After a season in Manchester that was desperately lacking in quality, at least on the red side, new boss Louis van Gaal is now tasked with rebuilding the squad at United. Here are five players they should sign this summer to help make next season more successful.
Toni Kroos, Bayern Munich
The news that has been emerging recently that van Gaal has ended United's interest in Kroos comes as a complete shock and looks to be a huge mistake. Van Gaal is an extremely experienced manager and knows exactly what he is doing, but Kroos appears to be the best signing United could possibly make this summer.
Michael Carrick was extremely poor this season and Tom Cleverley has made no progress at all in recent years and is definitely not the answer in midfield if United want to mount a title challenge next season. Kroos is the best option on the market.
Very comfortable on the ball, the German has a wonderful passing game and is excellent at retaining possession. He is also very strong and is extremely aware defensively as well as possessing a sweet strike from distance. On top of all this he has shown composure in the box during his time at the Allianz Arena. Bayern Munich are letting one of their best players go very easily and United would be making a big mistake in not buying him. At 24-years-old and with bags of experience and success with both club and country, £20 million is a complete bargain for a world class talent. He is the exact player United need in the position they are weakest, central midfield.
Ashley Williams, Swansea City
United have lost their best centre half pairing from the past 10 years this summer with Rio Ferdinand having been released and Nemanja Vidic seeking pastures new in Milan at Internazionale. With the entire heart of the defence at United having left and with no experience left at the centre back position, United should definitely look to bring in a new centre back. Louis van Gaal will likely be looking abroad for a new centre back, as it is a position which needs strengthening, but he shouldn't be looking any further than Swansea City as Williams is a perfect option.
An excellent footballer as well as a defender, the Welsh 29-year-old is one of the best defenders in the league after Vincent Kompany. Excellent on the ball, Williams is a no-nonsense defender who can read the game brilliantly and has speed, strength and positioning skill to compliment that fact.
The big Welsh centre back is aging slightly, so United could get him on the cheap if they were to go for him. Williams could give United some much needed experience at the back and could help mentor Smalling and Jones as well as providing his own services for a good few more years. He would be a great signing for the red half of Manchester.
Luke Shaw, Southampton
Patrice Evra is likely on the move this summer and much has been made of United's interest in Luke Shaw. Alex Buttner has improved greatly and performed well this season when he has played, so a new left back isn't exactly necessary should Buttner impress van Gaal in the summer. If he isn't happy with Buttner and the options he has at the position however, then Shaw would be an great option.
At such a young age, the 18-year-old England international would definitely be an investment for the future as much as now. A player with blistering speed and fantastic crossing ability, he would most certainly help the United attack, but there are still slight question marks over his defensive capabilities, which, while those skills can be honed under van Gaal, means United shouldn't pay top dollar for him. If they can sign him at a reasonable price however, Shaw would definitely be an exciting addition to the squad at United.
Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool
As well as lacking stability and structure in the midfield this year, one of the most obvious things missing in the United team was creativity. David Moyes recognised this during the January window before panic buying Juan Mata for a rather pricy fee. Mata, who has undeniable quality on the ball, didn't help too much in the end and was also disappointing this season. Bringing in another creative force could help Mata flourish too, and Coutinho is one of the best around.
The young Brazilian - he's only 21-years of age - was absolutely sensational for Liverpool this year and wasn't given as much credit as he deserved for the key role he played in LIverpool's remarkable season. A player with exquisite feet and skill, a wonderful passing game, excellent dribbling ability and who is full of running all over the pitch, Coutinho is a brilliant talent. There are still question marks over his finishing but the goal he scored to beat Manchester City this season showed that that particular aspect of his game is also improving.
Liverpool's efforts to sign high profile players in similar positions to Coutinho's could be interpreted to mean that Liverpool would be inclined to accept an offer for Coutinho, even though this is unlikely and an offer would probably have to be very high. If Liverpool need to sell to finance these transfers though then United should be offering big money for the little playmaker as he is a special talent and could develop into one of the world's very best players in the very near future. Coutinho's presence would give United that spark of creativity they are so desperately in need of.
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