Manchester United are finally looking respectable in the Premier League after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over the helm. But they’re still a long way off to be compared to the glory days under Alex Ferguson.
After two consecutive seasons in the Champions League, Ole will certainly look forward to doing better in Europe, especially after last year’s disastrous group stage exit. No matter how good you are up front, every top team needs a strong defense, something Manchester United has been missing in recent history.
They conceded the most goals in the top four teams in the Premier League last season. Their defeat against RB Leipzig, which cost them the knockout round of the Champions League, was due to their lackluster defense, due to which they conceded 3 goals.
Manchester United have shown inconsistent performance on the defensive, which is why they have to use players who can have a massive impact on their defensive structure. FootTheBall brings you all the players Manchester United could use to build their defenses and do better next season.
PRIORITY # 1: CENTER-BACK
IDEAL OPTION: RAPHAEL VARANE (REAL MADRID)
The buzz of this potential transfer has been going on for weeks, and rightly so. Raphael Varane is the best pick for United in this transfer window. Manchester United need to build a strong partnership between Harry Maguire and another star defender this season. Varane perfectly complements Harry Maguire’s skills with his pace and ball game.
Real Madrid are in dire need of money as they want to bring Mbappe or Haaland over, so Los Blancos are keen to get rid of many players. United can get the 28-year-old for around £ 60million, which can be seen as a bargain for a world champion and multiple UCL winner. A world class center-back, Varane is sure to meet all the criteria for Manchester United.
OPTIONAL BUDGET: ETHAN AMPADU (CHELSEA)
With Jadon Sancho already in and Varane watching closely, Manchester United may want to be thrifty on more deals. They also want to get players to fill other holes on the team, like a defensive midfielder and a right full-back, so they’ll be making a pretty serious dent in their pocket. In situations like this, young talents with a lot of potential are the perfect candidates for large clubs and Ethan Ampadu is one of them.
A native Chelsea academy graduate, Ampadu has been loaned out to many clubs over the years. He’s finally back at Chelsea and there are reports that the London club is trying to sell the young prospects. The 20-year-old’s market value is just £ 13.5m, giving United the opportunity to join this Wales prodigy and secure his future.
THE bizarre option of football: NICO ELVEDI (BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH)
Nico Elvedi has come into the spotlight thanks to his amazing performance at Euro 2020, but what a lot of people don’t know is that he has been doing the same magic for Borussia Mönchengladbach all along.
Last season he had an average of 2.31 interceptions and 1.74 successful tackles per 90. He also had a passing accuracy of 91.2%. His tall stature allows him to establish air superiority in the box and he also has a decent pace for a center-back. He was seen step by step with Mbappe in the round of 16 of the Euro 2020. Manchester United haven’t given the 24-year-old Swiss defender serious thought, but in his current form Elvedi is unlikely to be with his current club for long.
PRIORITY NO. 2: DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD PLAYER
IDEAL OPTION: EDUARDO CAMAVINGA (RENNES STADIUM)
Eduardo Cavaminga is reportedly already being closely monitored by Manchester United scouts and an offer is being prepared. It’s pretty clear that Rennes wants to sell the youngster and is just waiting for the best possible deal.
The Ligue 1 clubs are in financial ruin and they are being forced to sell their star players in order to make some money. Camavinga is one of the hottest young talents in the world of football and almost every major club in Europe has an eye on him. The youngster’s contract also expires next season, which is a clear sign that the youngster is not interested in continuing with the club.
The 18-year-old has a market value of nearly £ 50m, which clearly shows his quality. A player with solid defensive skills and the ability to add attack play from midfield, Camavinga is a bargain at its current price. Any team that wins their signature this season could potentially fill that void on their team for the next 15 years or own an asset that will keep increasing in value.
OPTIONAL BUDGET: DENIS ZAKARIA (BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH)
As mentioned earlier, United could end up emptying their pockets with other star signings, leading to them looking for bargains in some positions. In that case, Denis Zakaria could be the perfect pick for United. The 24-year-old has a market value of just £ 22.5million. Zakaria seems on the cusp of breaking from the good to the elite tier and Manchester United would be wise to jump on him before that happens.
His statistics have improved significantly over the past 2 seasons. Arsenal and Manchester City are among the few applicants waiting for the right opportunity. With Nemanja Matic nearing the end of his career, United could invest in Zakaria and help him become one of the best central players in the Premier League while helping United fill that elusive CDM role.
THE quirky option of football: YVES BISSOUMA (BRIGHTON HOVE ALBION)
Yves Bissouma is a baller with enormous potential, but one who flies under the radar. The 2020/212 season was a fruitful year for the 24-year-old as he helped Brighton avoid relegation and finished 16th in his first season with the club.
He averages 3.9 successful tackles per 90 as he gains possession of the ball before the opposing side has even reached their penalty area. His attacking strength has not yet come to light, but United is already looking in attacking areas. Bissouma is one of the most underrated players in England and his £ 22.50m market value doesn’t live up to its quality.
Liverpool and Arsenal are keen to buy the youngster but Manchester United’s rich legacy could tempt Bissouma to join the red devils.