Man Utd have three players who could cause John Murtough transfer headache
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Manchester United chief John Murtough will be hoping to lead a productive summer transfer window ahead of next season. The Red Devils have already completed the signing of long-term target Jadon Sancho after finally agreeing a fee with Borussia Dortmund earlier this month.
The England winger is yet to be formally unveiled as a new United player, but the deal is done and he will be hoping to hit the ground running at Old Trafford when the new season gets underway.
The 20-time Premier League champions are also believed to be closing in on a move for Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, who is widely expected to partner Harry Maguire at the back as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer chases a return to domestic glory.
Although at least one or two additional signings will be required to give United the best chance of success, there are also a number of existing stars with uncertain contract situations that Murtough will need to handle over the coming weeks and months.
The Red Devils currently have seven players on their books that will be unattached by the end of next season as it stands, and a handful of these could prove to be significant losses if they are not retained as a matter of urgency.
Jesse Lingard very much falls into this category, with the 28-year-old’s stock multiplying over the course of the previous campaign despite failing to make a single Premier League appearance for his parent club.
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He excelled during his time on loan at West Ham United, scoring nine goals and creating another five to earn himself a recall to the England setup in the process.
Hammers boss David Moyes has already underlined his desire to sign Lingard on a permanent basis ahead of next season, with the midfielder playing a significant role in helping the club to achieve Europa League qualification.
However, Solskjaer recently declared that he is prepared to include the playmaker in his plans for the new campaign, suggesting that a move is unlikely to come to fruition this summer.
It remains to be seen whether Murtough will decide to cash in against the wishes of United’s manager, but if not, it might be wise to extend Lingard’s contract in order to avoid losing him for nothing in a year’s time.
Edinson Cavani will also be released next summer unless he is offered another extension to keep him at Old Trafford for a third season.
The Uruguayan forward was rewarded for a hugely impressive campaign with a new deal back in May and will likely be expected to lead the line once again at the next time of asking.
A move for a top-class marksman in the form of Erling Haaland or Harry Kane looks to be outside the realms of possibility for United at present, with money tight across the board as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They could benefit from keeping Cavani around the place until at least the summer of 2023 in order to continue in his role as Solskjaer’s first-choice striker this season, before providing adequate cover for a big-name signing further down the line.
Murtough may also be inclined to make a prompt decision regarding the immediate future of Diogo Dalot, who more than held his own with AC Milan throughout the entirety of the previous campaign.
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The defender made 33 appearances for the Italian giants during his season-long loan spell at the San Siro, but has struggled to assert himself at United since joining the club from Porto in 2018.
It seems as though it could be make-or-break for Dalot over the coming months, with his contract set to expire in two years and Aaron Wan-Bissaka enjoying a firm grip on the starting right-back berth.
Rather than keeping hold of a player with little chance of working his way back into the side, Murtough may consider selling up as a matter of priority, with the additional funds gained able to bolster United’s transfer kitty as the new season rapidly approaches.
The 48-year-old will almost certainly have his hands full this summer as the Red Devils go in search of a renewed Premier League title challenge by aiming to use the market to their advantage.
However, there are plenty of other issues lying right underneath Murtough’s nose, and he will need to deal with them appropriately in order to help Solskjaer lead United ahead of Manchester City and into the driving seat of English football once again.
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