With stellar league form to close out 2020 and begin 2021, Manchester United find themselves in a pole position to win the Premier League entering the second half of the season. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær has seemed to find his feet at Old Trafford, and United fans will be keen to put everything the club has into securing a league title to end their drought since 2013.
While the Glazers, United’s owners, have been criticised by diehards as stingy, they have spent some money on new signings, with nearly $1 billion spent since Sir Alex Ferguson left the touchline. That still doesn’t compare to our rivals Man City, nor does it add up to a fair amount when you consider the club’s revenue over that period.
Last summer was more reserved, so there could be world-class additions coming soon as the club looks to return to former glory with the first-team improving under Solskjaer.
Below, we have listed the top 5 transfer targets Manchester United are either rumoured to be looking at or should be brought in to bolster their title chances.
1. Kalidou Koulibaly
It’s no secret that central defence is the biggest area that needs strengthening at Old Trafford. The number one choice is currently Harry Maguire, who’s failed to shine as brightly as expected. His partner in central defence has been Victor Lindelöf, a serviceable centre-half but perhaps not league-winning quality.
Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly might seem like a stretch to move in January, but the Italian club has at least slapped a price tag on him, albeit one of £100m. The commanding Senegalese defender would fit the bill perfectly for United, but United are not his only suitors, with rivals Manchester City and Liverpool also sniffing around.
2. Jadon Sancho
This might be a transfer for the summer, but Sancho’s quality should put him high on United’s priority list. With other attacking midfield options like Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard on the outs, Sancho would add dynamism on the wing and a much-sought English name to the club.
Borussia Dortmund, Sancho’s current club, has indicated that a big transfer like Sancho will only happen in the summer. While a potential Sancho move is off the cards for this season, as United looks to rebuild their legacy and dynasty, nabbing top players like Sancho would go down a treat with the United faithful.
3. Boubakary Soumare
A young French midfielder who has drawn comparisons to United man Paul Pogba, Boubakary Soumare is on the radar of a multitude of top European clubs after his solid performances for Lille OSC. Despite the Pogba comparison, Soumare plays a different game, playing the ball from deep as opposed to Pogba’s galloping runs.
With the emergence of Scott McTominay as a reliable midfield option, United fans may think that they should focus their attention on other areas of the pitch. But with Pogba never seeming to be fully content at Old Trafford, a young option that adds a different type of play to the midfield would not go unwanted.
4. Dayot Upamecano
If Koulibaly is out of reach at the current moment, the next best option on the market is French defender Dayot Upamecano from Red Bull Leipzig. He won’t be much cheaper than Koulibaly, but £37m will activate in the summer, allowing for a cut-rate for a top player.
Similar to Koulibaly, Upamecano is a strong, quick, and skilful central defender who would shore up United’s backline. As with many of Europe’s top young players, other clubs are waiting in the wings, with the likes of Bayern Munich looking to snag the young but experienced player.
5. Philipp Max
United brought in Brazilian left-back Alex Telles over the summer, but he’s failed to take over the starting role from often-maligned Luke Shaw. United have been linked with multiple young left-backs, but if the club is looking to move on from either Shaw or Telles, PSV’s Phillip Max is a great option.
Max has been a pivotal player for PSV in the Eredivisie and has been rumoured to be the next German star defender to earn a move to a big club. He’s scored five and assisted five so far in the league campaign, showing his strength in joining the attack as well as being a capable defender.