Updated: Wednesday, 3rd June 2020 @ 3:06pm

Tuesday Team Talk: Big summer ahead as Manchester United need to learn from transfer travails

Tuesday Team Talk: Big summer ahead as Manchester United need to learn from transfer travails

| By Neil Athey

After securing a Champions League play off berth, Manchester United need to heavily invest in numerous players to make sure they can not only qualify but retain their credibility and stature in Europe as one of the heavyweights.

Spending over £146million this season on players didn’t really work out; £59.7m on Angel Di Maria and Monaco loan Radamel Falcao only got them eight goals and shows that just throwing money at names means nothing if they don’t produce.

So what does Louis van Gaal have to do to make sure he can succeed on the European stage and challenge for the title?

Goalkeepers

In the event that David De Gea does go, United will need to replace him, relying on Victor Valdes won’t be enough. – Let’s look at the options.

Iker Casillas

The solid no-nonsense captain who lead one of world’s most entertaining international sides in recent years. Winning back-to-back European Championships along with a World Cup, countless league trophies, champion’s league medals and many more with Real Madrid.


REPLACEMENT: Iker Casillas could be a target to replace David De Gea (Pic: Creative Commons)

With De Gea going to Madrid, Casillas will not want to be second favourite with many years left in him, I wonder if United could sneak the King away whilst Madrid are occupied with their prince?

FACT: Has played over 896 games for club and country – no other goalie has that level of experience playing today.

Hugo Lloris

The 28-year-old is on borrowed time at Tottenham Hotspur. The fact that one of the best goalkeepers in the world has only won two club honours and none of them have come in England won’t last forever.

Establishing himself as Tottenham’s first choice in goal for three seasons and guiding them to European football next year is surely going to lead to interest from Europe's elite.

Tottenham surely won’t let him go for anything under £30m. Can United tempt him away without heavily spending?

FACT: Lloris has an average claim success rate of 91% with eight clean sheets this season.

Bernd Leno

A more permanent figure for Old Trafford to grow accustomed to. The youngest goalkeeper to play in the Champions League helped Bayer Leverkusen finished fourth this season.

Excelling in penalty saves and has strong reflexes, United could be the big club that tease him away with summer.

At 23 years old, this young German looks promising. At the right price, could be worth keeping him for the long term.

FACT: Has 16 clean sheets this season with an average of 1.09 goals conceded a game.

Defenders

Dani Alves

For me, this is a no brainer.

With the 32-year-old's contract expiring next month, bringing the experienced Brazilian international on a free would be a sound move.


NO BRAINER: Dani Alves' contract is up at Barca (Pic: Creative Commons) 

Fast, strong, willing to throw himself into challenges, Alves would add a reassurance and put pressure on Luke Shaw and others to step up their games.

Not the youngest, but wouldn’t cost a lot – bring him in.

FACT: Alves has won 64 tackles this season whilst making 54 interceptions and 51 clearances – hasn’t run along the floor in a Gollum-esque fashion like Phil Jones however!

Mats Hummels

The 26-year-old Dortmund rock has been linked with Manchester United for many years.

With the German side finishing a disappointing seventh after a disastrous start, and Jurgen Klopp leaving, United could be Hummels' way out and moving to the Northern English club now could be the perfect time.

Would have to pay a lot for him, World Cup winners don’t come cheap.

FACT: Has the highest duels won ratio at Borussia Dortmund at 61%.

Nathaniel Clyne

Southampton looked down and out after so many players left last summer, with Lovren, Lambert, Lallana and Shaw all moving north.

But Clyne, along with a few new signings, proved to be one of the shocks of the season as Southampton spent large amounts of the season in the top four and without injuries could have probably stayed there.

Clyne has been part of one of the best defences in the Premier League this season, playing 30 league games and scoring two wonderful goals early on.


DEFENDER IN FORM: Nathaniel Clyne (Pic: Creative Commons)

The boy is beginning to receive England caps too and has been called up for the next set of European qualifiers next season.

If he’s going to leave Southampton it’s only going to be a club who’s going forward. Manchester United will need to convince him they are.

FACT: Clyne has made 100 clearances along with 63 interceptions, definitely a defender in form.

Midfielders

Arturo Vidal

Carrick will eventually lose his legs and will not be able to play every league game in the next few seasons, so what better person to replace him with but with an exact replica.

The box-to-box midfielder is well known for his technique, positioning, marking, tackling and effective passing and shots on goal.

He has plenty to offer at 28-years-old, having much more pace than Carrick and Vidal would bring European experience that others couldn’t.

Winning Serie A four times in a row, and possibly adding a Champions League under his belt, the man is hot property and would make a fine addition to the Red Devils' midfield.

FACT: Vidal has a passing accuracy of 85% with the average pass length 16 metres.

Paul Pogba

Falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson was probably one of the best things that happened to Pogba.

Flourishing at Juventus, the central midfielder can play in both attack and defence, but most of all can keep hold of possession like no one else this season.

Named as one of the top 10 upcoming players last year by The Guardian. Pogba has won Serie A three times, the U-20 World Cup two years ago and was named in the team of the year last year.

He’s not going to up sticks and move to a club that won’t offer him more than Juventus can, while he's also been linked with rivals Manchester City.

But, Sir Alex no longer has the reins, maybe Van Gaal can pull off the unthinkable and bring him back to Old Trafford.

Fact: Paul Pogba has the highest Duels won average of any midfielder at Juventus with 55%.

James Ward-Prowse

Not the big money move, but bringing in young English talent is always something a big club should consider.

Paying over the odds for Luke Shaw who hasn’t lived up to the hype he was given at Southampton is a lesson Van Gaal could rectify here.

Ward-Prowse was hinted by Roy Hodgson in April this year as a ‘big prospect’ with academy grown raising up the ranks to become a regular starter for Southampton since 2013.

Young, attacking minded, quick on his feet and agile, has an eye for free kicks and can take penalties – bringing Ward-Prowse in alongside others would be very beneficial to United as well as the player.

But taking him at the right price is key.

FACT: Only Schneiderlin has a higher pass accuracy than Ward-Prowse, who can proudly boast 87% accuracy.

Strikers

Carlos Bacca

Heavily linked with Manchester United already, and it’s easy to see why.

Having just won the Europa League for the second time in a row, Bacca is in tip-top form and a prolific goal scorer scoring at least 20 goals in his last four seasons.

Strong, intelligent and not shy on the big stage, Bacca would bring lots of good qualities that Falcao has failed on this season.

Can’t see him not wanting to move to a club who will bring him more than European football and United would also be a different challenge he’s not faced before.

FACT: In the past seven seasons, Bacca has only failed to score over 20 goals a season in all comps once.

Karim Benzema

One of the most unfortunate strikers in the world, having to let Ronaldo and Bale be the stars of Madrid. Benzema has an incredible eye for goal and is very strong in the opponent’s penalty box.

His goal-scoring record has that hint of ‘I wonder if he’d have scored more if Ronaldo wasn’t in the side’ however.

Ronaldo dominates the stage at Real, if Benzema wanted to break into that 25-30 goals in a league he will need to move away.

With Falcao going back to Monaco after an embarrassing season, partnering Rooney in attack could well lead to a new partnership many would not have thought of.

FACT: Karim Benzema scores 0.47 goals a game for Real Madrid

Harry Kane

Harry ‘Hurri-Kane’ Kane is the top English goal scorer this season and has deserved every goal.

Partnering England captain Rooney on his England debut lead to him scoring with his second touch, you can imagine the damage these two could do to teams in the top flight.

But, one season doesn’t cut the mustard, Kane must do the same or more next season to establish himself as an English goal-scoring great.

He’s also just signed a five-and-a-half-year contract at Spurs which will keep him until 2020, but if he gets better – who knows if Manchester will unveil him in a couple of years.

FACT: Harry Kane created 27 chances, whilst scoring 21 goals.