Manchester United may have collected three honors last season, but that hasn’t deterred the Red Devils from assembling their war chest ahead of their return to the Champions League.
Rather than resting on their laurels, United have thus far conducted shrewd business in the transfer market, bringing in two new additions to the squad.
Victor Lindelof joined Jose Mourinho’s side from Benfica in mid June while Romelu Lukaku completed his switch from Merseyside just in time for the pre-season tour.
While the signings are certainly marquee, Jose still needs to complete three more acquisitions in order to upgrade his charges into worthy title contenders domestically and in Europe.
Jose Mourinho was over the course of last season forced to deploy the likes of Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini in defensive midfield; the former for his fearless, workhorse mentality and the latter primarily for his height.
While they succeeded in the role, with more strengths and weaknesses to point out, the Manchester United gaffer should sign a natural defensive midfielder to offer that all-important cover for the back four.
Nemanja Matic has become a key target for the Portuguese this summer, but Chelsea are playing hardball over the midfielder, evidently as retribution for hijacking their Lukaku deal.
Fabinho is another realistic target for the slot, perhaps the most adequate for his age as much as it is for his willingness to push for the move, but the Brazilian is increasingly looking like an afterthought in Jose’s plans.
Either way, bringing in reinforcement in the position will be essential in road mapping their campaign.
It’s a foregone conclusion that United have been keeping close tabs on Ivan Perisic, but who wouldn’t with the numbers the 28-year old put up last season.
Although not a seasoned goal scorer, having only found the back of the net eleven times in Serie A, the Croatian registered 239 crosses last season; nearly double the combined total by Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the Premier League.
United could meet the £49m valuation by Inter Milan out of frustration, but the Red Devils will not be bullied into submission by including Martial as part of the deal.
Lukaku may be Mourinho’s new marksman for the coming season, but what happens when the 24-year old sustains a serious knock at a pivotal point of the season? Even Marcus Rashford would have a problem lacing his boots.
Having announced his desire to sign two more players before the close of the summer transfer window, a second striker is the least of Mourinho’s worries at the moment.
Which is why offering Zlatan Ibrahimovic a short term contract on his return from injury makes perfect sense.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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