When he was appointed 18 months ago, his appointment was met with skepticism. Despite being a club legend and a Champions League winner, on that legendary night in Barcelona, Manchester United’s appointment of former striker Ole Gunnar Solskajaer was on the face of it, a strange decision.
The Norwegian would go on a memorable unbeaten run and beat Gus Hiddink’s record for the most points achieved in the first 10 games in charge (26). Despite this impressive start, The Red Devils did have some tough periods in Ole’s first season in charge.
Former United strikerOle Gunnar, with a summer under his belt, addressed the lack of quality in certain areas. United were in need of a good quality right-back and ended up movingly decisively for Crystal Palace right-back Aaron Wan Bissaka.
Another area was central defence, Harry Maguire (a world record £80 million transfer) was signed from Premier League rivals to address the issue of not having a leader at the back. To complement the defensive acquisitions, Swansea wide man Dan James was signed for a bargain £15 million.
The 21-year old has had his fair share of criticism, which I argue is a bit harsh, especially due to his age and the fact he was playing Championship football last term, this is a step up in level.
The displays of these three players and that of January signing Bruno Fernandes (in a deal that could rise to £67.7 should add on clauses be triggered) are signs of encouragement. Under Solskjaer, Man United were developing into a team that were devastating on the counter-attack with speed merchants Martial, Rashford and James.
As exciting as this trio, the Red Devils weren’t quite as effective when they needed to break teams down. The singing of Fernandes however, has been a masterstroke. The 25-year old former Sporting Lisbon player has not only lifted, what was gloom around Old Trafford, but he’s also helped United develop into a side that’s good on the front foot too and not just the counter.
Man United are seen by many as a team that will be able to have a sustained title push. Besides these signings, Nigerian striker Odion Igahlo who also joined in January along with Bruno Fernandes from Shanghai Shenhua in a surprise deal as great teams never stay still and always look to try and improve.
Here, I give a list of three players who I think can help improve the 20-time Premier League winners, and maybe help them to Premier League glory next term.
Former PSG midfielder Adel Rabiot, now at Juventus is a player that had been on many clubs’ radar in Europe. Big, strong and a commanding figure in the central of the park, Rabiot could be a younger version of Serb Nemanja Matic, who is into his 30’s.
Will the Old Lady sell? That would be hard to say and you can’t say for sure, but with the current climate as well as the signing of Brazilian Arthur, maybe the former PSG might get less game time next season in Turin.
Juventus might want to get United to include Pogba in some sort of player plus cash deal, which Old Trafford bosses would likely reject. If an opportunity does arise however, The Red Devils will do well to snap up the 25-year old, preferably as someone who can enable the Pogba and Fernandes partnership to truly blossom.
Granted, this is a left-field choice, but hear me out on this one. The 27-year old Holland international, I feel will be a good squad player at Old Trafford. At 6ft6, the former AZ Alkmaar frontman will offer United a “plan b” which could come in handy in tight games.
Weghorst, in a Wolfsburg side that finished seventh this season, has a decent goal return of 33 goals in 66 games. Although it’s highly unlikely that Reds boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will go for the Holland striker, he would make an alternative for Odion Igahlo, if The Red Devils decide to keep him beyond January 2021.
The 30-year old Igahlo has surprisingly impressed since signing for Manchester United in this January transfer window when many didn’t give him a chance. The signing of Weghorst could be a similar kind of signing.
The 22-year old Reims centre-back Axel Diasi could be one of the bargains of the summer if Ole, opts to sign the 6ft3 defender. When the discussion of centre-backs get mentioned, the usual suspects of Dayton Umpechano and Kalidou Koulibay get mentioned.
In the case of Napoli defender Koulibaly, the cost of £90 million that has been mentioned in the past, will even deter the financial might of Man United. On top of the Senegalese player isn’t getting younger.
RB Leipzig defender Umpechano, who has one year left on his deal could be an option, but even with one year left on his deal, the 21-year old Umpechano could still cost £50 million. That’s what makes the case of signing Diasi, stronger.
With rivals Arsenal said to also be interested, Ole Gunnar need to ask United to act fast or face the prospect of failing to land a player that could cost £14 million with one year of his contract remaining. So there you have our alternative list of three players who could help United get to the next level, let us know what you think in the comments.