Undrafted – The Network

Closing the gap!

How can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer close the gap to their noisy neighbours?

With the Premier League season coming to the end, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side have won the league with ease. With United currently holding on to 2nd place. 

It’s been pretty straightforward for City over the last few months, as they went on an incredible 21 game winning streak before United beat them 0-2 at the Etihad just two weeks ago. Solskjaer has now picked up three victories in a row away from home against City, but how can he bridge the gap to get the team really challenging City for the Premier League title again?

The biggest decision is David or Deano? 

Dean or David? A big decision for Ole.
Image Credit: Goal.com

The goalkeeping situation has been up in the air at Old Trafford this season with Solskjaer having two very good goalkeepers at his disposal, but both with different strengths and weaknesses to the other. A bit of a catch 22! David De Gea has been instrumental in any success United have had in the 10 years he has been at the club, but the last few seasons, we have seen more and more errors creeping into his game. Usually one of the best shot-stoppers in the business is now letting in more than he is saving and I believe he is now on the decline. It’s time for someone else.

And who else can it be but Dean Henderson? He spent the whole of last season on loan at Sheffield United and was instrumental in their incredible top half finish last season. Having returned to Manchester for this season, it was interesting to see how it would pan out between him and De Gea. Solskjaer stuck with De Gea as number one and used Henderson as the cup goalkeeper primarily. But with De Gea missing the month of march on paternity leave, Henderson has enjoyed a run of games in the side and has really taken his chance to prove he can be the number one for years to come. His time has come.

Is Aaron Wan Bissaka good enough?

Known for being one of the best, if not THE best, one on one defensive fullback in the world, Wan-Bissaka just doesn’t have anything else to his game. With the modern fullback required to be both great in defense but also more of an influence in attack, Wan-Bissaka just doesn’t have it in his locker when it comes to the final third of the pitch. Poor crossing abilities and the inability to beat a man are problems with his game, and because of this United are unbalanced in attack, with almost every play going down the left side as Luke Shaw is much more comfortable going forward and providing the overlapping runs. Early rumours suggest United are in for a right-back, so let’s watch this space.

Upgrade the centre halves

Raphael Varane onl has one year left on his current Real Madrid deal come the summer and has been identified as a target for United.
Image Credit: weallfollowunited.com

Although of late United have been looking more and more solid at the back, question marks remain over the pairing of Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire. Personally, I feel that Maguire has been a fantastic signing for the club and has improved our backline immensely. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Lindelof. Maguire looks far more comfortable with Eric Bailly playing alongside him and I believe that is down to Bailly possessing great pace to be able to cover Maguire if he does get beaten by a pacy winger. Ideally, Bailly would be the perfect partner but he is always on the treatment table and is far too unreliable. A pacy, strong centre half is required in the summer window. Jules Kounde of Seville and Raphael Varane are on top of the managers shortlist. 

Read the latest on United’s pursuit of Varane from the Manchester Evening News


A key man for the club moving forward!
Image Credit: Sky Sports

I can’t stress this enough. Paul Pogba is the best player at Manchester United and doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Over the last few months, he was the one who dragged United into the title race single-handedly. Unfortunately, he picked up a thigh injury and missed 8 weeks of football, and boy did United miss him! Fred and Mctominay just aren’t good enough on the ball and we have struggled breaking sides down. The range of passing Pogba has in his locker is one of the best in the game, and when he plays, United are a different team. If he signs a new deal, that would be fantastic news. If he decides to leave in the summer, then United are in trouble. 

Sign Erling Braut Haaland

The signings of these two players would be an incredible outcome, however, seriously costly.
Image credit: Bundesliga.com imago images / Team 2

United are absolutely desperate for a proper goalscorer. Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial have all staked a claim for the role but have been largely ineffective. Edinson Cavani has done a great job when he has played, but unfortunately, age isn’t on his side and he is starting to spend more and more time on the sidelines due to injuries. The answer is Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund. The young man is a goal machine. Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich, Harry Kane of Tottenham and Haaland are the top three in that position. Kane is a fantastic player but trying to get him away from Tottenham would cost a staggering amount, and for someone who’s ageing, might not be the smartest of moves.

Haaland however is only 19 and can only get better with experience. Dortmund have reportedly set a £150 million price tag on his head for this summer, but that could turn out to be a bargain for a player who is already showing his true world-class abilities. With Solskjaer giving him his big break in football at Molde in Norway, let’s hope that connection can shine through and United get their man.

I do believe though that the signing of Haaland will not happen this summer, as the current front runner for United is his Dortmund counterpart, Jadon Sancho. He is another who would be a fantastic signing for the club to slot in on the right-hand side, something we’ve not had since Cristiano Ronaldo left us. If we manage to secure 3/4 players this window, then I feel we have a great chance to improve again on the last few seasons and close the gap to our City rivals.

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