Manchester United have not won a Premier League title since 2013. But after finishing second to rivals City last season and a place above Liverpool, there is a strong case to suggest that United are closer than they have been in eight years to reach the top of English football again.
To do this, however, they need a successful summer in the transfer market. Jadon Sancho is the signed signature they have wanted for several years and his agreement to sign from Borussia Dortmund is clear, but there are other areas in the squad that need to be addressed before they can be considered among the best teams in Europe.
Here are the transfers that Manchester United need to make to rise to power again.
Sign Raphael Varane
Raphael Varane is moving to United … / FRANCK FIFE / Getty Images
United are approaching to sign one of the world’s best midfielders in Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane. His arrival, if it were to happen, would be a world-class upgrade for the United backline and help make them title contenders.
Victor Lindelof has sometimes fought alongside club captain Harry Maguire in his time as a first mate and looks easy in one-on-one duels and in the air. Eric Bailly can barely keep fit while Axel Tuanzebe has not had a fair chance. Phil Jones is still on books, somehow, but has not seen in months. Something extra is needed.
And Varane is a winner. He has won several Champions League titles, league championships and won the World Cup with France 2018. At 28 years old, he is at the top and working with Maguire would give United one of the best midfielders on the continent. It is the bedrock of success.
Sign Kieran Trippier
Kieran Trippier pushes to move back to England / Carl Recine – Pool / Getty Images
Born in Bury, Kieran Trippier comes from a family of Manchester United fans and has vast Premier League experience.
He is new to the back of an excellent campaign for England at Euro 2020, while his current club Atletico Madrid won the Spanish title last season. But he wants to come home and it makes a lot of sense for United to follow him.
They need options at the back, especially Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Trippier will provide a solid sense of position, good energy, experience and the skill to unlock a difficult defense with an exact cross – an area where Wan-Bissaka wants to improve.
The secret to coming to power in football is to have an incredible squad depth, and Trippier would bring just that if he were to come.
Sign a defensive midfielder
Declan Rice will be very expensive and has been linked with Chelsea, but he would make a good signing … / Pool / Getty Images
For all its quality going forward in midfield and outside, United do not have a player who does all the dirty work and breaks up opposition attacks when they need it most. They have gained their defensive solidity in midfield from the combination of Fred and Scott McTominay, but it is possible for United to find these qualities in a sensational defensive midfielder.
Declan Rice has been a long-term goal, and even if it were a dream scenario, there is probably better value for players from other leagues.
Marseilles Boubacar Kamara is available for transfer at a low price, while Eduardo Camavinga has been linked with a move from Rennes. The dream drawing for most fans may be Leicester’s Wilfred Ndidi, but he would not be cheap either.
Regardless, there are players out there who can do this job, and finding a player who allows Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba to express themselves takes United to a new level.
Seal Paul Pogba’s new contract
Paul Pogba has one year left on his current deal / Emilio Andreoli / Getty Images
Technically not a transfer, but it is as important a deal as Manchester United could make.
Paul Pogba has signed a contract in the summer of 2022 and is considering his options during his next move. But if United can buy well this summer and really compete to be the power team in the Premier League and on the continent next season, that may be enough to convince him to stay.
Pogba was sold on the dream of challenging for titles when he joined the club in 2016. And while that is not yet happening, United are closer than ever to being able to do so.
And sign a world-class striker next summer
Erling Haaland is a man in demand / Pool / Getty Images
Edinson Cavani has signed up for another season, but will not continue forever. And while the plan will be to develop Mason Greenwood to a lethal number nine over the next 12 months, United could easily be in the central attacking division after Cavani’s departure.
Erling Haaland is the player on everyone’s lips. While Chelsea are trying to blow up Borussia Dortmund’s socks with a huge attempt to sign the Norwegian this summer, their current position is that they are not ready to sell and instead prefer to make money when his release clause begins in 2022 – even if they stand to sell Haaland for a much more manageable sum of about £ 65 million.
Haaland will have all the clubs in the world after him next year if he stays in Dortmund now, but if the pieces can meet for United and they can start to succeed on the pitch, they have a great chance to land one of the best players on the planet.
Solskjaer knows the player well and gave him his chance at Molde, so if United can match their ambitions on the pitch, they could pull off the ultimate draw before the 2022/23 season.
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