Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer both arrived at the clubs training ground in Carrington on Monday morning as the Old Trafford club stepped up their return to the UEFA Europa League on Wednesday evening as they take on Linzer ASK of Austria in the round of 16 second leg clash which was postponed in March. United won the first leg 5-0, effectively ending the two-legged tie right there so this match is just a formality.
It is expected that Solskjaer will utilised the fringe players in his squad for this match, resting many of his big stars although some of them could be on the bench if an upset was to happen, which seems unlikely. At this stage of the summer, which if it were not for the coronavirus pandemic, United would be stepping up their training after a pre-season tour with a return to the Premier League in the next week or so. However, they are still playing the current season and finalising plans for the summer transfer window, with closes on the 5 October 2020 this year.
Monday saw reports that United were finalising a deal to sign Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, also seeing the exit of Alexis Sanchez reported in the media, which would seem like a busy days work at the club at the start of this week. Of course, United have a deadline of the 10 August to sign Sancho, which the club seem to be adhering to, which is a good sign. The Mirror also states that the likes of Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Diego Dalot, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones could all leave the club if the right price is paid for them this summer.
The likes of Chris Smalling, who has been on loan at AS Roma for the entirety of the 2019/20 season will be a matter to resolve with the player due back in Manchester this week after his loan spell will end on Wednesday, plus the pressing concern of goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who has finished his second season of his loan spell at Sheffield United and has been linked with a permanent transfer to Chelsea this summer. United will have a lot of work to do this summer and their plan will need to be right, not only for the direction of the club but the players.
United might have to press on with their transfer window this summer with a masterplan seemingly revealed for Real Madrid, who seem to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic this summer which will result in the club not being able to spend big this summer, something that has been stated by club president Florentino Perez. Spanish source AS has stated that the club will have targets for 2021 and 2022 which might give United this summer to act fast and steal the march on the Spanish giants.
United have already been linked with AS Monaco defender Benoit Badiashile this summer, who is described at the next Raphael Varane and one of the players that could be considered by the Madrid club this summer. With United seeking a new defender this summer, to partner Harry Maguire, after being linked to Nathan Ake, who will sign for Manchester City, Pau Torres of Villarreal and Gabriel Magalhaes of Lille, you kind of get the gist that United are seeking to strengthen their defensive lines with could lose Smalling, Jones and Rojo this summer.
I am sure United are not worried about Real Madrid as they seem to have targets which are separate to each club although with Badiashile, they could well be interested in the same player. However, this summer, United seem to have the money to spend on new players, aiming to continue Solskjaer’s rebuild of the club, they could well steal a march on the Madrid club, having a year extra to settle if they buy more than three players for the squad this summer. With the club returning to the UEFA Champions League, the strength in depth will be needed.
That said, it will be an interesting summer for United. Sancho arriving at the club and Sanchez departing will be good news as United would be getting a player that they need, a right-winger and getting rid of a player that is the Bain of their wage structure, making the future look a bit better for the club, not being laboured with the fact they will need to continue to pay for the underperforming player that was just not the right fit for the club, even if he did play that piano himself on his announcement video.
Written by John Walker