By Alex Fisher
Last Updated: 22nd July 2019
Manchester United face a pivotal transfer window as Ole Gunnar Solskjær looks to revive the Premier League’s once-dominant force.
It’s not just players coming in that will influence how United perform in 2019/20, the departures (or lack of them) could be the telling factor on Solskjær’s fortunes.
The future of Paul Pogba will play a huge part in United’s preparations. Juventus and Real Madrid have both been heavily linked with the World Cup winner, and are 9/2 and 4/6 to get his signature.
A host of players are reportedly on the United shopping list ahead of the deadline, but will any of them inspire confidence from the Old Trafford faithful?
Is youth the answer?
United’s early summer business has seen Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka arrive from Swansea and Crystal Palace respectively.
Both have the potential to be United stars but Solskjær is taking a big gamble if they are to be the players he builds his 2019/20 squad around.
The reported pursuit of Sean Longstaff would follow a similar pattern, but United fans are unlikely to be happy if the Newcastle midfielder – who only made nine appearances last term – is the replacement for Pogba.
One player who would be welcomed with open arms is Sporting CP’s creative genius Bruno Fernandes. Last term the 24-year-old scored 20 league goals and provided 13 assists – just the kind of creativity United have been screaming out for.
Upgrading the defence
Solskjær still has the same central defensive options as last season, but given they shipped 54 goals in 2018/19 it is understandable that a world-class upgrade appears top of the shopping list.
According to our markets, United are at the front of the queue for Harry Maguire, his £90 million price tag not seeming to put off the club’s hierarchy.
And that should not be a surprise, the England international is an upgrade on the likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly. Whether he is truly world class is up for debate.
Should they stay or go?
And then we come to players who could leave Old Trafford before the deadline.
Romelu Lukaku has been guilty of missing plenty of chances in previous seasons but his goal record of 42 in 96 appearances remains impressive.
Talk of a loan move to Inter Milan have surfaced following Antonio Conte’s appointment at San Siro. Although how that would help United is unclear.
David de Gea’s future also remains uncertain as United scramble to get him to sign a new contract, and then there is the Alexis Sánchez issue. Solskjær will hope his improved displays at the Copa América could signal better times.