings for Manchester United
Center back – This should be the priority. Victor Lindelof’s mistake to allow Sevilla to score the winner summed up his lapses in concentration. He’s a solid defender and 90 percent of the time he’s just fine, but that extra 10 percent will cost United in these big games in cup competitions and the Premier League. Issa Diop, Diego Carlos and Kalidou Koulibaly are among the names linked with United and they need a solid, reliable defender who does all of the simple things well. Yes, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe and Chris Smalling are all around but Man United need offload a few of those players.
Holding midfielder – Fred, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay are all solid 7/10 players but aren’t going to be more than that. And that’s okay. However, United still aren’t as solid as they can be in central midfield and don’t win the ball back often enough. Imagine N’Golo Kante feeding the ball to Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes ahead of him time and time again? That is what Man United need.
Creative wide midfielder – This is the Sancho signing. If they can’t sign Sancho, they need another creative wide player to come in and give them something different. Spain and Real Socieded winger Mikel Oyarzabal has been linked and he’d give them extra creativity and trickery. Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford are central strikers being asked to play out wide, while Daniel James, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata have all struggled this season.
Luxury signings for Manchester United
Striker – Now, hear me out here. Anthony Martial has had his best-ever goalscoring season but will he score 30+ goals in a season? He’s still very young and is developing but there is an argument that Man United need an out-and-out goalscoring center forward up top. To me, Martial is more comfortable out wide and cutting in from the left. A player who is mobile but can still score scrappy goals and has more of a strikers instinct is needed. I’m talking about someone like Raul Jimenez. He would be the perfect buy for Man United and even though he’s not young, like Solskjaer wants for his project, Jimenez is what they need and he’s a late bloomer so probably has at least three of four years left in the tank. If he arrives then Rashford, Martial and Greenwood will battle it out for the two wide spots.
Left back – Luke Shaw has had a great season and Brandon Williams is an emerging talent, but long-term Man United may have to upgrade in this position. There aren’t a number of good options out there at left back, and the ones that are will be very expensive. See: Chilwell, Ben. This is why this is a luxury