It’s safe to say that this transfer window is hugely crucial for Manchester United. They finished sixth last season in the Premier League, and they will play in the Europa League last season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a big task ahead of him as he attempts to revamp this squad. Daniel James is the only signing he has made thus far, and it won’t be the last.
Some players could be on their way out of the club, and replacements for them are also needed. Solskjaer will need to assess the realistic players he can bring in and then start negotiations. Antoine Griezmann would be exceptional, but he needs to be grounded while going after players. On that note, here are the realistic targets Manchester United should go after.
Manchester United are in urgent need of a capable centre-back. Jose Mourinho made a similar request to Ed Woodward and pursued someone of the ilk of Harry Maguire and Toby Alderweireld. But neither move materialised, and the consequences were obvious. United were mediocre defensively last season and lacked a defensive identity. Their centre-back pairing was not consistent by any means. The likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, and Victor Lindelof alternated in the starting lineup.
Koulibaly is one of the best in the business right now. A staunch defender, he is deceivingly quick and intelligent on the pitch. Koulibaly has been at Napoli since 2014. Numerous teams have been interested in him over the years, but he has stayed put in Naples. He could do the United backline a world of good if he arrives. The fee would be high for his services, but it could well be worth to shell out the money in the end.
A Premier League team has been linked with Ceballos, but it is not Manchester United. Spurs are keen on the Spanish midfielder, and United could bat an eye towards him as well. Ceballos is not expected to be part of Zinedine Zidane’s plans at Real Madrid. The trio of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, and Casemiro are still Zidane’s first choice. The likes of Paul POgba and Christian Eriksen are rumoured to be Real’s targets as well which paves the way for Ceballos out of the Bernabeu.
The Spaniard is a talented midfielder with a knack for creativity. Still just 22, he has great scope for improvement. Ceballos is an adept dribbler, and his ball progression will certainly help United. Aside from Pogba, they don’t have a creative midfielder at the moment. The options are Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay, and Andreas Pereira. Ceballos will be hungry to prove himself, and his talent suggests that he will be able to do the job at Old Trafford.
United have been heavily linked with Aaron Wan-Bissaka for the right-back spot. Ashley Young and Diogo Dalot are the current players at that spot which Solskjaer can turn to. Neither one of them is reliable at this stage which has prompted the pursual of Wan-Bissaka. While the England youngster is talented in his own right, United can find a better fit in the form of Ricardo Pereria. The Portuguese impressed last season at Leicester City, and he is ready to take the next step.
Pereira is able defensively and great in 1v1 situations against the winger. Arguably Wan-Bissaka is better, but Pereira is no slouch either. But he is vastly superior in an attacking sense. He played in an advanced role last season at the Foxes. Pereira recorded two goals and six assists in his debut Premier League season. The transition to United will be relatively easy as Leicester also dominated possession in most of their games. Pereira could turn out to be a better bargain for United next season.
Maddison is another Leicester player who could be of use to United. Aged 22, he is a highly talented attacking midfielder. Creativity is the major issue for United, especially if Paul Pogba departs. Maddison scored seven goals last season and assisted a further seven. He is deadly from set-pieces as well. Maddison is a threat from both corners and free-kicks – to score and assist. Last season was his first one in the Premier League as well after Leicester signed him from Norwich City.
Maddison created 2.8 chances per game in the Premier League last season. In comparison, Pogba created 1.6 chances per game. Pogba created the highest number for United. Maddison will help United’s midfield largely, and provide creative input. Considering his age, Maddison could be a shrewd acquisition for United this summer.
Giovani Lo Celso
Lo Celso is another player in the mould of Maddison. He spent last season at Real Betis on loan from Paris Saint-Germain. In April he signed for the Spanish side permanently after a string of impressive performances. A versatile midfielder, the Argentine can operate in many roles. He played in a deeper position at PSG but moved into an advanced role at Betis. After a single season in La Liga, they could make a big profit on the 23-year-old.
He recorded nine goals and four assists in the league last season for Betis. Lo Celso was reserved in a creative sense, but that was due to his position rather than his ability. He can play in a deeper or advanced midfield role, and this versatility will be a boon. Numerous teams have been linked with him, and United need to swoop in quickly if they want their man.