Next month, Manchester United will open their 2023/24 Premier League season at home against Wolves. The Red Devils will aim to get off to a quick start.
United hope to close the distance on the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal in the Premier League standings during the upcoming season, following a successful debut campaign under manager Erik ten Hag. After a season in the Europa League, Liverpool will also contend in the Champions League.
Ten Hag and his players face the possibility of another lengthy and arduous season, so they must make the most of their preseason preparation time. In addition to having eight friendlies to play before the August 14 season opener, United has a great deal of work to do in the transfer market.
The Reds have added one new face to Ten Hag’s squad thus far, acquiring Mason Mount from Chelsea for £60 million. He has signed an initial five-year contract with the club.
John Murtough, United’s football director, is already in negotiations with Inter Milan and Atalanta to sign goalkeeper Andre Onana and striker Rasmus Hojlund, respectively. David de Gea’s departure announcement on Saturday compelled Ten Hag to pursue a first-choice goalkeeper in addition to his top priority of acquiring a striker this summer.
While it is undeniable that United must strengthen Ten Hag’s first-choice starting lineup, they must also add sufficient depth. At the same time, however, they must cut their cloth accordingly and dispose of several squad members who are unlikely to be a part of Ten Hag’s future plans.
Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams, Donny van de Beek, Jadon Sancho, and Fred are among those at risk of being shown the exit door, despite the fact that getting rid of them is simpler said than done. United need organizations willing to take them off their hands, but they have not been particularly cooperative thus far.
However, if the rate of outgoings accelerates, United will use a portion of the funds generated from sales to continue bolstering the team. In addition to attempting to sign Onana and Hojlund, United has also expressed interest in Urawa Red Diamonds’ highly regarded goalkeeper Zion Suzuki.
Although the Reds have not yet made an offer for Suzuki’s signature, they have held discussions with his agent. United intend to recruit two goalkeepers, as reported by the Manchester Evening News prior to confirmation of De Gea’s departure, so Suzuki and Onana could join Onana at Old Trafford before the transfer window closes on September 1.
If United exits the transfer window with Onana, Suzuki, Mount, and Hojlund, it will have been a productive summer, although some may query whether Hojlund is the elite-level striker they intended to acquire. Nonetheless, each of the aforementioned quartet would enhance the squad and improve the deficient positions.
If Onana were to be acquired, he would immediately become the club’s first-choice goalkeeper, leaving Tom Heaton and Suzuki to compete for second place. Mount will presumably replace Christian Eriksen in Ten Hag’s three-man midfield, whereas Hojlund will almost certainly become United’s starting striker.
In light of all of this, here is how Ten Hag’s ideal squad could look once the transfer window closes, assuming United sign Onana, Suzuki, and Hojlund, and offload some of their fringe players:
Goalkeepers: Andre Onana, Tom Heaton, Zion Suzuki, Nathan Bishop.
Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, Alvaro Fernandez.
Midfielders: Casemiro, Mason Mount, Christian Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes, Scott McTominay, Kobbie Mainoo.
Attackers: Antony, Jadon Sancho, Amad, Ramus Hojlund, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho.