With the Premier League season now over, attention now turns to what is expected to be a busy summer for United in the transfer market with several players expected to come and go. The silly season is upon us ladies and gentlemen and you can expect to see reports that United are signing nearly every half decent player across Europe in the next few weeks.
First of all, the goalkeeper situation needs resolving, with each day that passes it is looking less and less likely that David De Gea will sign a new contract as Real Madrid lie in wait. De Gea is said to be happy in Manchester but the lure of a return to his home country, something reportedly being encouraged by his family and girlfriend could prove to be too much.
The Spaniard’s contract is up next summer and it makes more sense to move him on for a sizeable fee now than lose him for free next year if it comes to light he has his heart set on returning to Madrid.
The most obvious replacement for De Gea if he does leave is his current understudy Victor Valdes. The Barcelona legend had not played for several months before joining the club in January but has featured regularly in the under-21s before making his debut against Arsenal in the penultimate game of the season. Valdes is a couple of years younger than Edwin van der Sar was when he joined United and could still have another five good years or so ahead of him, not to mention a wealth of experience after winning everything there is to win in the game.
If Van Gaal chooses to look elsewhere he may go for Chelsea’s Petr Cech who is reportedly far from happy at Stamford Bridge or Ajax’s Jasper Cillessen who played under him at last year’s World Cup.
United’s defence has been a major talking this season with many pundits suggesting there is plenty of room for improvement. Louis Van Gaal doesn’t seem convinced by Rafael at right-back and the Brazilian could be on his way this summer. In his place a replacement needs to be signed that can either challenge Antonio Valencia for a starting spot or make the position their own, Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne has been mentioned as well as Barcelona’s Dani Alves who wants out of the Catalan club.
Centre-back is another area where United look short of quality and the club have long been linked with Mats Hummels, now might the ideal time to persuade the German World Cup winner to leave his homeland now it has emerged that Jurgen Klopp will leave Borussia Dortmund. Otamendi of Valencia has also been mentioned and if the club bring one in it is almost inevitable that one will leave. With Smalling, McNair and Blackett all having signed new contracts and Phil Jones improving it could well be Jonny Evans. The Irishman hasn’t had the best of seasons and hasn’t really come on in the last few years as well as you would have hoped.
Midfield is another area that needs looking at and the manager has already expressed his interest in signing a right-footed holding midfielder. Pogda, Gundogan, Khedira and several others have all been mentioned and would cost a lot of money but United are far too reliant on Michael Carrick and action needs to be taken if they are to challenge Chelsea for the title next season.
Personally I think James Ward-Prowse would be a great signing, a future England international and only going to get better, then again if United persist with their interest in Clyne, look what happened to Liverpool when they bought half of Southampton last season….
Out wide Van Gaal has already brought in Memphis Depay who can excel in several attacking positions. This young man has talent and flair in abundance and could well be a major star of the Premier League next season and for years to come. Rumours that United are going to sign Gareth Bale have been circulating for several months now but it’s hard to see this being any more than paper talk, the Welshman might not have had the best of seasons at the Bernabeu by their fans unforgiving standards but will surely stick it out rather than move back home and probably cost somebody £100 million.
Up front could well prove to be one of the most interesting positions this summer with Radamel Falcao already having left having not quite live up to expectations, Robin Van Persie could follow him which means that United will bring in one maybe two strikers during this window. Edinson Cavani has been mentioned but he would cost an absolute fortune from PSG. The manager has bemoaned the lack of height in the team at times this season and in my eyes the perfect solution to this would be Harry Kane who has been on fire for Spurs this season. It would take a lot of money to prise him away from White Hart Lane but his goals would make it well worth it in the coming years. Karim Benzema is another option that has come to the fore in the media in the last few days.
Whatever happens this summer, United will be looking to start next season as title contenders and two or three good signings to go with Depay in the next couple of months should ensure this happens. Enjoy the ride folks and don’t believe everything you read.