Manchester United have had a successful year so far with a League Cup in the bag and a top-four finish looking more than likely. However, there has been an apparent lack of quality in depth when United have needed it most. Erik ten Hag has done an excellent job but where does he need to prioritise to improve the squad?
Work done so far
Erik ten Hag arrived at a club bereft of confidence and a serious lack of top-level quality. He brought in the likes of Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, and Lisandro Martinez who have added so much more quality to the United team that they have been able to challenge on four different fronts for so long.
With the addition of Tyrell Malacia, it actually brought out a completely different animal in Luke Shaw. The same can be said about Marcel Sabitzer, who was brought in during the January transfer window, providing more quality in the heart of the midfield. So even the new backup brigade has brought a challenge for many established first-team players
However, Manchester United still look lethargic and are struggling at this late stage of the season and there has been an overreliance on the first-team squad to keep performing to a high level despite playing over 50 games already this season.
What is wrong with the current Manchester United squad?
The case was the same when Ole Gunnar Solskjear was the manager of the club. The overreliance on the first-team squad. United should and are expected to challenge on all four fronts. The Premier League, the League Cup, the FA Cup, and European competition. For success in all four of these, a squad that is good enough to rotate at will is vital.
The squad at the moment needs improving and United need to work harder at being a selling club rather than letting players leave on a free or for a lesser value. This happens regularly and has happened for far too long. United are held to ransom in the market and poor at selling; it is not a good way of business!
With the rotation of the squad important, United need players to challenge the first-team squad and deputies well. United should not be left in the lurch during games nor should they if changes need to be made.
Where does the money need to be spent?
Even with the ongoing sale (or no sale as it seems), there will still be money to spend for Manchester United and there are several areas they need to improve. A new goalkeeper, a centre-back, a new central midfielder, and a new main striker. However, there will not be a war chest available for ten Hag so he will have to decide where the money is distributed.
Although David De Gea is not the ideal goalkeeper for Ten Hag, he certainly has another credit in the bank, especially leading the golden glove race in the Premier League, for another season of being the number one.
Depending on the situation with Harry Maguire then a backup centre back might be needed but with Luke Shaw deputising in there and Victor Lindelof proving he is capable enough as cover, then it will be best to spend the money elsewhere.
The best way the money needs to be spent is certainly on a new centre forward and a new central midfielder. Despite the quality they have brought, both Eriksen and Casemiro are on the wrong side of 30 and will need to be deputised every now and then. In regards to the centre forward, it is evident United cannot rely on Anthony Martial and Wout Weghorst is unlikely to be signed permanently.
Who fits the bill?
So who would United need to sign to challenge on all four fronts?
The centre forward issue is the hottest topic and there are many names being thrown about. The likes of Victor Osimhen, Gonçalo Ramos and Tammy Abraham have all been linked with a move to Old Trafford. However, the main man, especially with chants at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, is Harry Kane.
Tottenham are in complete disarray and Kane is desperate to try and win a trophy. A lot has been said about the Kane move and he would be a superb fit up front for United with his movement and his lethal finishing. There is a real Robin Van Persie feel around this potential signing.
With his contract running down, that should not ruin the entire budget for the summer so a centre midfielder could also be in the pipeline. More bodies and quality is what is needed like the impact Eriksen and Casemiro did. With the names like Youri Tielemans, Ryan Gravenberch and Declan Rice. If the price is right for Marcel Sabitzer is the right one then United will more than likely move for him but do not be surprised if United make another summer attempt for Barcelona man Frenkie De Jong.