Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping to have a successful transfer market this summer. There are a number of key positions that need to be strengthened, none more so than at the heart of his defence. Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire have a decent partnership, but the former can be guilty of switching off. If you want to win the league, then this needs to be better.
Betting sites with free bet codes such as 888Sport and Paddy Power currently price United at 9/1 to win the league, but if they were to sign a top defender, then this could drop. All eyes were on Real Madrid star Raphael Varane, but the Frenchman has dropped a serious hint that he would prefer a move to his own country with Paris Saint Germain.
Varane is one of the best in the world, and his stock is only rising with a strong French team at the Euros. This is undoubtedly a huge blow for the Red Devils, who were willing to pay whatever it takes.
In saying that, it’s not over yet, and the money could still talk. Of course, PSG can pay considerable wages to the player, so it will be tough for United to better a deal. Odds suggest that the Manchester side are still in with a shout, though, as they are priced at 4/1 with bet365, while PSG are 2/1.
Solskjaer will need a backup plan. There has been talk of Eric Bailly stepping up to replace Lindelof, but he has been ravaged by injuries and some poor decision-making. Therefore, not getting a new defender in this window is unthinkable. So, who are the alternatives?
Pau Torres has emerged as a possible alternative if the French world cup winner does return to his native France. At 24-years-old Torres may arguably be just as good an option and will likely come with a lower price tag too. He has been rock solid for Villareal this season and is set to be one of Spain’s stars this summer. United, of course, got to see him in action in the Europa League final, in which he impressed.
The Spaniard has, however, attracted a few admirers. The blue side of Manchester are also said to be interested. If they offload Aymeric Laporte, then Torres would be considered. If United want their man, they will have to act quickly.
A less glamorous option would be Englishmen Ben White. The Brighton defender was called up to the England squad to replace the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold. His selection raised a few eyebrows, but those who have watched him progress during the last few seasons were not surprised.
At only 23-years-old he has proved himself as a reliable defender who reads the game well. He impressed on his loan spells at Leeds in their promotion-winning campaign and is one of the first names on the team sheet for Graham Potter. White has suggested he would be open to the move, but with Brighton holding all the cards, it will be a big ask for United to prise away their star man.
Another English international linked with Manchester United this summer is Kieran Trippier. This seems like a bit of a strange one, but it could make sense. Luke Shaw’s performances improved considerably when Alex Telles joined the club, and Trippier could have the same effect on Aaron Wan-Bissaka. It’s a clear sign that Solskjaer will be demanding more from his defender’s next season.
Competition is hot for the best players. Manchester United will need to make their move soon to avoid missing out on their top targets.