After another season of apparent mediocrity, what do Manchester United need to do to re-establish themselves as a force in the Premier League once again?
Does it all stem from the manager? Louis van Gaal’s style of play has often come under intense scrutiny from fans and pundits alike, but many often fail to take into account the number of injuries that have ravaged his side over the course of the campaign.
It’s been long speculated that Jose Mourinho will be the man to take charge at the end of the season, but will his arrival bring a more entertaining brand of football that the Old Trafford crowd so desperately craves?
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The Portuguese coach is renowned for his defensive stability and methodical approach to the game – 1-0 is good enough. Is that what the Red Devils fans want?
Long gone are the days of Sir Alex Ferguson, whose sides struck fear into the heart of the opposition and continued to bombard until the dying embers of the game.
Performances under Van Gaal have lacked an explosive edge and a creative spark. Too often have displays been flat, but – amidst the ordinariness – hope has been rekindled thanks to Anthony Martial’s late winner against Everton at Wembley on Saturday.
The Frenchman has been a rare positive in an underwhelming campaign for United, who look set to miss out on the Champions League spots for the second time in three seasons.
Who can the 20-time champions of England bring in to surmount a substantial title bid once more?
The Poland international has been the beating heart of Sevilla’s midfield since arriving from Reims in 2014 and has long been linked with a move to Arsenal. Krychowiak would be seen as an ideal replacement for Michael Carrick, who is yet to sign a new contract at Old Trafford and is seemingly out of the door this summer.
Krychowiak impressed for Sevilla in the Champions League this season but may have to settle for the Europa League next time around with the prospect of a top-four finish in La Liga almost out of reach.
However, the Andalusian club could still secure Champions League football by claiming a third successive Europa League crown.
Wingers have failed to impress at Old Trafford since Van Gaal took over the reins two years ago. Angel di Maria never justified his £59.7 million price tag and Memphis Depay hasn’t fulfilled the potential that everyone expected after a positive start to the campaign.
However, Martial – a striker deployed on the flank – has flourished as an inside forward and compatriot Lacazette can be used as effectively in a similar role on the opposite wing.
The Lyon ace will be one to watch at this summer’s European Championships and already has 20 goals to his name this season.
Bruno Martins Indi
At just 24-years-old, Martins Indi already has 31 caps for the Netherlands and has established himself as one of the toughest centre-backs outside the top five leagues in Europe.
The Dutchman has endured a somewhat uninspiring season with Porto, who won’t be in the Champions League next season after a disappointing league campaign.
Daley Blind has played well as a makeshift centre-back, but United need a more commanding defender at the heart of the backline to play alongside Chris Smalling and Martins Indi would fit the bill perfectly.
Another incredible talent that has rolled off the German conveyor belt; Meyer is one of the hottest prospects in the Bundesliga. Schalke’s diminutive midfielder is at his most effective playing in the number 10 position as a trequartista because of his ability to link play and bag a goal.
Schalke won’t be making an appearance in the Champions League next season either, so it should be easier to lure Meyer to Old Trafford. The German has credited his football skills to playing futsal at a younger age – much like Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta. The 20-year-old certainly has all the potential to light up the Premier League should the opportunity arise.
The Switzerland international is coming towards the end of his third season with Borussia Monchengladbach and has impressed for the Germans in the Bundesliga and Champions League this season. The former Basel man provides great energy in midfield, can offer support going forward and also doesn’t shirk his defensive duties either.
Xhaka will be showcasing his talents in France this summer and will be looking to add to his 2009 U17 World Cup and 2011 U21 European Championship triumphs with this talented crop of Swiss players.
He is another player who has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal and United officials may need to act quickly before he joins a title rival.
At just 23-years-old, he has his best days ahead of him and could be an Old Trafford legend.
However, perhaps more important than who they bring in, it is vital that United hold onto David de Gea.
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