Manchester United’s transfer priorities are not set in stone.
In the first month of this year, it seemed as though United’s priority was save money to sign a centre-back in the summer. This became especially true after the collapse against Everton which saw us give away leads twice and finish the game 3-3.
The Mirror reported United had made Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde the club’s top target.
Links followed to the likes of Raphael Varane, Nikola Milenkovic, and even Sergio Ramos. The indication was clear – United wanted to sign a centre-back.
Since then, the performance of the team may have led to the club’s plans evolving somewhat.
United have gone through a streak of games conceding no goals from open play in seven matches, and a total of just one total goal against, in these games.
The defence has improved, and Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof deserve enormous credit.
This run of performances, including clean sheets against Chelsea, Manchester City and AC Milan, could lead to a change in priorities.
A bigger concern may be improving United’s lacklustre attack. Anthony Martial has scored in just one of his last 17 appearances.
The MEN has reported United have discussed the option of trying to sign Erling Haaland.
Edinson Cavani’s uncertain future an injury problems have served to exacerbate the uncertainty in United’s frontline.
Other names are now being mentioned too, with Patson Daka among them, via Salzburger Nachtrichten.
While options are varied in terms of quality and price, striker feels like a position United cannot really ignore.
Creatively, there is a problem. United don’t have enough strength on the right wing, and this has been an issue for two or three years now.
But what has really been frustrating fans lately has been the midfield pivot of Scott McTominay and Fred.
It feels like two players to do one players’ job, with the club lacking a real top quality defensive midfielder, and lacking efficiency in terms of passing forward and accurately quickly.
United’s midfield is at a potentially transitional moment with Paul Pogba’s future uncertain as he heads into a summer with just one year remaining on his current deal.
Just as you thought United’s defence was improving, the team dropped a clanger at the weekend and conceded three goals in a defeat to Leicester.
It was just one bad defensive performance in the last eight games, but it still served as a reminder that there are vulnerabilities.
There are question marks over Eric Bailly’s future, and Axel Tuanzebe’s quality, and United will have to do something in the position this summer.
That may not mean a £70 million fee is spent on Jules Kounde, but it could see United pursue say a player like Ben White, who could come in, without disrupting Maguire and Lindelof’s recent improvement, while adding depth and potential for the future.
How the season ends is important
United’s priorities are constantly evolving and there is not an unlimited pot of money available to spend this summer. There will have to be player sales too.
There are cases to improve the defence, midfield, and striker positions. Hopefully all will be addressed somewhat.
But the biggest chunk of money will be spent on the player in the position United consider to be most urgent.
There is still a lot football left to be played this season, up to 14 matches in total if United reach the Europa League final.
That’s a lot of games for the attack to flourish, or for the defence to implode, or for Paul Pogba to decide he wants to stay or go.
What happens between now and the end of the season will influence how United’s money is split this summer. Nothing yet is set in stone, and that’s probably wise, so long as United have a clear plan in place by time we get to the end of the season.
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