Manchester United’s summer window is going to be one of excitement, hopefully with big signings from across Europe’s top five leagues. Reports imply that replacements are being lined up throughout the team, and one would think that, given the successful signing of Eric Bailly, United would be lining up to sign more La Liga targets this summer.
United has been linked with many names, ranging in quality and marketability, but a few stand out as truly good targets for the summer transfer window. From throughout La Liga, here are the top five players Manchester United should doubtlessly be targeting this summer.
5: Jose Maria Gimenez, Centre-Back, Atletico Madrid
Lauded as one of the best defenders in Europe for the best defensive side in Europe, Gimenez could solve Manchester United’s defence if United managed to prize him away from Atletico Madrid. Gimenez has all the tools to be a successful defender, with skill on the ball, impressive 6’2 height, and the ability to play in the biggest of matches.
Gimenez has only started 12 matches in La Liga and the Champions League this season due to injury problems, which could be a red flag for a United side with many injury-prone defenders. The defender will also come at a very high price, and seems unlikely to join, despite various links between him and United in the media. However, if he did join, he would doubtlessly be a massive player for Manchester United in the years to come.
Estimated Value: £40 million
4: Isco, Attacking Midfielder, Real Madrid
If Manchester United had the opportunity to sign Isco, who can’t crack Real Madrid’s gifted starting lineup, the opportunity best be taken for a player who belongs in a starting role at one of the best clubs in the world. In just 15 starts this season in La Liga, Isco has a remarkable 9 goals and 5 assists, despite starting mainly in Real Madrid’s central midfield three.
He’s dynamic, tricky, and as good a passer as anyone- many believe the Spaniard is the natural successor to Spanish legend Andres Iniesta, and he would join a growing mass of Spanish talent in both halves of Manchester. He would break the bank massively, but at the same time, he would solve many problems that could arise from a lack of quality in United’s ranks, especially if the side is fully tested in the Champions League. Particularly if David de Gea is heading to Real Madrid, this could be a goer.
Estimated Value: £40 million
3: Aymeric Laporte, Centre-Back, Athletic Club
Notoriously tough negotiators, Athletic Club can be one of the most reluctant clubs to sell players due to their Basque policy. United triggered Ander Herrera’s release clause in 2014, and he was absolutely worth it- odds are, the same would end up being said of Aymeric Laporte, the perfect partner for Eric Bailly for a multitude of reasons.
Firstly, his strengths perfectly compliment Bailly’s- standing at 6’4, the ball-playing centre-back is not only a fantastic orchestrator of attacking moves at the back but also one with a superb and natural left foot. While this potentially rules him out as a partner for Marcos Rojo, the 22-year-old defender could be at the heart of United’s defence for at least ten years, and there will be other defenders at the club alongside whom he could play (Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, or even Axel Tuanzebe).
Laporte possesses the potential to be dominant in the air, on the ground, with the ball at his feet and with players running at him. Although his release clause is staggering, odds are United could get him on the books for less.
Estimated Value: £40 million
2: James Rodriguez, Attacking Midfielder, Real Madrid
While United doesn’t need another attacking midfielder urgently, the potential to add James Rodriguez for a cut-price fee could be the deal of the season if he becomes available. Rodriguez is a young, gifted footballer whose stock has fallen since he has failed to break Real Madrid’s Starting XI, starting only nine games in La Liga this season.
However, in those nine games, he has three goals and six assists, which is a special tally that represents a special player. No one will need to be reminded about Rodriguez’s heroics at the World Cup in 2014, and if United could get him to produce that kind of quality and provide rotation and competition for Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata, for less than £45 million, he would be worth it.
Estimated Value: £45 million
1: Antoine Griezmann, Attacking Midfielder, Atletico Madrid
It was obvious, wasn’t it? Griezmann is a superbly gifted footballer who has been linked with United in every way possible. His idol is David Beckham, as he adores the number 7 shirt with long sleeves, his best friend is Paul Pogba, who he frequently asks about Jose Mourinho, and his brother is a massive Manchester United fan. Ultimately, if he wants the number 7 shirt at Manchester United, it’s free for the taking.
Griezmann is a versatile goal scorer that embodies Jose Mourinho’s style on the pitch. He has overcome diminutive size to become one of the best footballers in the world, despite youth experts in France telling him he couldn’t. Playing behind a striker for Atletico Madrid and France, Griezmann won the award for the third best player in the world in 2016, carrying both sides to the final of the Champions League and Euro 2016, respectively, despite struggling in the final.
He’s a fantastic dribbler, statistically one of the most prolific strikers in football, and creates a bundle of chances for his teammates, but he’s also known for working extremely hard defensively, to the point where managers want him to stay further forward than he does. Griezmann has the potential to transform United and with the rumours circling every other day, he needs to be United’s priority this summer. How can you even deny it? He has everything United needs in his locker.
Estimated Value: £70 million