What Manchester United must do if they are to become Premier League champions again
Louis van Gaal and Ed Woodward have been busy in the transfer market so far this summer, bringing four big-name signings to Manchester United ahead of the new Premier League season.
And while fans are confident that the acquisition of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian and Morgan Schneiderlin can see their side mount a serious challenge to Chelsea in the title race, there are still a few more areas of the side that could do with being strengthened.
Here are three positions that the Old Trafford brain-trust might want reinforcements for.
While United already have a host of attacking options, they are a little light on out-and-out strikers. With Robin van Persie gone, van Gaal has Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and James Wilson to play the traditional role.
However, the Dutchman has regularly played Rooney further out the field while Hernandez and Wilson likely wouldn’t be prolific enough to lead a title-winning attack.
While there have been many reports linking the club with Barcelona’s Pedro, PSG’s Edinson Cavani could be another option for the Red Devils. While it is true that his goal-scoring record has dipped in Paris, he has had to share touches with the not-always-generous Zlatan. With more ball played through him in Manchester, Cavani could once again hit that 20-league goal mark.
The need for a goalkeeper may or may not be urgent depending on whether David de Gea decides to spend one more year at Old Trafford, but sooner or later, the Spanish shot-stopper needs to be replaced.
Ajax goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen worked with van Gaal at the Dutch national team, and although his penalty-saving record is atrocious, he has proven to be one of Europe’s safest pair of hands.
Alternatively, a bid for Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris would be welcomed by United fans, but the Frenchman would likely cost more than his Dutch counterpart.
With Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic both gone last season, Manchester United lacked a defensive rock in the centre of defence. While Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have both shown promise, occasional errors mean they don’t inspire the same confidence that the veteran duo once did.
The fact that van Gaal has sometimes been forced to rely on youngsters Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett in the centre of defence shows the need for an established signing in that area. It looks like deals for Sergio Ramos and Mats Hummels are both dead at this stage, and might cause van Gaal to look elsewhere.
He has previously worked with enforcer Ron Vlaar, who left Aston Villa when his contract expired this summer. As a free transfer, the Dutchman would represent a reasonably low-risk move for the United boss.