As always, this summer United seem to be linked with every player under the sun. The normal Ronaldo coming home rumours have cropped up as well as De Gea going the other way. Until now I’m unaware of Gaitan rumours yet this year! This is my opinion on what would be a successful transfer window for United, I’ve also tried to be realistic with the signings.
Before the transfer window I would’ve been looking for us to sign a Centre back (CB), a central midfielder (CM), a striker (ST), and an attacking player/winger as a core 4 signings. On top of this, possibly a full back and a second more offensive midfielder. I’ll give a prime target as well as a back up for each of these. If wanted I could give a more in depth analysis on individual players in further posts if people would like them.
CB- Victor Lindelof- £35mil- DONE
Our first signing of this window, a highly rated central defender from Sweden. First things first, Lindelof only turns 23 in July, a young defender full of potential and definitely a signing for the future. In him and Eric Bailly we could have a central defence for years to come. Lindelof was at Benfica for 4 years and played 32 Primera Liga games for them last season. He is very calm on the ball and is a ball playing CB but along with these technical abilities the Swede is a good header of the ball and a real fighter at the back, him and Bailly seem to be suited perfectly as a pair. He has played 12 times for Sweden and looks at home at international level, he had a very solid game recently against France- one of the best attacking teams in world football. The question for Utd fans is will he be able to perform at the top level week in week out for us in the Premier league. Has potential to be another top quality relatively unknown defensive signing from Jose.
CM- Fabinho- £40mil OR Radja Nainggolan- £40mil
With these two signings I would have no real preference, although each would alter the way we play. The rumours/links for these two are tenuous at best but I think both are achievable and realistic.
Fabinho- A 23 year old right back converted into a defensive midfielder this season. As a former full back, Fabinho is without doubt an athlete. He stands at over 6 feet tall and has decent pace- possibly the perfect Mourinho signing- an athlete who plays. My guess is that if we signed Fabinho he would sit at the base of a midfield three with Herrera and Pogba ahead of him. He would provide the cover to allow Pogba to go and do his own thing and drift around the pitch to be at his most effective. Herrera would also be given freedom to go and press people further up the press, allowing us to turn the ball over and attack from more dangerous positions. Yet again, Fabinho would be a signing for the future and would surely only grow as a player under the guidance of Mourinho. This would be a serious midfield and should be able to compete with the best in the business.
Nainggolan- the Roma midfielder is renowned throughout Europe for being a dynamic all round midfielder. He is 29 years old so has a fair amount of experience and is one of the best in his position. Nainggolan is a goal threat and scored 11 goals in 36 league games for Roma last season, he has an eye for the spectacular and is dangerous from long range- always a useful weapon against deep sitting defences. If we managed to secure the signing of the Belgian it would be a massive coup, he would play with Pogbaahead of Ander Herrera. Herrera would sit in front of the back 4 as he has done so effectively this season allowing Pogba and Nainggolan to go box to box, score goals and outrun the opposition in midfield. This would be the more difficult transfer to pull off but if we did manage it, I believe it would be a game changer and would give us one of the most dynamic midfield in Europe. What a signing he would be!
Attacker- Ivan Perisic- £40mil OR James Rodríguez- £60mil
Perisic seems at this point a much more realistic signing and in my opinion would also be a better signing for us. The 6 ft 1 28 year old from Croatia would play wide on the left and is a real old fashioned winger, he is pacey and direct and loves running at players, perhaps even more importantly he has an impressive work rate. He is a real Mourinho type player, experienced, hard working, tall and an athlete. He would give us real potency particularly on the break where he is at his most effective- think back to his goal vs Spain in Euro 2016. He can shoot with both feet and scored 11 goals in 36 Serie A games in a struggling Inter Milan team- not a bad return. He would be a functional signing and could really help to take our team forward. In games last year eg. City Away, we looked solid defensively but didn’t really threaten on the break- with Perisic in our team we would have real potency and the ability to push teams back- potentially a massive card to play in the Champions league next season. Perisic could also operate at wing back if Jose decided to go with 3 at the back and this versatility is a huge asset, he could also follow the same path as Antonio Valencia and transition to play at full back as his career progresses. This looks like one of the most likely deals to happen- with strong reports suggesting the two clubs are getting closer in their valuations. Also Inter do need to make a sale as a result of Financial fair play- playing even more into Ed Woodward’s hands.
James is unlikely to happen. Despite the fact that reports say that he only wants a move to Utd, I don’t believe that Jose will want James. He plays in the number 10 position which means having to play 2 CMs- this hinders Paul Pogba as we saw last season and the team will be built around the Frenchman. Mourinho will not feel pressure to make a marquee signing and will opt for the functionality of Perisic over James. Furthermore, if we sign Alvaro Morata from Madrid I cannot see Real selling us two players in the same summer.
Striker- Alvaro Morata- £65mil OR Andrea Belotti- £60mil- RC £80mil
Alvaro Morata looks to be the most likely striker heading to Old Trafford this summer. The Spaniard is over 6 feet tall and possesses impressive speed for a big man. He is the ideal striker to lead the line on his own. Although he doesn’t quite give the presence that Zlatan gave last year, he is more able to run into channels and stretch defences than the Swede. He scored 14 goals in 14 La Liga starts last term at an average of a goal every 89 minutes, with more minutes and opportunities in the United side could he carry on this strike rate? If he did he would be a hell of a signing. With a 27% conversion rate he dwarfs that of Zlatan ( 15%), Morata could help Utd to put away stubborn defences. The Madrid striker is still only 24 years old so has plenty of scope for improvement and could become one of the world’s best strikers. The Spaniard could be Jose’s man to solve the striking problems next year and the deal looks likely so lets hope he can produce.
Andrea Belotti of Torino broke through this year with 26 Serie A goals. Il Gallo seems to be the real deal, however the real question is will he be a one season wonder? For this reason I doubt that United will take a risk worth over £60million possibly up to £80million. However if the Morata deal falls through it may be a risk that Mourinho will have to take.
Full back- Nelson Semedo- £35-40million
Semedo is a flying 23 year old Right back who plays for Benfica. If rumours are to be believed he could be on the way to Old Trafford soon. Another highly rated Benfica defender. He played 31 league games last season scoring once and assisting 6 times. Matteo Darmian is thought to be looking for a move back to Italy so a full back is needed, especially with an ageing Antonio Valencia. Semedo could be the ideal replacement for the Ecuadorian with the ability and pace to bomb up and down our right flank and provide crosses for our striker. A relatively unknown quantity, Semedo may well be expensive but again has the potential to be United’s right back for years to come. Along with Luke Shaw, Eric Bailly, and former teammate Vitor Lindelof, our back 4 could be sorted for years to come.