After a disappointing season that has seen them sack their manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and fall out of the title race completely, Manchester United must now rely on interim boss Ralf Rangnick to steady the ship and secure a Champions League berth ahead of next season. But despite having a hugely talented squad of players at their disposal – especially in the attacking positions – Man Utd still lack quality in several key places.
If Manchester United are to turn their fortunes around and make a real push for the Premiership in 2022/23, it’s imperative that they strengthen the squad in the right areas. First and foremost, they must hire a manager with the nous and knowhow to take them to the next level, but it’s no good doing so if they don’t give them the tools to succeed. With that in mind, here are three players the Red Devils must sign this summer if they are close the gap on their rivals Man City and Liverpool next time around.
The issues with Manchester United’s central midfield have been well-documented for several years now. Indeed, anyone who has seen the Premier League’s current match results will be well aware of just how lightweight Man Utd have looked at times in the centre of the park. Scott McTominay and Fred may give their all, but they’re not top-class CMs. Paul Pogba is certainly capable of the sublime, but he’s either inconsistent or unfussed and hasn’t been able to adapt to the system they favour.
With that in mind, the signing of Declan Rice should be the number one priority for those working behind the scenes at Old Trafford this summer. Rice has consistently shown his quality when turning out for West Ham this season, often elevating them to another level and turning the tide of games almost single-handedly. Though Utd might face intense competition from Chelsea when securing his signature, they should fight tooth and nail to do so.
As loath as the backroom team at Manchester United might be to admit it, it’s high time the powers that be recognise that Harry Maguire has proven to be an expensive experiment which hasn’t quite worked out. Whether it’s a defensive gaffe that has cost his team precious goals or off-the-field struggles which have put him in the limelight for the wrong reasons, Maguire simply hasn’t justified his exorbitant price tag and shouldn’t be the starting captain for a genuine Premier League title contender.
Raphael Varane, on the other hand, looks to have been a shrewd purchase last summer. All that’s require now is a capable centre back to play alongside him. As a fellow Frenchman who is just 23 years of age, Jules Kounde could be the perfect protégé to learn from Varane. He has excelled for Sevilla over the last couple of seasons and continues to be linked with moves away from Spain, so Utd should act decisively this summer to sew his signing up.
With Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani on their books, Man Utd might appear at first glance to be well-stocked in the striker department. However, both men are entering the twilight of their careers and should be passing the baton onto a younger generation, rather than shouldering the goalscoring burden for the team alone. Marcus Rashford is certainly a promising prospect but has never quite convinced in the centre forward position, while the future of Mason Greenwood is uncertain at present.
For those reasons, Utd should look to bring in another hungry, high-calibre striker who is young enough to learn from CR7 and Cavani but old enough to hit the ground running. Jonathan David, who is enjoying a remarkable season with both club and country, could fit the bill perfectly. One of the top scorers in Ligue 1 with Lille, David has also spearheaded Canada’s domination of their World Cup qualifying campaign. At just 22 years old, he could be the ideal solution to Man Utd’s woes up front.
Although they are blessed with a supremely talented squad, Man Utd are still a few signings away from the consistency required of champions. These three individuals could take them to that next level.