Manchester United to shift attentions further up the field next summer?
Background Image Via: Geograph/David Dixon. CC BY 4.0.
For Manchester United, spending big in the summer transfer window was vital. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was given a squad with gaping holes practically all over the park. It was always going to be a tough ask to solve all those issues in one window. Prioritising was needed.
Solskjaer opted to build from the back. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was signed for £50million, Harry Maguire would join for £80million, too. Their impacts have already been evident. United's defence looks much more water-tight in the early stages. What's also been on full display is the Red Devils' lacking depth in other key positions. An injury to Paul Pogba could derail the Baby Faced Assassin's plans, while right-wing still remains a glaring weakness.
Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day. Too many cooks spoil the broth, as they say. It's about making little switches rather than enforcing wholesale change. Looking ahead to next summer, it seems pretty obvious where United are going to focus their attentions. Let's start with the midfield... We all know that Pogba isn't completely happy in Manchester and you'd anticipate that rumours surrounding his future will only intensify. Even if he does stay, the Old Trafford club is still majorly lacking in creativity. Enter Leicester City's James Maddison.
The Leicester City attacking midfielder fits the profile. Young, English and a potential superstar. The word on the grapevine is that he's a huge United fan as well, which only strengthens the Red Devils' case at landing Maddison. Either as a like-for-like replacement for Pogba or someone who'd bring cutting edge to the #10 slot (which Jesse Lingard simply hasn't done), it does make sense. As the 20-time Premier League champions will have learnt from their Maguire dealings with The Foxes, Maddison will not come cheap...
Maddison's directness, sublime passing ability, free-kick technique and sheer willingness to win would fit in well with what Solskjaer is trying to build. I can see the Englishman being a primary target for United in just under twelve months time, regardless of how well he plays in the 2019/20 campaign.
Then you move onto the right-wing slot. This is a position United have had trouble with since Cristiano Ronaldo swapped the Theatre of Dreams for the Santiago Bernabeu back in 2019. To name a few, Antonio Valencia, Angel di Maria, Nani and Juan Mata have all tried but the consistency has been lacking. The right-sided attacker burden will fall on Daniel James and Mason Greenwood this term. Are they ready? Only time will tell...
Without sounding too arrogant, I feel like it's already a case of if rather than when United will sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund. For what it's worth, if the Reds had finished in the top four last campaign I reckon the teenager's name would already be ringing out already Old Trafford, but hey-ho you can't win 'em all...
Sancho is apparently set for a new contract at the Westfalonstadion, which will no doubt add to his eventual transfer fee, but for the right player, United have shown a willingness to splash the cash under Solskjaer.
The 19-year-old is a player who excites. He gets bums on seats (and up off them regularly, too). If you could hand-craft and design a player for Solskjaer's United regime, Sancho would be the final outcome. What's not to like?
As always, it's about keeping the faith in Solskjaer as a manager. There will be ups and downs throughout this long and arduous season. United's young players will struggle, major injuries will be picked up, but you can see that there is now a clear plan in place. Let's back the Norweigan hero, let's give him time to mould this team into one that suits his image. The last time we put faith in a young, relatively unknown manager, it would out pretty well, eh?