Last season will go down as a successful one in the recent history of Manchester United. Erik Ten Hag took over as manager last summer and he has already managed to implement his philosophy at Old Trafford. He also managed to bring the club’s first piece of silverware in five years courtesy of the 2-0 victory over Newcastle United in the League Cup final.
Admittedly, however, they are still lagging someway behind their cross-city rivals, Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s Blues became the second team in the history of English football to secure the coveted treble last term, romping to success in the Premier League, FA Cup and picking up their maiden UEFA Champions League crown with victory over Inter Milan in Istanbul. When Manchester United play Manchester City next term it will surely be a mouth-watering affair, but there will be plenty of emphasis on Ten Hag to find a way to bridge the gap.
That gap currently stands at a whopping 14 points. But luckily for the Red Devils, they have a transfer window on their hands in which they can strengthen further. And if the rumours are to be believed, a combination of these four men could be on their way to the club in the not-too-distant future.
Andre Onana, David Raya, or Jordan Pickford
One of the best-kept secrets at Old Trafford at present is the future of David De Gea. The former Spanish number one is out of contract at the club this summer and he is yet to agree to terms on a new deal. He is the final remaining member of the last Manchester United team to win the Premier League back in 2013 but it seems like his days as Erik Ten Hag’s number one are indeed numbered.
As of right now, there are three options to replace him. The first of which is Andre Onana, who shone brightly for Inter Milan as they reached the Champions League final for the first time since 2010, defeating arch-rivals AC Milan in the semifinals. He is known for his brilliance with the ball at his feet, and as Ten Hag has already worked with the Cameroonian during his days at Ajax, he is considered the leading candidate to take over the reins from the potentially outgoing De Gea.
The other contenders are Brentford goalkeeper David Raya and Everton’s Jordan Pickford. Both shot-stoppers are current internationals, with the former an understudy to Unai Simon for Spain and the latter having been England’s first-choice keeper since 2018. Both are currently being considered by the United hierarchy, but it remains to be seen which direction the club will choose to go in.
Another position that desperately needs filling at Old Trafford is the lone striker spot. Following Cristiano Ronaldo’s earth-shattering interview with Piers Morgan and subsequent release from Manchester United on the eve of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the club’s striking options have been slim. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, both of whom have primarily been utilized on the flanks rather than as out-and-out strikers, were the only options in the second half of last season.
That saw Ten Hag bring in fellow Dutchman Wout Weghorst on loan from Burnley back in January, and the former Wolfsburg man proved to be a wise addition. However, he is highly unlikely to extend his stay in Manchester beyond the summer. The man that United have identified as their number one target to replace him and to be the club’s main man for numerous years to come is Napoli star Victor Osimhen.
The Nigerian sensation fired 31 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions last term and he was the star of the show as the Ciucciarelli stormed to a first Scudetto in 33 years. At 24 years of age, he is seen as the ideal man to lead Manchester United into the future. However, following his impressive breakout campaign, he has no end of potential suitors.
Chelsea is also thought to be interested in acquiring the former Lille man to partner Christopher Nkuku up top at Stamford Bridge. Then, there is a whole host of Europe’s elite also vying for his signature, including both Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich. Despite not being the force they once were, Manchester United do still have considerable pulling power, and with them returning to the Champions League, they may well be able to persuade Osimhen to make Old Trafford his home.
We started this article with the best-kept secret at Old Trafford, so we may as well end it with the worst-kept one. The tabloids have been reporting for months now that Mason Mount will be making the move to the North West this summer, and it certainly seems like that will be the case, despite United seeing three offers rejected for him already this summer. Online bookmakers have given the Chelsea star an even money chance at making the move, and that certainly seems to suggest that he will be on his way to the club shortly.
The former Derby County loanee has seen his form dwindle somewhat throughout the last 12 months. He used to be instrumental for England and was one of Gareth Southgate’s first names on the team sheet. Both he and Erik Ten Hag will be hoping that he can resurrect his career should he make the move to Old Trafford.
Image from unsplash.com.