Manchester United are poised to have a busy summer transfer window with investment required across the pitch to rebuild and recover after an underwhelming season
Manchester United’s Champions League campaign may have come to a disappointing end with defeat by Atletico Madrid in the last 16 but Old Trafford chiefs are sure to be keeping a close eye on the late stages of the competition.
The Red Devils are expected to have a busy summer of business in the transfer market as they aim to recover from their underwhelming season and prepare for life under a new manager, with Erik ten Hag in pole position for the job.
United were linked with numerous midfielders in January but investment may be needed across the pitch to solve their glaring defensive issues and lack of attacking threat, which were laid bare once again in Saturday’s Premier League draw with Leicester.
To that end, many of Europe’s greatest talents will be in action this midweek in the Champions League quarter-finals, with this grand stage providing players with the chance to showcase their ability before the window opens. Without further ado, here are five of those the United hierarchy could be monitoring closely.
One of the continent’s most in-demand strikers, Nunez scored the winner against Ajax to send Benfica through to the last eight.
The Uruguay international is enjoying a brilliant season and took his tally to 27 goals in 34 appearances after scoring against Braga on Friday night. It is no surprise Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle are also keeping tabs on the player, who is believed to have a price tag of £67million and remains under contract until 2025. Nunez’s stock will only increase if he can find the back of the net against Liverpool in the quarter-finals.
Another in-form forward, Villarreal star Danjuma has scored 13 goals in 28 appearances this season including five in the Champions League.
United have already had a good look at the former Bournemouth man as they faced off with the Spanish club in the group stage, with the 25-year-old contributing an assist in September’s memorable clash at Old Trafford.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the futures of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, as well as Edinson Cavani being out of contract this summer, the Red Devils could be in the market for a new option in attack when the window opens, so they may keep a close eye on Villarreal versus Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
United have been linked with Chelsea defender Rudiger throughout the season as he will become a free agent this summer.
Club captain Harry Maguire has been heavily criticised for his performances at times – he was even booed by England fans before the friendly against Ivory Coast last Tuesday – and there is no denying centre-back is a problem area for Ralf Rangnick’s side.
With the added uncertainty at Stamford Bridge surrounding the sale of Chelsea, it appears highly unlikely Rudiger will extend his stay despite the fact he is enjoying a brilliant season in the Blues backline. Barcelona are believed to be the frontrunners for 29-year-old’s signature but United may yet decide to raid their Premier League rivals, who take on Real Madrid on Wednesday.
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An alternative – and much more expensive – option at centre-back is Pau Torres, who marshalled Villarreal to victory over United in last season’s Europa League final.
The 25-year-old is regarded as one of the finest defenders in La Liga and there was substantial interest in his services last summer. Villarreal are understood to value their academy graduate at over £50million, so it would take a significant bid to bring him to the Premier League.
Torres will need to be at his best on Wednesday to keep a star-studded Bayern Munich attack at bay.
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Although Fred is enjoying a good run of form in midfield, there are lingering concerns over his partnership with Scott McTominay and signing a new midfielder appears to be a matter of priority for the United hierarchy.
One player who could give the defence the cover they need is Benfica stalwart Weigl, who continues to excel in the No. 6 role for the Portuguese giants. The 26-year-old, who was formerly on Borussia Dortmund’s books, has made a remarkable 42 appearances in all competitions this season and he was particularly impressive in September’s 3-0 victory over Barcelona.