Manchester United’s summer business is progressing but there is still plenty of work to do.
Sancho and Varane will transform United’s options but they won’t complete the puzzle. There is plenty more work to do, before the actual job of winning football matches begins.
Here is a look at five issues for United to solve heading into the upcoming season…
The goalkeeping position
Manchester United’s goalkeeping position is a real conundrum with both David de Gea and Dean Henderson keen to stay.
Splitting duties kind of worked last season but it is an unorthodox approach and it required a fine balancing act to keep both relatively happy, which may not be repeatable.
De Gea’s wages are nearly treble Henderson’s which makes him tricky to move on. Last season United were a more successful team with the younger goalkeeper in goal.
The signing of Tom Heaton suggested one of the two will be moved on. But at present United’s plan of action is totally unclear.
Paul Pogba’s future
Paul Pogba has just one year remaining on his contract and losing him on a free transfer a second time would be an unwanted outcome.
United could then look to cash in this summer, but with the team weakened as a result, there would need to be a plan in place to spend the money.
Extending Pogba’s contract will involve putting him on a salary above De Gea’s.
This has dragged on far too long and while it would be ideal to sort this out before the season one way or another, it is very possible the transfer window ends with Pogba’s situation still the same.
Sign a defensive midfielder?
United are reported to be eyeing a shift to a 4-3-3 formation as opposed to a 4-2-3-1, ESPN report.
To make this work, United need a really top level defensive midfielder.
Eduardo Camavinga has been mentioned as a future prospect but in terms of style he is more akin to Fred, than the type of defensive midfielder United require.
He could be moulded of course, but if United want to compete right now, then there needs to be a more immediate solution.
Selling Pogba could end up freeing up funds for a defensive midfield acquisition.
What next for Donny?
United paid £39 million to sign Donny van de Beek last summer and so far it has not been a great investment.
If he was signed as a kind of replacement for Paul Pogba then we might see a lot more of him this season, should the Frenchman leave.
United over-played Bruno Fernandes at times last season and Van de Beek should get more opportunities this campaign. But that won’t happen if Jesse Lingard stays as Solskjaer suggested.
Van de Beek could be a good fit for the 4-3-3 formation shift but he will have to prove himself and be patient because he is unlikely to be first choice right away.
Can unwanted players be offloaded?
United are set to spend upwards of £120 million on Sancho and Varane.
Eventually that will need to be offset with player sales. But so far United have not raised a penny.
Lingard could fetch a decent fee, as of course could Pogba and De Gea if they are sold, but it’s possible both will stay.
Diogo Dalot and Andreas Pereira will likely leave, but loan deals are no use. United will want to bring in money for the pair.
Nemanja Matic and Eric Bailly are contenders to depart if United are happy with defensive and midfield options late in the transfer window.
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