Manchester United are unlikely to prioritise signings in defence in this summer’s transfer window, a source close to the club has revealed to CaughtOffside.
The Red Devils have had issues at the back this season, with club captain Harry Maguire often singled out for some poor form, though the team has looked more solid since Ralf Rangnick took over as interim manager.
CaughtOffside understands that whoever is brought in as Man Utd’s next permanent manager will be expected to work with the defenders already on the club’s books, with the priority set to be on strengthening in midfield and attack, where there have also been clear issues.
Up front, Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani are ageing, with the latter nearing the end of his contract, while Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard are also set to become free agents in the summer.
In defence, meanwhile, there is the feeling that significant investments have already been made in that department in recent years, with close to £180million spent on Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Alex Telles and Raphael Varane in the last three years. There are also plenty of options to rotate, with Diogo Dalot and Wan-Bissaka challenging for the right-back spot, Telles and Luke Shaw at left-back, and both Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly behind Maguire and Varane in the centre. Promising youngsters Brandon Williams and Ethan Laird will also be back from loan in the summer and could be more involved in the first-team squad next season.
“Whoever the next manager is needs to get the best out of this back four,” a source told CaughtOffside, adding that Maguire and Shaw in particular are better than the form they’ve shown in this somewhat fractured campaign which followed a tiring run to the Euro 2020 final with England last summer.
Not all United fans will be entirely pleased with this, as Maguire in particular has not looked worth the big money the club paid for him in 2019.
Having said that, there’s every chance that a better manager could improve these players, who have certainly performed at higher standards than this in the past.
There’s also no doubt that failing to sign a defensive midfielder last summer now looks a mistake, while younger options up front are surely needed as Ronaldo has had a slightly inconsistent campaign and cannot realistically play 90 minutes as often next season, when he will turn 38.