All Manchester United fans know how exciting the Premier League season can be and 2022/23 has proved no exception. Erik ten Hag’s team have enjoyed a decent campaign overall and have shown signs of real improvement in his first full season. This has left a much more positive feeling around the club heading into the summer break and a much tighter, happier squad has emerged.
Top-four finish on the cards for United
The team’s performances so far have left United supporters looking ahead to next season with renewed confidence. It also sees them relishing the prospect of UEFA Champions League football at Old Trafford in 2023/24.
For fans who like to bet on the team, this has led to wagers on a top-four finish being a market worth considering. As Ten Hag’s men sit three points in front of nearest rivals Liverpool, with a game in hand, just one point from their final two games will be enough to secure a top-four spot. While this is not guaranteed, it does make backing the side to finish in the top four rather appealing.
If United do clinch that top-four place, they will certainly be looking to reinforce the squad over summer. Manu Koné is one player the club is being linked with but who is he and what might any transfer for him look like?
Koné to United – what is the story?
Stories linking Manu Koné to Manchester United have been rife in the last few weeks and this has led many to believe a deal for him over summer is on the cards. But who is he and what kind of fee is being discussed?
French star Koné currently plies his trade for Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga and plays as a defensive midfielder. He is known for tough tackling, effective passing, good positional sense and the ability to read the game. Koné only joined Mönchengladbach from Toulouse in 2021 but has already become a key player for them. This has seen him play 30 times so far in 2022/23 and become one of the first names on Borussia’s teamsheet.
Although no deal is confirmed as yet, rumours around a summer bid for United for the player remain strong. Any transfer might not be easy, though, as Koné is attracting a lot of attention from most of the other top clubs in world football. This might see him prefer a move to another club, target playing in another league or even see United priced out of any deal.
While no transfer fee has been suggested as yet, you would have to think the bidding for such a top young talent would start around the £20 or £30m mark. Everton’s recent signing of top Belgian youngster Amadou Onana last summer cost them £33m and someone like Koné would be valued similarly.
Why are United looking at Koné?
Although Erik ten Hag’s comments on Harry Kane might open the door for this transfer to happen, it is the move for Koné that has made most headlines lately. But why might such a transfer be needed?
A brief look at the Manchester United squad shows that they have some very good midfield players on their books already. Players such as Bruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro are certainly no slouches! With this in mind, you may wonder why spending big money on a young midfielder from Germany is something the club are considering?
On the face of it, it would seem to come down to two main reasons. The first lies in the depth of the squad and the amount of cover and competition there is in the defensive midfield position. Casemiro has been brilliant there overall but there is not really anyone else of the same standard to fill in for him if he happens to be injured or suspended.
This question of quality is the second reason why United will be eyeing the best players in world football over the summer. While current midfielders such as Fred and Scott McTominay do a good enough job when called on, Koné would represent something of an upgrade.
This would not only mean the side would have a much better squad overall moving into the new season but also decent cover in a key position. With Champions League football hopefully on the horizon, this could all be very important with the number of games to be played in 2023/24.
Koné to United – watch this space!
When you take a closer look at Manu Koné, there is no doubting what a fabulous player he is and the overall positive impact he could have for Manchester United. He would not only raise the quality within the squad but also give manager Ten Hag more options in the key defensive midfield role.