With the January window closed, Manchester United will prioritize signing a central midfielder when they get down to business during the summer transfer window, but who could they recruit?
Having finished as Premier League runners-up to Manchester City last season, the key figures in the Old Trafford boardroom missed out on a top player.
Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo were signed as part of a triple declaration of intent.
However, amid concrete interest in Declan Rice and alternative options, United have failed to strengthen in that area and will, in turn, revisit their search at the end of this campaign.
Despite concerns that West Ham could snap at the heels over a Rice assessment, the England international is still understood to be the number one target in that regard.
Amadou Haidara, Boubacar Kamara, Kalvin Phillips and Ruben Neves represent alternative targets.
Here’s the state of the game with those players and others linked with the Premier League giants;
Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig): His name began to come up due to his existing relationship with recently appointed caretaker manager Ralf Rangnick, which stemmed from the German’s association with the Red Bull group. However, that rumored mid-season approach failed to materialise, as the Mali international ponders his options ahead of the summer transfer window.
Boubacar Kamara (Marseille): An alternative target to Rice, the Marseille graduate represents excellent value for money as he enters the final months of his contract with the Ligue 1 side. Kamara would have been available for a reduced price this January but, once again, it turned out to be radio silence in that regard on the part of United and the player himself. One would expect him to be a sought after man.
Ruben Neves (Wolves): It was Neves who took center stage for Wolves during the impressive win against United earlier this month. Thereafter, speculation about the Portuguese and a move to Old Trafford surfaced and, amid increased interest from Arsenal and other clubs, the Midlands outfit are reported to have put a price tag on him at £40m. sterling on his head.
Kalvin Phillips (Leeds): Before the January window opened, there were suggestions that United could target a controversial move for Phillips if they miss out on Rice, his midfield partner for England, next summer. However, Leeds has “no intention” of selling its most prized asset, while the fierce rivalry that exists on the M62 would represent a potential hurdle in any case.
Who should United sign next summer? Your opinion in the comments section.
Declan Rice (West Ham): A main target for United. West Ham are to be expected to play hard for a player who is still openly sought after by giants Old Trafford and Chelsea. Rice expressed his love of playing at Old Trafford after the Hammers fell there earlier this month. However, noise from East London suggests it could cost a fee of over £100m to get it.
James Ward-Prowse (Southampton): Having progressed through Southampton’s famed academy, the central midfielder, known for his set-piece prowess, has made 289 Premier League appearances and was unlucky enough to miss out on Euro 2020 last summer. A one-club man until this point, the Saints captain has been tentatively linked with United, Chelsea and other heavy hitters.
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