Bryan Robson has given his verdict on a number of player linked with a summer move to Manchester United as Erik ten Hag looks to bolster his squad.
Speaking to The Daily Mail, the United legend began with the obvious: Jude Bellingham.
“Whoever buys Bellingham is getting the best all-round midfielder in Europe,” he said. “He can do everything. He’s quick, has great energy, is brave on the ball and has a goal in him too. He drives teams forward and is a leader. I really like him, a top, top player.”
The Borussia Dortmund man is one of the hottest properties in Europe and it would take some doing to bring him to Old Trafford.
With United having other positions in dire need of reinforcement, the expected 150m fee Bellingham would command makes him seem an unlikely target this summer, but it is nevertheless no surprise that he gets Robson’s seal of approval.
Another England international likely to go for big money in the next transfer window is West Ham United’s Declan Rice, a player Captain Marvel believes is being underutilized at club level.
“West Ham have him reined in behind Soucek and I believe he can play more advanced. He is very careful with the ball. Norman Whiteside and I used to have competitions on who lost the ball the least and Rice would do well in that. Has great stamina.”
That is high praise indeed, although barring a disastrous end to the season for the Hammers (and the avoidance of a bidding war for a player wanted by England’s elite clubs), Rice would be another whose price tag could be a deterrent for the Red Devils.
In recent week, Alexis Mac Allister has been linked with a host of top clubs, and Robson believies the player is, “growing with confidence.
“Winning a World Cup will help, not that I’d ever know! Great going forward, gets in great areas and is good on set pieces. Splits defences with his passing.”
Mac Allister could perhaps fill a role similar to the one Marcel Sabitzer has during his loan spell, albeit with time on his side. Brighton have proven themselves to be no pushovers when it comes to selling players, however, and it is questionable whether the Argentine is the profile of midfielder Ten Hag is looking to prioritise.
Away from the players mooted with big transfer fees, Robson highlights Youri Tielemens as, “An absolutely brilliant free transfer.
“He has Premier League and international experience; you rarely see him have a bad game. Gets some decent goals which are often spectacular and is a good athlete.”
The Belgian’s contract situation will foster plenty of competition for his signature and United will surely be assessing his suitability to Ten Hag’s side. Given his passing ability in deep areas, Tielemans would certainly have come in handy for the games Christian Eriksen has missed this season.
The final United-linked player assessed by Bryan Robson was Ruben Neves, who he deems, a “Very intelligent footballer, really good, incisive passer of the ball from all over the pitch and scores some terrific goals.”
That certainly sound like a player Man United could find a use for. With his penchant for sitting deep Neves could potentially provide cover for Casemiro, upon whom the team has become increasingly dependent, while also being an option to play alongside the Brazilian – particular in tough matches or away from home.