Manchester United are currently locked in a battle to secure Champions League football for next season. This term, they had to settle for a Europa League campaign, which saw them exit at the quarter-finals stage, but United are now aiming to go one better and return to Europe’s top club competition. And their work this summer could prove pivotal to potential future success in the Champions League.
If you go back to the days when Sir Alex Ferguson was managing Manchester United, Champions League betting odds would suggest the Old Trafford-based outfit as one of the favourites to win the tournament outright. But fast forward to the present day, and this would no longer be the case. While there have been signs of progress under Dutchman Erik ten Hag, more work is required on the squad this summer to become a prominent force once again.
Two crucial areas must be addressed as soon as possible, with the first being the central striker position. Manchester United don’t have a player who can play the role as intended who they own, with Wout Weghorst, who has failed to deliver goals, only on loan from Burnley.
United have always been renowned for having an out-and-out goalscorer in their ranks, a number nine, and while signing someone of the ilk of Harry Kane will cost a lot, it’s going to make a significant difference. You could argue they need two central strikers to be on the safe side.
Another position United will undoubtedly look to address is centre-back. Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez have proven themselves to be more than capable operators in central defence, but with both ruled out because of injury, the defence has immediately become shaky, leading to some questioning whether it’s time to move on the likes of Harry Maguire and Vincent Lindelof and add more quality and strength in depth.
According to reports, the club have been tracking Napoli’s Kim Min-Jae for a significant amount of time, and with a release clause in his contract, they could strike this summer to prevent him from penning a new deal with his current employers, which would undoubtedly remove the release clause. If United strengthen at centre-back, any injuries that occur wouldn’t necessarily cause them the kind of problems seen recently.
Other positions that may be up for consideration are goalkeeper and right back. David de Gea is still to pen a new deal on lesser terms, and time is running out, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s future has been up in the air for a significant period of time.
But, if both were to agree to new deals, then it would be the end of the matter. Manchester United have definitely made progress this season, with the Carabao Cup already in the bag. If they secure qualification for the Champions League and get their recruitment right, they could be a force to be reckoned with in Europe like they were in the past, which many people would be happy about.