Man Utd: Defensive frailties frustrate Solskjaer
Manchester United are reportedly ready to spend a ‘significant sum’ as they look to strengthen one of two areas in the summer transfer window. The Red Devils have identified two areas for improvement to address shortcomings that remain in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad.
Despite being second in the Premier League, United have conceded 30 goals this season – more than any other side in the top 10 apart from Leeds.
Their goals-against tally is just six shy of the total they conceded in the league last term, with captain Harry Maguire and centre-half partner Victor Lindelof having come under fire for their performances this season.
Leaders Manchester City, on the other hand, have conceded just 14 – having been boosted by the £61million signing of former United target Ruben Dias from Benfica.
And Red Devils chief Ed Woodward is open to getting the chequebook out to land a top-class centre-half this summer, according to the Manchester Evening News.
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The publication says United also want a new centre-forward, and will make a decision on which position to prioritise between now and the end of the season.
In contrast to their deficiencies in defence, Solskjaer’s side are currently the Premier League’s top scorers with 49 so far – five more than Liverpool and six more than City.
United’s attack has been buoyed by the expertise of Edinson Cavani, and the former PSG striker could stay for a second season despite turning 34 this Sunday.
While Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho was the Red Devils’ top target last summer, they have since signed Amad and the teenager is being hailed as a potential solution to the club’s right-wing problem.
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Amad has already scored three goals and posted three assists in two games for the Under-23s, and the 18-year-old is expected to make his first-team debut this month.
So if United’s front line keep up their current form, it would appear that strengthening the defence will be the priority this summer.
RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and Raphael Varane of Real Madrid are two centre-backs on their radar, while Solskjaer is an admirer of Kalidou Koulibaly.
However, the Napoli defender turns 30 this summer and his age could count against him as the United boss looks for a long-term partner for Maguire.
The club must also decide whether to offer Eric Bailly a new deal after he entered the last 18 months of his Old Trafford contract.
The 26-year-old put in some encouraging performances when he was brought into the team after Christmas, but is injury prone and has missed the last five games.
United host West Ham in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Tuesday night.
Dean Henderson will have another chance to impress in goal, while midfielder Paul Pogba will be out for the next few weeks with a thigh injury.
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