Manchester United’s limitations were laid bare at the weekend in a poor opening day defeat to Crystal Palace.
While ‘it’s never as bad as it seems’, United look well short of the required standard needed to mount a title challenge.
The transfer window is still open for another fortnight, there is at least a chance for United to address this.
Sadly though, the window has been open for eight weeks and just one player has come in.
So expecting a late splurge of signings is probably too much to ask.
Nonetheless we have a wish list of four players who would change United for the better. Here it is.
Let’s start with the obvious one and get it out of the way. Jadon Sancho has been United’s top transfer target all summer.
The Dortmund winger offers attacking invention which is currently lacking at United, and he would ease pressure on the front three.
Sancho would cost a club record fee and while this deal would represent a success and a big step forward, it may leave little or no room at all for any others.
Alex Telles currently appears to be the United move which is the most advanced.
The Telegraph report United are in talks to sign the Porto left-back, who would provide the team with an extra attacking edge from the position.
Available at just £20 million due to his expiring contract, Telles seems like a must-buy, who would allow more deals to be done too.
A move which is difficult to do is one for Dayot Upamecano. But this is a really important deal to try and do.
Upamecano is one of the best centre-backs in Europe and is only 21. United need to upgrade on Victor Lindelof and make RB Leipzig an offer which they can’t refuse.
A deal which would require some invention would also be to sign Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey, who does not currently appear to be on the club’s radar.
Without Nemanja Matic in the team on Saturday, United’s need for a defensive midfielder was highlighted. Scott McTominay does not effectively fulfil this role, and neither does Fred.
Partey would be an ideal solution and has a £43.5 million release clause in his Atletico contract [MEN].
Lucky to get one
These four players represent the scale of what is needed at Manchester United in terms of squad improvements.
There is no urgency from the board and there has not been all summer.
It feels as though United would be lucky to get one of these players, let alone two, or more.
This is the type of shortlist United needed to have at the start of the summer, and check them off one by one.
And beyond this, there is probably a need for a second winger, and a new striker too.
The fewer deals United do this summer, the more will be required next year.
Over the last four windows including this one, United have signed just five players on permanent deals.
Expecting an overhaul is of course asking too much. But there clearly need to be more incomings before the transfer deadline, or it will be a long season ahead.
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