Manchester United are finally off and running in the current transfer window with the arrival of £40million Dutch international Donny van de Beek looking astute business.
The 23-year-old can now take his place alongside Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in a mouthwatering United midfield three, at half the price Jack Grealish would cost.
Donny van de Beek is Manchester United’s first summer signing, a £40m buy from Ajax
The 23-year-old Dutch midfielder will bolster their midfield, but other areas need additions
He could form part of a tantalising trio alongside Paul Pogba (left) and Bruno Fernandes
However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be the first to recognise that the signing of Van de Beek is just the minimum requirement in United’s rebuild.
It is seven years since United were last champions and, despite recent improvements, they finished 33 points behind champions Liverpool last term and haven’t won a trophy in the last three seasons.
More recruitment is necessary to bridge the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City, particularly as Chelsea have also added Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell, with Germany’s £90million Kai Havertz next.
While United have plenty of talent at the club with Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Harry Maguire, Pogba and Bruno, they need more so that seven-year wait doesn’t stretch much longer.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows he can’t stop at Van de Beek if United are to challenge at the top
‘We are not the finished article – nowhere near,’ is Solskjaer’s candid assessment. ‘It is not just about 12 or 13 players. You need 20, 21, 22 that you really rely on. If you play every three days for a full year, it is going to be mentally and physically difficult.’
The most glaring vacancy is for a right-sided wide player who can provide penetration and goals in United’s preferred 4-3-3.
Jadon Sancho has been the obvious No 1 target but Borussia Dortmund’s price tag of £108m has proved too steep during a global pandemic even for a club of United’s power.
A fresh bid is being prepared but if that again proves unsuccessful then their big decision will be whether to wait for Sancho – as Liverpool did for Virgil van Dijk – or find an alternative for the upcoming campaign.
Jadon Sancho remains Manchester United’s primary target as they look to sign a right winger
However, the club do not wish to meet Borussia Dortmund’s £108m valuation for the winger
Last season teenager Mason Greenwood did an admirable job but his long-term future is as a centre-forward. Daniel James isn’t consistent enough to be a regular starter while Rashford is more settled on the left.
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