After the international break, games will be coming thick and fast as Manchester United seek to add the FA Cup and the Europa League trophies to the already conquered Carabao Cup.
Manager Erik ten Hag has transformed the club in a very short span of time but as he himself admitted recently, there is a lot of scope for improvement.
That is especially important if the club are to continue in their upward trajectory and win the big prizes like the Premier League and the Champions League.
Defence needs upgrading
This season’s challenge petered out after the Red Devils lost their big away games against the top clubs — Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.
The defence ended up conceding a whopping 16 goals in those three games and it is safe to say that the Dutch boss needs more quality at the back.
World Cup winners Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez have been Ten Hag’s go-to defensive partnership and there is a discernible drop-off in terms of quality when the duo are not in action.
Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire‘s stocks have fallen dramatically under the Dutch manager and there have been reports that the duo could be offloaded in the summer.
And that potentially opens up the possibility of bringing in a new central defender ahead of next season.
The likes of Napoli’s Kim Min-jae, Ajax star Jurrien Timber, Benfica’s Antonio Silva and Monaco star Axel Disasi have all been linked with a potential move.
Inacio says no to Newcastle, United to take advantage
According to O Jogo (via Sport Witness), Sporting Lisbon’s Gonçalo Inácio is attracting interest from both United and Newcastle while the Portuguese club are trying to increase the defender’s release clause.
“Sporting are having a hard time renewing the 21-year-old’s contract. They want to raise his €45m release clause to something between €60m and €80m, to feel more protected about his sale, but an agreement is far from reached.”
The 21-year-old is eyeing a move to ‘top European club’, with Newcastle already approaching him. But the Portugal U-21 international was ‘not interested’ in Newcastle’s project.
Inacio is ‘confident’ of a bigger move in the future with United said to be ‘attentive’ to a possible move. Being a left-footed centre-back capable of passing out from the back makes him the perfect Martinez understudy.
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