Three key areas Manchester United need to strengthen this summer

10th Jul 2018

Despite achieving their highest points total since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and reaching the FA Cup final, Manchester United remain a long way off where they want to be at the top of the Premier League table.

Jose Mourinho’s men finished 19 points behind their local rivals Manchester City last term and have some real catching up to do if they are going to match Pep Guardiola’s side.

United need to strengthen three key areas of their squad if they hope to mount a title challenge in the immediate future.

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Despite a number of their players showing potential, Manchester United still lack an outright, solid defensive partnership at the back in the style of a Rio Ferdinand-Nemanja Vidic pairing that was seemingly always present during their glory years.

Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo all have their positives, yet none fall into the world-class bracket of central defenders. Victor Lindelof looked well off the pace in his debut campaign and this still looks to be a real problem area for the club.

Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld looks the obvious target, with the Belgian international appearing to be frustrated at the lack of financial reward under Daniel Levy’s structure at White Hart Lane.

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With Anthony Martial expected to leave Manchester United this summer, Mourinho is likely to have to delve into the transfer market to replace the Frenchman, with Marcus Rashford and Alexis Sanchez being the only natural wide options at his disposal.

Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard can also play out wide, but both are better suited to play as the 10 off of Romelu Lukaku, while it also seems Mourinho is yet to fully trust Rashford.

Injecting more pace into this team will be vital if United want to compete with City, whose wide players Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane played a huge part in their title success.

Willian has been linked with a move to Old Trafford, while Ousmane Dembele is being mentioned as an outside contender to join Mourinho's men.

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Lukaku was excellent for Manchester United in his debut season with the club, scoring 27 goals in 51 appearances, 16 of which came in the Premier League.

He will be looking to up his return in the league next season but Rashford could be left as being the only senior back-up option to the Belgian, which will also leave United short in wide areas if the latter was to get injured.

The Red Devils were fortunate that Rashford was able to play 34 league games last season, but they are only a two month injury away from struggling for striker options and could do with another player to add a bit of competition.

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