The January transfer window might only have closed two weeks ago, but Manchester United are already dominating gossip columns in regards to the summer ahead.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have only played once since the market closed a fortnight ago and yet their biggest issues for the summer are already being underlined.
Bruno Fernandes has lifted the club both on and off the pitch, which certainly bodes well for his role in the team in the months ahead. Time will tell how inspired a deadline day signing Odion Igahlo was.
The Nigerian is already at a disadvantage having missed out on the club’s warm weather training camp in Marbella and is instead battling horrendous weather in Manchester as he looks to prove his fitness in time for a debut next week.
Solskjaer has already confirmed Ighalo will be in the squad for Monday’s trip to Chelsea and a cameo appearance from the bench seems likely. It is against Club Brugge in the Europa League three days later when he is likely to make his first start.
Ighalo approaches his United debut in odd circumstances. He’s a boyhood fan who supporters have warmed to but the club do not expect him to be around any longer than the five-month loan deal he has signed.
In desperate need of a striker last month the club were happy to press pause on their ‘cultural reset’ by signing a 30 – year-old striker , but at the end of the season focus will once again switch to signing the brightest young talent in Europe.
Timo Werner, Lautaro Martinez and Paulo Dybala have all been linked with a move in the summer but it could be Lyon forward Moussa Dembele who best fits the role which will become available to him at Old Trafford. United sources confirmed the club explored the possibility of signing three strikers last month and French forward Dembele is believed to have been one of those under consideration.
United will again look at strengthening their forward line once the season comes to an end and it seems unfathomable the – year-old won’t be explored as a possibility.
Not only has the former Celtic player netted an impressive 90 goals in less than two years at Lyon but his reputation as a recognized central striker proves he can offer something different to the attack as a main focal point.
Experience playing in regular European competition also ticks an extra box in his favor and there are murmurings in his homeland that the forward could yet make the France squad for this summer’s European Championship.
An oddly compelling argument for United signing Dembele is that, due to his upbring ing at Fulham, he would qualify as a homegrown addition to the United squad, future proofing him against any potential issues following Brexit. It has been suggested the FA could look to reduce the number of overseas players in each Premier League squad from 30 to 17, something which would naturally hamper any upcoming transfer activity.
United will look to bolster their options again in the summer with another midfielder just as high on their list at this moment in time. The impact of both Fernandes and Ighalo in the coming weeks will likely define which position becomes the priority in the summer window, and if a forward is deemed a necessity then a larger budget for that role would presumably be granted.
The United fan base will be willing for Ighalo to succeed during his short-spell at Old Trafford, but even if he does, it might prove exactly why someone like Dembele is an essential this summer.