Manchester United’s summer transfer priority has become clear during their 15-game unbeaten run.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are in fine form at the moment, managing to reignite the momentum after the restart with impressive performances in victories over Sheffield United and Brighton.
United’s attacking prowess has been highlighted, with Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba providing for the exciting attacking trio of Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
Nemanja Matic must also be given credit for United now looking threatening in attack, with his prudent passing and screening of the back four allowing those further forward the freedom to thrive.
But what arguably been overlooked in United’s exceptional run is the the work of the defence. Marshalled by captain Harry Maguire, the Reds have conceded just four goals in their last 15 games. The only league goal conceded since the restart was Steven Bergwijn’s easily preventable effort for Spurs on the opening game.
As noted by United journalist Stewart Gardner, PSG are the only team to have registered more clean sheets in Europe’s top leagues than Solskjaer’s men.
Interesting that @ManUtd have kept 23 clean sheets in all comps this season – only PSG in Europe’s top leagues have kept more than that.
— Stewart Gardner (@stewartgardner) July 2, 2020
Solskjaer has found his best defence at United, with Luke Shaw, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka making up a solid back four.
Shaw has been an ever-present in the 15 games unbeaten and should be commended for his consistency. It’s bizarre that the Englishman still divides large sections of the fanbase, despite proving that he has become a vital part of United’s winning formula.
Wan-Bissaka, meanwhile, is a contender for this year’s United player of the season. The 22-year-old is seldom beaten by his opposite man and is slowly becoming more proficient in the final third.
Admittedly, Maguire could benefit from a more imposing central defensive partner than Victor Lindelof, but this does not need to be an immediate priority with the Swede also impressive of late.
United have solved their defensive issues and must now focus on building a world-class frontline.
Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have all shone this season but competition is healthy and United have a chance to take their attack up a level this summer.
Of course, it is that man Jadon Sancho who is the player that can further upgrade Solskjaer’s forward options.
The England international’s goal contribution record for Borussia Dortmund this season has been quite incredible. Sancho has 17 goals and 16 assists in 25 Bundesliga starts and can play anywhere across the preferred front three.
But his suitability on the right-wing where United have lacked balance makes him such an exciting proposition.
United are showing serious signs of improvement under Solskjaer but perspective is everything.
The Reds are 34 points behind Liverpool in the league table; the chasm between United and their fiercest rivals is obvious.
But the signing of a player of Sancho’s calibre can certainly provide a platform to bridge that gap with a view to mounting a serious title challenge in the next couple of seasons.