Man United complete Jadon Sancho signing
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got off to a flier in his season opener against arch-rivals Leeds United yesterday – but despite the trouncing, there are still areas to improve for Matt Judge.
Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes were the standout stars in the 5-1 win; Pogba claiming an obscene four assists alongside a Fernandes’ hat-trick as the pair boasted their virtuoso on stage.
In fact, it would be harsh to criticise anyone on the pitch in Red yesterday – the only downfall was the conceded goal, but no keeper in the world was stopping Luke Ayling’s bolt from the blue.
Evidently, United have their stars; Fernandes contributed in the way that everyone knew he would, Pogba carried on his sublime Euro 2020 form with a passing display that Andrea Pirlo could only dream of, and Mason Greenwood showed sharpness in front of goal.
However, as a big club must do, there are always improvements to be had.
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And unfortunately for some, this means replacing the weakest links in the crop of talent United have.
Judge’s judgement will have been clouded by the drubbing of their Yorkshire enemies – and rightly so.
So it begs the question; do United need to sign the right-back, defensive midfielder and striker berths they have been linked with for so long?
Arguably, after Greenwood’s performance, there is no need for United to spend big in the market on a striker. Edinson Cavani returns next week, and Greenwood showed the world what he can do with a stunning finish to regain the lead.
The question is the club replacing Anthony Martial – but with those two ahead in the pecking order, and with Marcus Rashford and Fernandes capable of playing up front, there is no need to spend this summer.
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Next summer would beg the question – Erling Haaland’s release clause comes into effect, and with Martial hypothetically gone and Cavani’s contract expiring, there is a need to bring in a spearhead; just not now.
The same doesn’t go for the right-back slot. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a talented defender who can pocket any winger in the world in his own half, and is noted as being one of the best one-on-one defenders in the world.
However, as United progress to becoming a powerhouse once again, the London-born defender is shown in his attacking limitations.
With Kieran Trippier linked for £40million – notably a very developed attacking right-back – there may be a need to bring him in when Wan-Bissaka cannot contribute to the attack adequately.
Finally, the defensive midfield role is also contentious. Judge will note that Fred was imperious against Leeds, registering a goal and preventing their midfield from registering more than two notable attacks.
However, it is impossible to gauge from the opening game whether he will continue that form across the whole season.
And with poor reviews last season, him and Nemanja Matic are both in the same category as having impressed Solskjaer – but not enough.
Declan Rice has been touted as the man to take over the role, but at an eye-watering £80m minimum, this deal may be better of being left for next season, with Edouardo Camavinga leaving Rennes on a free transfer.
A deal would be best to strike up in winter for a cut-price fee, or a pre-contract agreement so that the Frenchman joins for free in the summer.
Either way, it is extremely exciting to see what occurs at Old Trafford following their opening day result; Camavinga, Haaland and Trippier would only add to that.
Judge has a lot to ponder.
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