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OPINION: Manchester United’s Transfers Should Focus on the First Team, Rather Than the Squad Depth



Manchester United’s transfer business seems to have finally come to life with the imminent arrival of Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek.

The youngster has impressed so far during his time with the Dutch side.

Given the position in which Donny van de Beek played in the Ajax squad, he seems likely to be suited to a deeper role within United’s squad, possibly pairing up with Paul Pogba deep in midfield.

After Van de Beek’s deal, United will seek to deepen the current squad in order to have it cope with the rigors of the incoming season, and given the current lack of quality on the United bench, it’s justifiable.

But the current first team, as decent as they have been since the beginning of the year, aren’t still formidable enough to favorably compete outside of the Premier League.

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Their title aspirations for this campaign, should they remain as they are, are in serious doubt.

The focus for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be the strength of the first team, as well their coherence as a unit.

In focusing on the first team’s strength, he still needs to focus on the center-back and left-back positions.

Harry Maguire stills needs more solid defensive partnering in the United backline than what Victor Lindelof currently provides.

Luke Shaw, though proficient at left-back, is plagued by periods of injury and bad form.

And how reliable for the long term is Brandon Williams? They both got injured once in the same match.

The midfield could still use at least one more reinforcement, given the declining suitability of the likes of Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and Nemanja Matic, which would leave Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes with a heavier workload in the midfield than they could effectively cope with.

The attacking line, while having vastly improved, would still require an out-and-out center forward; a proper striker.

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Martial and Rashford, though having had times where they impressed in front, are still more suited to their natural positions as wingers.

Sancho’s failure to move to United means United’s need for another winger isn’t that urgent, which will at least give Mason Greenwood the time he needs to properly develop.

Only then, when the first team has been made to be formidable enough, can United focus on deepening the squad.

Jurgen Klopp took the same route of developing the first team first with Liverpool during the seasons when he was rebuilding the squad.

The current Liverpool team’s strength lies not in their squad depth.

Their squad isn’t even as deep as the squads of Manchester City, or Juventus.

Their ability to win the games they play comes from the brilliance of the first team, which has proven to be more than enough to make up for any deficiencies on the bench.

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They operate as a single unit; they work as a team.

Their side is composed of players who are more useful as team members than as individual stars.

If squad depth were everything, Manchester City should have done better in the Premier League and in Europe.

The same goes for Juventus, who should have at least gotten past the Champions League quarter-finals.

If the squad were strong enough, United should have won their second Europa League trophy.

That’s why the focus for Solskjaer should be the squad strength, rather than the squad depth.

Or United risk repeating the errors they made in the previous season.

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