While the Red Devils have been on an encouraging run of form that has allowed them to remain in the top two positions in the Premier League, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad still needs investment in the right areas next summer.
One of those is on the right wing, with the club not having an out-and-out winger that causes defences problems sir Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign. It has always been stop-gapped and been taken up by players who are either number 10s or play on the other flank.
Just behind the right-sided forward position in terms of priority is the midfield area – specifically one whose main job is to guard the back four. Nemanja Matic was signed from Chelsea for this reason back in 2017, but the Serbia international cannot play every single match, and has struggled in certain games when teams press high and aggressively.
There have been a number of occasions in which Manchester United have been caught on the counterattack and failed to recoup numbers efficiently, leaving an exposed back line. With an energetic and intelligent defensive-minded midfielder, the Red Devils will find it easier to recover possession.
Declan Rice of West Ham is one of the most talked about holding players in the country, along with Leicester City’s Wilfried Ndidi. Both are on the rising parts of their careers, being 22 and 24 years of age respectively, and would slot in well at Manchester United having already excelled in the Premier League.
However, both will not arrive on the cheap. The Hammers have already communicated with clubs that it will take an offer of around £70 million to prize Rice away, especially with David Moyes targeting a European finish this season.
Similarly, Leicester City never depart with their assets easily. It took a world-record fee of £80 million paid for a defender to sign Harry Maguire two seasons ago, which took all of summer to finally make a breakthrough and agree on.
The Foxes are also chasing for a top four position and if they are to reach it by the summer, it is going to take an astronomical fee for Leicester to unwillingly let Ndidi leave, which might just be a step to far for Manchester United to go.
There will be European options that are slightly more affordable, such as Ajax’s Ryan Gravenberch, who’s having a fantastic season in the Eredivisie, as well as Borussia Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria.
It is an absolute priority to build upon this good form that Solskjaer has created with his players, which means reinvesting into the squad at the end of the season. It is unlikely that Manchester United win the title this season, so it simply must be the case that they attempt to close the gap to their across-town rivals.
Whether it is Rice, Ndidi, Gravenberch, Zakaria or another defensive midfielder, the Red Devils will be a far more functional team with them in it than without.