Manchester United have started the process of preparing for next season with some useful purchases. Both defence and midfield certainly required reinforcements, and so far, that’s what has been strengthened; the purchases of FC Porto’s Diogo Dalot and Shakhtar Donestk’s Fred point to a clear determination to improve Jose Mourinho’s options, and so far, United’s business has been good.
Doubts still remain on the team’s attack, however. Romelu Lukaku notched 27 goals, and Jesse Lingard had his most prolific season as a United player, but Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez struggled for form. The Frenchman’s agent has also revealed that his client wishes to leave Old Trafford, meaning that Mourinho may need to strengthen at the top end of the pitch this summer, too.
Several targets have been mentioned this summer, including Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale and Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi. Reports have surfaced of a target a little closer to home, however.
The Daily Mail are reporting that United are targeting Chelsea’s Willian, with a £60m bid reportedly being prepared to bring the Brazilian to Old Trafford. The 29-year old made only 20 Premier League starts under Antonio Conte, and is known to have a frosty relationship with the Italian manager, something that United could exploit.
The issue with such a story is how likely United are willing to splash out such a huge fee on a player approaching his 30s. Last summer, the club refused to meet Intern’s valuation for Ivan Perisic, due to the Croatian’s age and limited resale value, and presumably, United’s hierarchy would rather splash out on a younger target of a higher calibre. Willian certainly has a Premier League pedigree after five years at Stamford Bridge, but £60m is a huge fee to throw at the London club for his services. Still, if Martial does leave, then the funds may be available to bring the former Shakhtar Donetsk man to Manchester.