Manchester United this week finally kickstarted their summer spending with the £40million capture of Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek.
The Dutchman’s arrival has served to ease some of the growing frustrations among the United fanbase at the club’s lack of activity in the current window.
However, with Champions League football set to return to Old Trafford, further signings are required if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ’s side are to improve on last season’s third-place finish in the Premier League.
With exactly one month left until the transfer window deadline on October 5, here’s what United still have to do in the market.
Find a centre-back
While Van de Beek adds another exciting creative option to Solskjaer’s midfield, centre-back remains an area of concern for the Norwegian.
United spent £80m to bring Harry Maguire to Old Trafford last summer and many fans are expecting another high-profile defensive addition this time around.
Last season, Solskjaer relied upon a centre-back partnership of Maguire and Victor Lindelof. However, with Chris Smalling tipped to join Roma after a successful year on loan in the Italian capital, United need reinforcements at the back.
After completing the Van de Beek deal, ESPN reported on United’s interest in RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano.
The Frenchman enjoyed a stellar 2019/20 season in the Bundesliga and also impressed during Leipzig’s run to the Champions League semi-finals, producing a man of the match display as Julian Nagelsmann’s men defeated Atletico Madrid in the last eight.
As per ESPN’s report, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones – in addition to Smalling – are expected to leave Old Trafford during this window.
United will almost certainly not let that happen without having secured at least one replacement, however, although as per The Telegraph, the club’s board are wary of spending heavily on the 21-year-old.
United have also been linked with Benoit Badiashile but landing the 19-year-old now appears unlikely after Monaco boss Niko Kovac insisted he would not leave the club.
Other defenders to have been linked in recent months include Villarreal’s Pau Torres, Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Inter’s Milan Skriniar.
Sort out the Sancho saga
Whether United land one of the aforementioned names, however, remains to be seen.
Of course, one name has dominated United transfer rumours in recent months: Jadon Sancho.
The Borussia Dortmund winger is United’s top target although speculation has cooled slightly in recent weeks with the German club refusing to budge on their £108m asking price.
However, a report from the Daily Mail states that United will look to revive their interest once they have finalised the fees and salary of Sancho’s agent.
It certainly seems as though United are no closer to landing the former Manchester City youngster than they were at the start of the window.
Therefore it seems inevitable that the Sancho saga will rumble on over the next month.
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A new left-back?
Earlier this week, United legend Gary Neville told Sky Sports that the club needed to strengthen in five key areas.
While an attacking midfielder has been added, Neville feels as though Solskjaer needs a ‘world-class’ central defender, another midfielder, a right winger, a striker and a left-back.
Speculation over a possible new striker has been quiet, but the Reds have been linked with Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon.
As per Spanish outlet Sport, United have tabled a £26.8m bid for the 23-year-old, who impressed on loan at Sevilla last season, helping to knock United out of the Europa League.
Given Luke Shaw’s injury troubles in recent years, the club would be advised to seek cover in that area with Brandon Williams only having come into the first-team last season.
As for another central midfielder, there has been talk of a move for Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara.
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However, the 29-year-old does not appear to fit United’s policy of signing players who can flourish at Old Trafford in the long-term, while there have also been reports that Liverpool are the frontrunners for the Spaniard’s signature with Georginio Wijnaldum being linked with a move to Barcelona.
What can United fans expect? It is difficult to fathom the club allowing the October 5 deadline to pass without having addressed the centre-back issue.
As for Sancho, it may well be that he remains at Borussia Dortmund for the 2020/21 season.
However, with reinforcements needed in defence and with Mason Greenwood having excelled on the right of Solskjaer’s attack, missing out on the 20-year-old Dortmund ace may not be a disaster.
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