Man Utd transfer plans: How many signings does Erik ten Hag need & could Harry Kane join from Spurs?
We assess four main issues the new Manchester United manager will need to look at when it comes to recruitment in the off-season.
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While building a title-winning team could take years, with some careful recruitment, the Red Devils could at least regain a Champions League place next season, something that looks unlikely to happen this term.
Ralf Rangnick claimed in midweek United could have to sign up to 10 players next window if they want to try and compete again with England’s top sides.
So where to begin for ten Hag and United’s new recruitment set-up? We take a look at the main issues that need to be addressed this summer.
The middle of the park has been a huge problem for the Red Devils this season, with opposition sides finding it too easy to carve a way through the centre of United.
While Scott McTominay and Fred do have several reliable qualities, shielding a defence isn’t one of them, and United really need to find someone this summer who can offer the back four more protection.
Often these players aren’t the flashiest, nor are they the names which adorn the back of children’s kits, but they are pivotal to the success of a top team - see Rodri and Fabinho as prime examples.
Nemanja Matic’s imminent departure and the expected farewell to Paul Pogba also increases the need for United to recruit in that area.
What type of striker do United need?
Centre-forward has also been an area of concern for the Red Devils, with reports last week that ten Hag is planning for life after Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford.
But the bigger question is what sort of striker do United want? A clinical goal scorer? Someone who helps link the play?
Could Ronaldo operate in a similar role to current Ajax striker Sebastien Haller? Or do United want a forward who will run in behind and stretch defences? Likewise, will a new striker act as an understudy to Ronado for a season? Or do United need someone to come in and immediately score goals?
Then there’s the pressing side of the game, something which has been lacking in Ronaldo’s game for years and seems unsuited to the likes of Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial.
These are the questions ten Hag needs to reflect on, as United continue to be linked with Harry Kane, Darwin Nunez and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, three contrasting options up front.
But moving on from Ronaldo and bringing in a centre-forward who can press and connect midfield to attack, seems to be in United’s best interests.
Widening the pitch
One guarantee from ten Hag is that he’ll play with wide attackers who like to take on opposition full-backs.
United have three such wingers in Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga, while Amad, Facundo Pellistri and Tahith Chong will have hopes of forcing their way into ten Hag’s plans.
But the three widemen United currently have in their first-team are similar in terms of being tricky rather than lightning fast, while there is no real left-footed option for ten Hag.
It’s an area the Red Devils may need to assess over the summer, and look to make at least one major addition in the market.
Quantity over quality?
The daily transfer rumours involving United have seen them linked with £50m-rated Antony, Declan Rice, a player David Moyes claimed was worth £150m earlier this season, and Kane, someone deemed too expensive for Manchester City last summer.
But in reality, if United are to sign a number of players in the upcoming window, they will not be able to afford several expensive outlays.
There could be some free transfers to take advantage of, such as Antonio Rudiger, but by and large it will be a case of ten Hag spreading the cost of his squad across several positions, and why signings such as Kane and Rice seem almost fanciful for a club who are unlikely to be able to offer Champions League football.
For ten Hag, bringing in five or six quality players who have room to continue developing should be the key when it comes to this summer’s recruitment drive.