What areas Manchester United must improve in next transfer window to become title challengers

The Red Devils have improved drastically under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, yet a serious title challenge seems a distant dream. New additions are a must to take the club to the next level.

File photo: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in training; Credit: Manchester United Twitter
By Shayne Dias | Mar 17, 2021 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

It’s been eight long years since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. The current season is the closest Manchester United have come to mounting a genuine Premier League title push. However, Manchester City’s fierce winning streak coupled with United’s inconsistent results make it difficult for the club to win the league title. Only Manchester United can lose at home to bottom side Sheffield United and win the next league game 9-0.

The odd results are preventing the club to provide a genuine title push. No questions will be pointed at the manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for he has improved the club drastically in his time at Old Trafford. Title challenge, however, seems to be a distant dream for the team as there are gaping holes in the squad that needs to be filled.

Let’s check the areas where Manchester United need to focus in the upcoming transfer window:

Right wing

The right flank has been a problematic area since Angel Di Maria left for PSG in 2015. Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Alexis Sanchez, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Daniel James and many more have since been tried to fill that hole. But, none could cement that position. Greenwood and Rashford were the closest to securing it, but that would force them out of their natural positions.

As a striker, Greenwood might find himself isolated in the wide areas, while Rashford is at his rampaging best when he plays on the left flank. United’s pursuit of Jadon Sancho last summer was no secret. Once they failed to land the English winger, the club instead signed two youngsters in Amad Diallo and Facundo Pellistri. It will be interesting to see if Solskjaer promotes these two players for that position. If not, signing a right-sided winger must be top on United’s priority list next summer.

Defensive midfield

In paper, Manchester United seem to have that position covered with three players – Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay. If we take a closer look, Matic is 32 years old and might lose his legs anytime soon. Not to mention, the lack of pace has always been the Serb’s biggest weakness. It’s too big a risk to play him alone in the defensive midfield role against quicker attacking teams.

Fred moves the ball quickly to his teammates, but he is not the physical type to bully the opposition attackers. McTominay is the most physical player among the three, however, he does not have the slick passing abilities like Matic or Fred. The club maintains a better shape when two of them play together, but that sacrifices their attacking creativity. What United need in the next transfer window is a modern day Michael Carrick, who is good with and without the ball!

Centre Back

When Manchester United signed Harry Maguire for a record transfer, fans expected him to have the same impact as Virgil van Dijk had for Liverpool. He has played the most minutes among the centre backs since his arrival. Maguire, however, hasn’t become the dominant commanding figure at the back. His lack of pace is another major issue for the club. Victor Lindelof is not quick either and does not have the same heading prowess as Maguire. Despite his consistent run of late, United ideally require a dynamic defender.

Eric Bailly has all the qualities to become the savior the club is looking for in a centre back. He has pace, physicality and good agility. But his lack of consistency and regular injury record makes it difficult for the coaching staff to bank on him. A good title challenge starts from the back and if United were to become a genuine contender, defence is where they need to begin first.

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