Manchester United do not seem a happy club right now. The optimism that surrounded the club when Erik ten Hag was appointed as manager in April has already evaporated, after two defeats have left them bottom of the Premier League after the opening two games.
And it is not just the fact that they lost those matches, but the nature of the defeats that have left the club’s fans deeply unhappy, being out-played by Brighton at home and then overwhelmed by Brentford in 35 minutes the following week.
Fingers are understandably being pointed everywhere – at the club’s hated owners the Glazer family, at what appears to be a disjointed and non-functioning executive structure, at Ten Hag and his assistants, and at the players themselves.
It is clear that more recruits are needed to boost the squad, but the club’s transfer strategy has been difficult to discern from the outside. So far, they have brought-in a free agent, Christian Eriksen, a back-up left back, Tyrell Malacia, and a five foot 9 centre half, Lisandro Martinez, who many believe they overpaid Ajax for him.
But with the transfer window closing in less than two weeks’ time, who else could they sign apart from Casemiro who just joined the Old Trafford outfit.
Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro has now joined. The Brazilian, capped 63 times for his country, has made the move to Old Trafford for a fee of £60 million, with report that the player is set to double his wages to £350,000 a week. He is expected to join fellow Brazilian Fred in the centre of their midfield, and United will be hoping that the pair can replicate their partnership for their national team.
Frenkie de Jong – 5/2
From the outset, ten Hag made it clear that de Jong was his number one target, and for months United pursued the Dutch international midfielder to the detriment of anybody else. The problem is that de Jong does not want to leave his current club, Barcelona, and, if he does so, he wants to receive the £14 million in deferred wages that he is owed first.
He is currently tipped to stay in Spain, but United remains his most likely option if he does move.
A question mark must be raised over his motivation for doing so. With Manchester United not in the Champions League this season, and arguably long shots to be in the top four at the end of this season, a switch to United would primarily be for financial reasons.
Christian Pulisic – 9/2
The Chelsea winger wanted to play more regular football and is looking to leave Stamford Bridge this summer. However, Manchester United are only interested in a loan move for the US international captain at this stage, something Chelsea are only prepared to agree to if Pulisic signs a contract extension to protect his value first.
Jamie Vardy – 4/1
Among the positions they are looking to strengthen is striker, and one name that has been mentioned is Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy. He is now 35 years old so would very much be a short-term fix, but, given where United are right now, might do a job for this season at least.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 4/7
Although not a new signing, the future of Cristiano Ronaldo has attracted lots of attention, because he has made it clear that he is not happy and wants to leave the club. There have been reports that he and ten Gag do not get on, and he was criticised for his body language at Brentford (although he was by no means alone).
The problem is that he still has a year left on his contract, and there are few in world football willing or able to match that. In addition, he scored 18 Premier League goals in what was a poor team last season, and, without him, the side looks even weaker.
He is, therefore, odds-on to stay at the club. Use the bet calculator to bet on if Ronaldo will see remain in the Premier League for the 2022-23 season.
Andy is an exiled English football fan living in Cyprus. He loves all sports but football is his abiding passion, and he still has dreams every now and then about scoring the winning goal in a Wembley Cup Final, even though his playing days are long gone. He follows most major leagues, across Europe at least, and has a favoured team in each. When he’s not watching, listening, reading or downloading podcasts about football, he spend his time worrying about his beloved Arsenal.