The world is at a pause at the moment due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Football has been indefinetly postponed & there is next to no chance that season 2018-19 resumes in the near future. In the mean time, clubs have time to plan for the future with managers having virtual meetings with players and executives.
By the end of this madness, Europe will be going into transfer market time. FIFA have already announced the room for extension of contracts of players whose contracts were ending on June 30th, should any league resume it’s actions. There were also rumours about a mega transfer market which starts in June and ends in December.
What happens at Manchester United?
Manchester United will yet again have a hefty summer transfer market if we go by the rumour mill with the red devils being heavily linked with a number of players. Jadon Sancho & Jack Grealish are the most linked players, with most of the reliable sources confirming that, United are confident of getting both the players.
The board have to back Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose transfer market policies have had an excellent start over the last year. Solskjaer has always been very mindful of the type of players he wants to sign. Going by that and by the positions United need, the board will (they should) inevitably back Solskjaer.
The economic effects of this lockdown are always going to take it’s toll on certain clubs. The financially weak clubs who have top talents might want to cash in. Whereas, the financially strong clubs like Man United for example, have the perfect opportunity to snap up some of the talents.
What should be United’s priorities?
Manchester United have their priorities for the summer. A right winger upgrade must be inevitable after years of non-activity on that front. Obviously, the best talent available are being linked relentlessly by the media across Europe. There are other positions United should consider a “priority”. The Pogba situation will be crucial with regards to what United do to their midfield. Here, we are going to see various scenarios and how they might affect United’s “priorities”.
#1 Right Wing
Manchester United’s top priority has to be a right winger. United’s last Right winger signing was Antonio Valencia in 2009. He was converted to a RB in 2015 by Van Gaal and Nani was sold in the same year. So, in effect, United haven’t had a proper RW for about 5 seasons in a row.
MANCHESTER UNITED NOT HAVING A RW FOR FIVE SEASONS?!!! Crime in my opinion. But, coming back to present, Man United need a creative winger who can create and score. Who could that winger be?
Jadon Sancho. English, creative, goals galore (contributions), best RW talent in the world, knows Manchester, point to prove in England, best friends with Marcus Rashford, attainable this summer. What more does the Man United board or Solskjaer want? Signing Sancho has to be the priority this summer.
#2 The Paul Pogba conundrum
What happens with United’s current biggest asset? Paul Pogba wants to leave and wants to play in the Champions League. It’s common knowledge to those who have followed his agent’s comments.
The COVID-19 opens up an entirely new scenario. Manchester United have been stubborn in their stand that they want their set fee of 120m+ for the Frenchman. What if no one is interested in paying such an amount at such a time? Pogba has to stay. What will it do to United’s midfield plans?
Before football stopped, Nemanja Matic was said to be in talks with United for a new contract. It was said that a new contract was on the horizon. Even if he doesn’t sign a new contract, Man United had a one year optional extension which they had excercised. So, a DM was not going to be a priority.
Jack Grealish was always mentioned as a player United are very interested in. This is another case where the economic situation of the seller could be of an advantage for United. Villa are not in the best of financial shapes and are deep in a relegation dogfight. If the season stands void, then Villa will stay up. That could push the price up just that little bit, but, it would still be around GBP 55m, which is achievable in United’s standards.
#3 Centre Back
Man United signing yet another 100m defender can certainly be ruled out. Sorry to break your hearts, those who want Koulibaly, but, that just doesn’t seem to be happening, despite the mild noises in the media. United have been linked with a couple of homegrown, young centrebacks.
Nathan Collins of Stoke City was well scouted by United since last summer, is a name yet again extensively linked. Joe Rodon, the Welsh defender from Swansea City is a new name that’s being linked. What United need is Left sided centre back back-up to Captain, Harry Maguire. United have a load of RCB’s in Axel Tuanzebe, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly. But, they don’t have a capable LCB back up to Maguire. United might have this as a priority signing too.
#4 Jude Bellingham
Training ground visits, Sir Alex to convince his parents, agreeing a fee with Birmingham, etc have been seen in the media with regards to Jude. But, he, according to very reliable sources from the German media, has all but agreed to join Borussia Dortmund.
United have been chasing him since 2-3 years ago and have wanted him since the beginning of this season and have prioritised him among top first team targets. But, this one seems to be a case of ‘one that’s slipped out of United’s hands’.
This is a pure opinion article by Archith Venkat (Manchester United Updates editor).