The lowdown: Overhaul pending…
Incoming manager Erik ten Hag is expected to oversee wide-ranging squad changes in the summer as the Red Devils attempt to put a lacklustre 2021/22 campaign behind them.
With the likes of Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata all out of contract in the coming months and Nemanja Matic also set to leave the club, the Old Trafford ranks will take on a whole new complexion over the course of the Dutchman’s early reign.
Having been heavily linked with a defensive midfielder as a priority, West Ham United star Rice, PSV Eindhoven sensation Ibrahim Sangare and Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong – a former protégé of Ten Hag – have all been heavily linked with a move to Manchester.
The latest: Jones predicts ‘budget’ swoop
The journalist explained: “If it doesn’t (work out with Declan Rice), they’re going to have to look for a budget Declan Rice.
“And ultimately, that’s when Ten Hag’s nous comes in in terms of negotiating and spotting people that can do as good a job in a short space of time.
“Maybe it’s Sangare, it looks like they’re out of the running for Tchouameni at this point. So, whatever it is, they’re going to have to move fast on that deal, I think.”
The verdict: Reinforcements needed
Ultimately, the Red Devils need to add high-quality additions to the central midfield ranks, particularly in a defensive sense given their 56 Premier League goals conceded this season, the second-highest among teams in the top half of the table.
Ironically, when using the FBRef comparison tool to seek out stylistic alternatives to Rice, Liverpool spoiler Fabinho and United’s own Scott McTominay are the closest matches to the Englishman. Further down the list are attainable such names as 21-year-old Khephren Thuram-Ulien and 28-year-old Mario Lemina, who both currently ply their trade at Ligue 1 outfit Nice.
How many signings do Man Utd need to make this summer?
Whilst either Sangare or Aurelien Tchouameni would represent viable options to bolster the Old Trafford ranks, Ten Hag and John Murtough may well need to get creative without the lure of Champions League football next term and could be looking beyond the traditional targets in order to bolster the squad.
In other news: Man Utd now eyeing move for ‘world class’ Premier League star. Read more here
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