Yesterday marked what could be seen as the start of a potentially tiring transfer saga involving Paul Pogba, who openly admitted for the first time that this summer “could be a good time to move elsewhere”, as per BBC Sport.
Whilst it was common knowledge that Pogba is looking for a move away, the timing of the comments came as a surprise to many, weekends being a time when we hear very little gossip on current affairs involving he club.
The general consensus coming out of Manchester United is that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was targeting up to five potential new signings, with the core of identifying players being young and hungry individuals looking to develop their game to the next level. Notably, positions targeted for recruitment were centre-back, right-back, two central midfielders and a right sided forward. However, with the potential now arising that Pogba could be leaving, it could take as many as six new players to come in, with three midfielders filling the void of his loss.
The words coming out of Old Trafford remain clear; Paul Pogba will stay at United unless an astronomical offer comes in for him. It is important to note though that the club may maintain this stance to drive a hard bargain from interested clubs.
Whilst Pogba could be sold, it is empirical that the club invest most of the transfer money received for him into their own transfer budget. With this in mind, here are the six players I feel that are realistic enough for our club to pursue, yet is inclined with the clubs’ transfer budget should Pogba leave and significantly improving the team.
1. Kalidou Koulibaly (CB) – £100 Million
With De Lift seemingly off the scale, Koulibaly is a player United would really like to have in their team. Many might remember that respectable BBC Journalist, David Ornstein, claimed over a month ago that Manchester United want Koulibaly; “I’m told they love him” were his words, as per 90Min. The only stumbling block was his price. Rumours are that Napoli want in excess of £100 million for him. However, I believe Napoli would accept £100 million for their player, making him become the most expensive defender in transfer history. If reports are true that United are willing to pay £80 million to sign Leicester centre-back Harry Maguire, an extra £20 million would get you a proven, world-class leader who would be determined to strive for success. It remains to be seen though how driven the United board will be during the window.
2. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) – £50 Million
The most likely transfer, Aaron Wan-Bissaka represents what type of player United should be targeting in this window; young, hungry and energetic. The 21-year-old made a tackle success rate of 3.7 per game and would represent to be a major coup which will massively improve the defence. The club feel a deal can be done and the player is reportedly willing to make the move. It is now up to United to pay the fee, which is deemed a fair price considering his age and potential.
3. Adrien Rabiot (CDM) – Free
With his contract expiring from Paris Saint-Germain, Adrien Rabiot would depict to be a smart and efficient move by the club, covering a deep lying problem on the pitch with hardly any money being spent for the move. A deep holding midfield player, Rabiot has all the attributes needed to cover the position on the pitch, playing a key role in offering support at the back, whilst being the player that transitions defending to attacking. Although rumours of attitude problems exist, he has the opportunity to make a name for himself at Manchester United. However, with Juventus also keen on the player, it remains to be seen whether this deal will happen. Thomas Partey would be another option, but more expensive.
4. Youri Tielemans (CM) – £40 Million
On loan at Leicester City during the second half of the season, Tielemans is exactly the sort of player United should be pursuing. Pace, goals, creativity; exactly what our midfield is missing at the moment. At £40 million, this portrays to be a stellar signing for United and a move he would be interested in. The word is that United are in talks with his agent but, with Leicester also in the hunt for his permanent signature, Ed Woodward would need to move quickly to get his man in what could prove to be an influential appointment.
5. Bruno Fernandes (CM) – £60 Million
A player of high calibre, Bruno Fernandes contributed 32 goals and 18 assists in 53 appearances, making him the highest goal-scoring midfield player since Frank Lampard for Chelsea. His confidence to have a shot on goal, as well as being a dynamic and creative player, make him the perfect acquisition for Solskjaer, which will notably take the pressure of the front three. All the reports linking him to United are mainly being sounded out from Portugal, but the interest sounds genuine, and a deal can be done with his desire to play in England.
6. Jadon Sancho (RW) – £100 Million
Undoubtedly the hardest signing to make, Jason Sancho is everything Manchester United want in this summer transfer market. A superstar in the making, this young 19 year old British sensation has taken the Bundesliga by storm, contributing 12 goals and 14 assists in his debut season. The reports suggest that Dortmund would be unwilling to sell him during this window and Sancho is reluctant to move due to a lack of Champions League football. However, the potential exists for his value to rise and if United wait another year, he may prove to be too difficult to get if other clubs join the race for his signature. If the club want him, they should do everything in their power to attempt to sign him now; one season without Champions League football for a 19 year old isn’t the end of the world. At the moment, it seems 50/50. Nevertheless, he would prove to be the marquee signing Ed Woodward relishes, so the possibility remains to see if this deal can be done.