It feels like every summer for the last five summers Manchester United have needed the same positions filled during a transfer window.
A right winger, a striker, a centre-back, a defensive midfielder and full-backs. All of which have been signed in recent years, but none of the quality necessary to make it not a glaring issue within the squad.
But this summer seems a little bit different for the most part when it comes to the transfers the squad are reportedly seeking.
A deal for Jadon Sancho is closer than ever before with the Red Devils having made two bids for the England international so far and the only thing stopping it being accepted is the structure of the payments.
Then there is the news that Raphael Varane really wants to leave Real Madrid this summer and that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are at the front of the queue to make a deal happen.
That’s two top level players that would not only improve the squad this summer but they would also instantly improve the starting lineup too, which can only help to close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool for next season.
Further to those two United have also been linked with Declan Rice for the defensive midfield position, Kieran Trippier for the right-back role and Edinson Cavani has re-signed for another year as the striker option.
While I don’t necessarily agree with the personnel of the other two incoming transfer targets initially, it’s a positive sign that the club are looking to address problem areas of the squad in one window.
Solskjaer has shown that he has progressed the team to a certain level without getting first-choice targets for much of his tenure, but to kick on to the next level he needs that added quality to lean on when it gets tough.
For the defensive midfield role, United need someone with quality defensive attributes but who can also play football. Just being good defensively isn’t enough for the top clubs and Rice’s attributes on the ball won’t help United when coming up against a low block, which is something they already struggle with.
A defensive midfielder with quality on the ball like Yves Bissouma or Douglas Luiz would cost a fraction of the price and be better suited to what a top midfield really needs.
At right-back Trippier is the right profile of player needed, just the wrong individual. The England and Atletico Madrid defender is a good attacking outlet as well as decent defender, but he is the wrong side of 30 and will take a fair chunk out of the budget for the summer.
United currently have Diogo Dalot and Ethan Laird as young, attacking full-backs that could compete with Aaron Wan-Bissaka in that position but instead Solskjaer wants to sign one as a short-term option.
If signing one is the thing that needs to be done because Solskjaer doesn’t rate Dalot and Laird is moving out on loan for the season, then it should be someone younger that is a target. Tariq Lamptey would be a terrific option, while I’m sure some scouting departments could look at the likes of Germany Under-21 right-back Ridle Baku and see a talented option there.
They’d likely cost less than the reported £35million that Atletico want for Trippier but even if they didn’t, the fee would be far more justified as a long-term investment to compete with Wan-Bissaka on going forward rather than someone coming in for a final big pay day.
Whether we agree with the personnel though, it shows that Solskjaer sees what the fans see and that improvements are needed in specific areas. The fact the business seems to be a priority to get done early is a positive.
The summer transfer window is on the right track for Manchester United, for the most part anyway.