After coming off the back of a hectic summer period, one that was full of continuous gossip and speculation, the mention of the word ‘transfer’, is one that fans like to block out from now until at least January. However, behind closed doors at every football club across the world, the scouting and negotiating of players never stops. So which areas of the team should Jose Mourinho be considering scouting, in preparation for next Summer’s transfer window.
Although the current right-back spot is comfortably taken up by Antiono Valencia, the Ecuadorian turned 32 last August and after Mourinho publically admitting that he will need to be used cautiously this season, the signing of a younger right-back would certainly provide as an efficient investment. Manchester United down the years have always boasted in possessing two attacking full-backs, that like to offer support in attacks for their partnered winger and attacking midfielders.
Valencia has certainly been a player who has fitted the bill for the last three years now, consistently occupying that position as his own without any real competition. As a player that has certainly come on and matured in recent years, he is at the perfect stage in his career to take on a mentor at the club.
Although fans may argue that Fosu-Mensah is destined to take this role, there does come the point as to whether this is the Dutchman’s best position, as he has been playing as a central defender during his loan spell at Crystal Palace. Perhaps the acquisition of a more natural, but still young, right-back, would provide as more efficient business.
Potential options; Thomas, Meunier, Benjamin Henriches, Kelvin Amian.
The most depleted area in the current squad is arguably the amount of natural wingers that United hold, particularly on the right flank. Although the interchanging between Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan out on that side has worked effectively so far this season, there is certainly no plan B when it comes to putting a winger out on the right hand side.
As mentioned, United like to operate with two attacking full-backs and specifically under Mourinho, they prefer to play with wide players that have the intelligence to come inside and thus make room for the overlapping full-back. It seems that in the modern game there seems to be less ‘old fashioned’ wingers and more inside forwards, that like to operate out wide, similar to how United set out on the left flank with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. In the current squad, there is no natural right winger and thus the signing of a new one, would provide United an alternative option to their attacking line.
Potential options; Thomas Lemar, Gelson Martins, Domenico Berardi, Christian Pulisic.
With Marcus Rashford predominantly operating out on the left under Mourinho, another area of the team that is heavily depleted is the striking department. Although Romelu Lukaku is the name on everybody’s lips at present, if the big Belgian were to get injured, United lack alternatives to play up top.
Especially with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return date still unknown, there is evidently a very high reliance on Lukaku to lead the attacking line week in, week out. Although goals haven’t been an issue so far this season, another striking addition to the squad would certainly be welcomed with welcome arms and one that would benefit the team in the long run.
Potential options; Timo Werner, Kasper Dolberg, Mauro Icardi.
As oppose to the right-back spot, United have been relying on multiple players to fill in at left-back, over the last two years now. Arguably however, the only reason that United would need to recruit a new left-back, would be dependent on Luke Shaw’s fitness. The Englishman has experienced a rather torrid time, after his horror set back against PSV back in 2015.
If Shaw can get back on track then that left-back spot can be solidified for the next decade, but at present, there is certainly an outbalanced look to the side, without a natural left-footer there. Perhaps there would be no harm in exploring the options for this position, even if it doesn’t appear as a priority at the moment.
Potential options; Danny Rose, Kieran Tierney, Alex Sandro.