Manchester United's big centre back vs right wing transfer dilemma debated

Our Manchester United writers have given their assessment on the club's transfer plans in the summer window Manchester United have plans...

Our Manchester United writers have given their assessment on the club's transfer plans in the summer window


Manchester United have plans for a busy period in the summer transfer window, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eyeing recruits in a number of different positions.

A centre-back, right-sided forward and central midfielder are on the agenda, while the club have also reignited interest in signing Atletico Madrid's former Tottenham full-back Kieran Trippier.

Solskjaer has also not ruled out the signing of a new striker, despite Edinson Cavani's contract extension, while further activity could be influenced by outgoing deals.

That includes on the goalkeeping front, with Lee Grant and Sergio Romero both leaving upon the expiration of their contracts along with the potential for David de Gea or Dean Henderson also seeking an exit if they are not selected as United's first-choice stopper.

Managing such an extensive list of positions and targets is certainly no easy task, one that requires plenty of planning and prioritisation.

So what is United's most pressing concern and who should they look to come in as their first stand-out signing? Our writers have had their say...

Josh Challies - Network Sports Desk Writer

While United's defensive issues are well documented and require improvement, there has also been a decline in stature at the other end of the field.

Old Trafford has a proud history of being the place to watch some of the finest attackers in the game, from Wayne Rooney to Cristiano Ronaldo, Eric Cantona to Ruud van Nistelrooy.

But those days have largely passed. Edinson Cavani is the biggest name among the attacking continent but is in the twilight years of his career, with United needing a big stand-out name to put them on the map once again.

Having done exactly that in midfield with the signing of Bruno Fernandes, a similar approach is needed in attack — with Jadon Sancho the man to turn to.

While the 21-year-old isn't quite yet at the level of the best in the world, he has the capability of reaching that ceiling and the fact of the matter is United won't be signing the likes of Kylian Mbappe anytime soon.

Sancho can be the first step in the move to create an all-star attack once again, potentially then followed by the addition of Erling Haaland in 12 months time.

Dominic Booth - Manchester United Writer

There's no doubt United still have work to do if they're to solidify at the back.

Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof appeared to form a coherent partnership in 2019/20, managing to string a run of clean sheets together. But that consistency eluded them in their second season together.

United have to put pace next to Maguire, a change that could revolutionise Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's back line. Lindelof doesn't have that speed and Solskjaer is unable to rely on Eric Bailly or Axel Tuanzebe to provide it on a consistent basis.

That's why a transfer for Raphael Varane, or someone of the Real Madrid star's ilk, should appeal so much to United. Jadon Sancho would be a nice addition on the right flank, but another elite centre-back signing must be a priority.

Liverpool added Virgil van Dijk and then won the league, Man City did the same thing with Ruben Dias. Now it needs to be United's turn.

Steven Railston - Trainee Football Writer

"Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles," Sir Alex Ferguson famously once said and Manchester United should listen to his advice this summer and prioritise signing a centre-back - finding Harry Maguire a suitable partner is well overdue.

Although Victor Lindelof ended the season strongly, his limitations at an elite level have been exposed over the years, while Eric Bailly also has the same questions marks hanging over him and his injury record is another cause for concern.

It was a signal that the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era had begun when United signed Maguire for £80m in 2019, but if the club doesn't sign a world-class central defender this summer it could undermine the Norweigan's progress, so it's crucial they get the recruitment right.

The MEN understands United are in talks with Real Madrid's Raphael Varane over the possibility of a transfer from Real Madrid, and with the World Cup winner's contract set to expire at the end of next season, it seems he could be the perfect partner for Maguire.

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