James Maddison and Jack Grealish in midfield with Bruno Fernandes? How Manchester United could look with their summer transfer targets
Feb. 13, 2020
It’s been another season to forget for Manchester United.
Although the Europa League and FA Cup still provide a shot at silverware, there is an overwhelming feeling that the season has again been a disappointment for the 20-time league champions.
United languish eighth in the Premier League, with fewer than half the points of table-topping Liverpool, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side face a battle to seal Champions League qualification.
However, there is one thing to be positive about if you’re a Red Devil and that is the signing of Bruno Fernandes.
The Portugal star had a quietly impressive debut in United’s 0-0 stalemate with Wolves and if he hits the ground running quickly he could become a real talisman for the club.
And according to under-fire United chief Ed Woodward, there could be several more additions at Old Trafford in the summer,
Woodward said on Monday: “Our recruitment process focuses on analysis and selection of players over the course of a season, with a view to the following summer transfer window. As part of the rebuild we see this coming summer as an important opportunity.”
The Sun report that Woodward will spend more than £160m in the market, but who has been linked with a summer move to United and how could the XI look with their targets?
Marash Kumbulla (Verona)
According to recent reports in Italy, United are keeping tabs on Verona defender Kumbulla with the view to a making a summer bid for the Albania international.
The 20-year-old has been a commanding presence at the back for the Serie A outfit this season and his impressive displays have seen several top European clubs monitor his progress.
It is believed Man City, Liverpool and German side Borussia Dortmund have all expressed interest so Woodward and Co will have to tie up a deal for the defender swiftly.
And if he was signed it would likely spell bad news for Victor Lindelof in the XI, with question remarks still remaining over the consistency of the Swede in the back four.
Kumbulla, who has been capped once by his country, would occupy the right side of a defensive partnership with Harry Maguire.
And if signed it will surely put an end to the defensive woes that have troubled the club so much since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)
Speculation continues to mount about the future of the Villa captain, who has dazzled throughout the season with some eye-catching performances.
Villa Park chiefs will certainly try to convince their playmaker to stay if they remain in the Premier League, but the lure of a lucrative contract at United could prove too strong.
Grealish has been the club’s most important player on their return to the Premier League this season, netting seven goals and adding five assists in 23 appearances.
Unsurprisingly, the more he shines, the more Villa will demand for his services, and it is believed the Red Devils will be asked to pay in excess of £60m to sign the 24-year-old.
According to The Sun, Grealish and Leicester ace James Maddison are both prime targets in the summer and the former will likely be deployed on the wing if both players are signed.
James Maddison (Leicester)
It seems strange that United would target both Maddison and Grealish in the summer, given they have already signed Bruno Fernandes in that position and already have Paul Pogba in their ranks.
However, it is believed they are targeting the English midfielders as they brace themselves for life without Pogba next season.
Maddison and Fernandes will play alongside eachother as box-to-box midfielders, with Scott McTominay providing cover in front of the back four behind them.
Solskjaer has been crying out for goalscoring midfielders and signing Maddison will certainly add creativity to his ranks – although it may come at the expense of Pogba.
The World Cup winner is desperate to leave the club and a return to Juventus or link up with compatriot Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid has been mooted.
Maddison, therefore, is the third player Solskjaer wants to sign to complete a star-studded midfield.
The England international has done ever so well for the Foxes ever since his move from Norwich in 2018, netting 13 goals and adding ten assists in 59 Premier League appearances.
It is believed United are preparing a £90m offer to bring Maddison to Old Trafford, where he will be offered a £200k-a-week salary at the club – double his current earnings at Leicester.
Have a look at the full Man United line up, below…