Manchester United are not what they once were, but there had perhaps been signs that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had them on the right track before the season had to be postponed due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
The Red Devils have often spent big in recent times without seeing much return for their investment, but some of their recent work in the transfer market has been a bit smarter.
Solskjaer has done well with signings like Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James, and the Norwegian does not look too far away now from building something special at Old Trafford.
Here’s a look at five potential signings being linked with the club who could be ideal to help United on the next stage of their journey back to a global force…
One of the finest central defenders in the world, Kalidou Koulibaly has shone at Napoli but could now leave the club for around £90million, according to a recent report from Corriere dello Sport.
That report adds that Man Utd are in a strong position to sign the Senegal international, who could be that missing link to give Solskjaer a defence to rival that of Liverpool, who ran away with the Premier League this season after also winning the Champions League last term.
Harry Maguire has proven an important signing for United, now they just need to give him a top class partner, and there are few better than Koulibaly right now.
Aston Villa’s golden boy, Jack Grealish has been a joy to watch in the Premier League this season and is surely destined for big things.
MUFC have been linked with the England Under-21 international by the Daily Star and others, and it seems clear he could bring that spark and flair in the final third that this club needs.
Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and other big signings made in recent times have failed to provide that, but Grealish is proven at Premier League level and makes sense as a priority in that important area of the pitch.
Having become overly reliant on Marcus Rashford since selling Romelu Lukaku and failing to replace him, it now seems crucial Man Utd bring in another big-name striker whenever the transfer window opens again.
Lyon star Moussa Dembele looks an ideal option, and has been linked with United by the Sun, though one imagines a number of other top clubs could also try to compete for his signature.
The presence of the likes of Rashford, Anthony Martial and emerging wonderkid Mason Greenwood perhaps means this isn’t as high a priority as other potential signings, but Dembele could undoubtedly be a useful addition at Old Trafford…
…If not, there’s always the option to sign loanee Odion Ighalo on a permanent basis.
The Nigerian has been a revelation since his loan move from Shanghai Shenhua, looking far better than many would have expected and like he’d be a worthwhile signing beyond this season.
The Daily Mail report that United are willing to pay £15million to make Ighalo’s deal a permanent one, and every top club needs quality squad players like this, who know their role, won’t complain, and in his case in particular, clearly has strong feelings for the club he’s representing.
Linked with United by the Daily Mirror and others, Jude Bellingham is one of the most exciting young players in world football at the moment.
If the Red Devils could get him, they’d be setting themselves up very well indeed for the next few years, with Bellingham surely not far away from being ready to play regularly for Solskjaer’s side.
As noted in that piece by the Mirror, it could also be that Borussia Dortmund are now less certain of being able to compete for the Birmingham City midfielder’s signature, which may put MUFC in a strong position.