Manchester United’s season is now threatening to finish under needless pressure following their rocky 2-2 draw at Tottenham on Thursday night – a match which once again outlined the need for further reinvestment this summer. Head coach Erik ten Hag has had to deal with a number of notable, disruptive injuries in recent weeks and it’s clear the Red Devils are struggling to function without two of their integral stars in Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane.
United are sorely missing a prolific No.9 in attack, one that is capable of winning matches on his own but that should not be the only priority this summer.
The Red Devils also need a new goalkeeper despite talks over extending David de Gea’s stay at Old Trafford following another inconsistent season from the Spaniard.
De Gea has been key to several victories across the campaign but he has also played his part in several concerning team displays – not least the 3-0 Europa League defeat to Sevilla in Spain when De Gea virtually gifted the La Liga two goals with his sloppy decision-making.
He no longer instills confidence into United’s backline and that was evident on Thursday as Tottenham started to turn the screw and fight their way back into the match with a second-half fightback, something that was eventually achieved following goals from Pedro Porro and Heung-min Son.
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Although De Gea could not really be questioned for any of the goals, he is no longer the calming presence he once was between the posts.
United could probably get by if they were to proceed with De Gea in goal but if they want to seriously compete with Premier League title rivals, it’s an area where they can undoubtedly upgrade.
Next up is central defensive cover. Again, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire are occasionally capable of delivering the goods but the latter no longer seems up to scratch which is somewhat startling given he wears the armband and cost £80million just under four years ago.
The fact first-choice left-back Luke Shaw has been favoured to the United skipper at various points in the season is telling of that. Ten Hag does not have total faith in the defender.
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There is no doubt Martinez and Varane will remain first choice moving forward but United need effective cover. Lindelof is more than capable of fulfilling that role but another signing is needed, as last night showed.
Finally, a big problem for United has been the drop off in quality in midfield outside of Casemiro and Christian Eriksen, respectively.
United have lost control of so many matches this term when the Dane has left the field and nobody seems capable of mirroring Casemiro in the middle of the park.
If either of those get injured or suspended moving forward, it could become a big problem as there is a clear drop-off in quality despite Bruno Fernandes’ ability to flourish in a deeper role.
Those are the three key areas of Ten Hag’s squad – in addition to centre-forward – where United need to improve this summer. Replacing any departures is also necessary to ensure the squad depth remains competitive.
The issue United have is that signing a world-class striker is going to take up a significant chunk of their budget meaning player sales could be crucial to their progress in the market.
Investment could also hinge on a potential takeover and whether United are operating under new owners during the summer transfer windows.
One of the key selling points of the Qatari’s bid is that they intend to provide Ten Hag with significant transfer funds – something that has been sporadic under the Glazers.
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