Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a number of key positions to strengthen in as he enters a key stage in his planned Manchester United rebuild.
The coronavirus pandemic is set to have a huge effect on the landscape of the summer transfer market, but there is a chance that United can capitalise on their enviable position by still acquiring their top targets.
It is widely recognised that a specialist midfielder, right-winger and striker should be prioritised as the Reds aim to close the gap on bitter rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.
But according to transfer experts Ian McGarry and Duncan Castles, it appears United are keen on signing a new left-back in the shape of Monaco’s versatile youngster Fode Ballo-Toure.
Ballo-Toure, 23, has made 21 Ligue 1 appearances for Monaco this term, and can play as a full-back as well as in defensive midfield.
However, McGarry has noted that there are already some concerns about the youngster’s overall game, and has cited his lack of defensive awareness as a potential problem if United were to complete the wildcard signing.
“It seems to me that United might be just getting their house in order in terms of forward-planning, looking properly in the right positions that they need to strengthen,” he told the Transfer Window podcast, as quoted by the Daily Express.
“I think we both know from our sources that they also want a centre-back partner for Harry Maguire, as well as an attacking player and possibly a striker as well.
“But in going to Ballo-Toure, it seems to me that that’s a very clever, quite forward-thinking move.
“Having seen the player play in Ligue 1 this season his defending could certainly be improved but he’s 23, he can still be coached.
“Also I’m told he’s an excellent character, so there’s belief that he would transfer well from the French game to the English game and not have as long an adaptation process as some players do when they switch countries.”
“There’s a bit of a question about his football intelligence, it’s a common theme I think with left-backs, attacking left-backs in football these days, because there’s such an emphasis on players who can add to the attack, the defensive qualities can sometimes be questionable.
“That’s the doubt people have about Ballo-Toure, where they want to see him develop.
“He himself is on record as saying his concentration is a weak point.”
Ballo-Toure is an exciting prospect, but Solskjaer already has plenty of academy talents knocking on the door of the first-team and needs to instead focus his attention on more accomplished stars.
The left-back position in particular is not an area of concern given the emergence of academy star Brandon Williams coupled with the resurgence in form of Luke Shaw.
The competition between Shaw, 24, and Williams, 19, to fill the left-back spot in Solskjaer’s side is healthy and signing an extra player in the position appears needless at this time.