Ranking Man Utd’s summer transfers priorities by position with three areas requiring drastic care

Lewis Oldham
Man Utd transfer
Manchester United trio Jason Wilcox, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Jason Wilcox.

Since completing his takeover of Manchester United in February, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s priority has been to overhaul the club’s recruitment model.

A few months on, the INEOS chief is close to completing his transfer dream team as chief executive Omar Berrada and technical director Jason Wilcox have been recruited, while the final piece of the jigsaw will be put into place once their prolonged pursuit of Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth is finalised.

During the post-Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill era, the boardroom at Old Trafford has resembled a circus as time and time again, the figures in the posh seats have had their pants pulled down over transfer fees.

From Antony to Casemiro and Jadon Sancho, Man Utd have thrown hundreds of millions of pounds down the drain and this has set the club back years, with the once-winning machine miles away from being in a position to mount a sustained challenge for the Premier League and Champions League.

Ratcliffe has not wasted time rustling feathers at Man Utd as mass redundancy is on the cards during the summer. And after another miserable season, Berrada, Wilcox and Ashworth will have to be similarly ruthless in the transfer market in the coming windows, with most of their current underperforming squad at risk of being axed for a better fit.

So with that, we have decided to rank Man Utd’s summer transfer priorities by position and concluded that a lot of work needs to be done…

 

9) Right-back
There is barely a handful of Man Utd players who can hold their heads high after the 2023/24 campaign, but Portugal international Diogo Dalot has consistently been one of their stronger performers under Erik ten Hag.

The 25-year-old is developing into a complete full-back and is set to stick around for some time, with his new contract to last until the end of the 2027/28 campaign.

Cover may be required if the versatile Aaron Wan-Bissaka opts to pack his bags and move on, but the right-back department is one area that Man Utd have sorted. This is pretty much where the good news ends, though.

 

8) Left-wing
Along with the impressive form of Dalot, the emergence of several homegrown talents has been a positive for Man Utd.

Injuries and disciplinary issues have impacted Man Utd on the flanks. But during the 23/24 campaign, 19-year-old Alejandro Garnacho usurped a below-par Marcus Rashford to become Ten Hag’s first-choice left-winger.

Garnacho’s final product is lacking at times, but that will come with experience and he’s got natural ability in spades. He has immense potential and United’s left-wing situation will only be boosted further if Rashford can recover his form.

 

7) Goalkeeper
David De Gea’s replacement – Andre Onana – had his issues (especially in the Champions League) during his debut year at Manchester United, but the ball-playing goalkeeper overcame early-season criticism to ensure most of his critics have reversed into the bushes.

Being United’s No.1 is not for everyone, but Onana appears to be strong-willed enough to cope with the demands of being the keeper between the sticks at Old Trafford.

 

6) Attacking midfield
It is often the case that when Bruno Fernandes turns up, Man Utd do as well. This places a huge burden on the club captain and they could certainly do with an alternative of similar quality in the long run.

But whatever you think of Fernandes’ play-acting, this does not take away from the level of footballer he is when he’s at full tilt. He’s a special talent and he’ll likely only perform better in the coming seasons as Man Utd’s reliance on the midfielder eases in the face of better recruitment.

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5) Right-wing
The aforementioned disciplinary issues at United – centred around Jadon Sancho – have meant Ten Hag has been short of options on the right flank this season.

Antony has joined Sancho in being a major flop at Man Utd and the sooner they can get rid of the petulant Brazil international, the better. Other than that, Amad has impressed in flashes, while Garnacho is capable of deputising on the right when necessary.

With Sancho unlikely to return to Man Utd even if they sack Ten Hag, a new right winger is required and Michael Olise would fit the bill if Ratcliffe can beat Chelsea in the race to sign the Crystal Palace standout.

 

4) Central midfield
It says a lot about the situation that Man Utd find themselves in that signings are required all through the spine of their team.

With Casemiro’s extraordinary drop-off expected to lead him to Saudi and Sofyan Amrabat likely to depart at the end of his loan spell, a new partner for Kobbie Mainoo in the middle of the pitch is needed.

📣TO THE COMMENTS! Who should Manchester United sign this summer? Join the debate here

 

3) Left-back
Ten Hag’s overused excuse for Man Utd’s miserable season in 23/24 has been their injury issues. While they have been impacted more than most clubs, they have still had enough quality in their squad (on paper at least) to perform better than they did for most of the campaign.

At left-back however, their injury situation got out of hand as Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia’s respective issues left Ten Hag without a natural full-back on that side for the majority of the season.

Malacia is solid but unremarkable, while Shaw is excellent when fit. The problem is that the Englishman’s injury proneness means he cannot be relied upon for more than six games in a row, so United could do with identifying his long-term replacement this summer.

 

2) Striker
In an ideal world, Man Utd would have signed Harry Kane AND Rasmus Hojlund last summer. But this was not to be so Ten Hag was forced to rely too much on the inexperienced Denmark international during his debut season.

Hojlund’s goalscoring purple patch after the New Year ensured his debut season at Man Utd was about par, but he would have certainly performed better had he been rotated in and out of the team with a ready-made alternative.

The 21-year-old should come good within the next couple of seasons, but Ratcliffe (especially with Anthony ‘waste of space’ Martial moving on) must sign another striker capable of competing with and outshining Hojlund next year.

 

1) Centre-back
Ten Hag having to field defensive midfielder Casemiro and 36-year-old Jonny Evans as a centre-back pairing during the run-in was embarrassing and it resulted in a laughably bad showing in the 4-0 loss to Crystal Palace.

The injury suffered by Lisandro Martinez perhaps impacted United more than any other this season as the Argentina international is comfortably their best centre-back.

His return to fitness in the final weeks of the season was a timely boost, but with Casemiro, Evans and Harry Maguire not up to scratch, at least one new centre-back must be signed this summer to replace Saudi-bound Raphael Varane.

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