Last season was a funny old year for Manchester United. A disappointment in the Premier League, they still managed to end the campaign with two major trophies, and a place in the Champions League – courtesy of their Europa League triumph.
Jose Mourinho has already made two significant buys this summer, in the form of Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku. But if the Red Devils are to mount a genuine Premier League title challenge, there’s more surgery needed on this squad.
Here’s how – and where – we think the Portuguese gaffer should look to strengthen.
With Lindelof having signed on already, they’re all set at centre-back, with the likes of Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly all available to partner him at the heart of defence. In fact, they’re more likely to sell a centre-half than add another one.
However, it’s a different story on the flanks. With first-choice left-back Luke Shaw so injury prone, and utility man Daley Blind decent but unspectacular in that role, another man on that side of the defence makes sense.
On the opposite flank, Antonio Valencia won’t last forever, so a talented understudy could be just the thing.
Replacements: Felipe Luis, David Alaba, Thomas Meunier
With Mourinho purposefully moving towards building a more robust, imposing side, a bit more steel in the middle of the park could be just the ticket – with talk again resurfacing of a move for Renato Sanches, who has struggled for form at Bayern Munich.
In the more advanced areas, they could do with a creative link to the front-men, while the January exit of Morgan Schneiderlin and ageing of the still-excellent Michael Carrick points to the addition of a classy, tidy ball-player.
Replacements: Renato Sanches, Ryad Boudebouz, Christian Eriksen
First off, the initial decision to not offer Zlatan Ibrahimovic a new deal will go down in history as a huge error. Unless, of course, Mourinho now changes his mind and signs up the out-of-contract hitman.
Do that and they’re sorted as far as strikers are concerned, with Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial already on the club’s books ahead of this campaign.
However, there’s no doubt they need to add a top-class winger. With Memphis Depay and Adnan Januzaj both shipped out already in 2017, Jose hasn’t been slow in selling on the deadwood in that area. Now he needs to add high-quality options.
Replacements: Ivan Perisic, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Dries Mertens
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing