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The Glazers, Harry Kane and Harry Maguire - What Manchester United need to do this summer to close the gap on Manchester City

The Glazers, Harry Kane and Harry Maguire - What Manchester United need to do this summer to close the gap on Manchester City

After a decent season under Erik ten Hag, Man Utd still have a long way to go until they're close to their rivals.

Erik ten Hag has had a pretty productive and solid debut season with Manchester United but there’s a lot for the Dutchman and the club to do before the difficult second album.

Ten Hag secured Champions League football and won United’s first trophy in six years when they defeated Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final.

Whilst they couldn’t get it done in the FA Cup final against rivals Manchester City, there is no doubt major strides have been made especially when compared to the ending of last year’s campaign.

But after watching City complete the Treble on Saturday, United know they've got a big summer ahead of them if they're going to narrow the gap to Pep Guardiola's team. We've outlined what needs to be done.

The most important thing

It really should be a striker but the Glazer family have allowed the sale of the club to drag on and on so deciding whose hands the future of the club belong in has to be the priority this summer.

Gary Neville rightly called out the current owners for delaying the sale and the wait for a preferred bidder is further proof of the Americans’ atrocious and toxic running of the club.

It seems like the debacle could finally be over however with reports that Sheikh Jassim has beaten Sir Jim Ratcliffe in the race to own the club.

There would be plenty issues with whoever the new owner would be and some fans will be turned off to the club by the human rights issues surrounding the Qatari.

One more practical issue might be persuading the Premier League and UEFA that the bid is not connected to PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who reportedly played a part in negotiations.

Ratcliffe outside Old Trafford. Image: Alamy
Ratcliffe outside Old Trafford. Image: Alamy

Top transfer target

As previously suggested it's a no brainer that a striker has to be top of Ten Hag's shopping list when the transfer window opens on June 16th.

Marcus Rashford scored 17 Premier League goals in the campaign but only eight of them came when he was playing as a central striker. Aside from him Anthony Martial scored six when he wasn't injured and that's just not good enough from a number nine.

Harry Kane is the obvious top target but Daniel Levy and Tottenham Hotspur are reluctant to let him go even though he's available for nothing next summer.

United can't afford to let a move for their top target drag on as they did last summer with Frenkie de Jong, even if that did end up accidentally landing them Casemiro.

They have also been linked with Randal Kolo Muani and Rasmund Hojlund but they should also look at Marcus Thuram who is available for nothing.

Or maybe the new owners will just empty the bank and try and sign Kylian Mbappe now he's told PSG that he no longer wants to be there.

United may need to look elsewhere from Kane. Image: Alamy
United may need to look elsewhere from Kane. Image: Alamy

Who needs to go

Perhaps the most important question at the club every year, with a whole lot of deadwood at Old Trafford still to be shifted, even if much of it has been chucked out in previous years.

Harry Maguire and Martial should really be top of the list but the former reportedly doesn't want to leave and the latter's current injury could make him tough to shift.

Eric Bailly and Alex Telles spent all season out on loan and should be shifted permanently, whilst the very bitter Brandon Williams has no future at the club either.

Donny van de Beek, Anthony Elanga, Scott McTominay, Fred and David de Gea could all realistically be let go if there was enough time and money to replace them all.

Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo could both probably do with going out on loan, unless Ten Hag has plans to use them regularly.

This summer should be the end of the road for Martial. Image: Alamy
This summer should be the end of the road for Martial. Image: Alamy

Other additions

United look determined to sign Mason Mount from Chelsea and he'll certainly be more mobile than Christian Eriksen, who struggled to get back to his best post injury.

If it's not Mount then there's little doubt that the team still needs to add a quality midfielder to play alongside Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes.

A right back looks less likely than previously with Aaron Wan-Bissaka having a bit of a comeback and Diogo Dalot signing a new deal.

Kim Min-jae looks like he's Ten Hag's number one target at centre back and a goalkeeper is a must have, even if De Gea stays. Fans are desperate for Andre Onana to sign rather than Jordan Pickford.

United want to sign Mount. Image: Alamy
United want to sign Mount. Image: Alamy

One more thing

United won't want to compare themselves to Arsenal but they have to at least acknowledge the work that Mikel Arteta has done in north London.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway for the 13 times Premier League winners is how the Gunners have done it with such a young squad.

United don't have to go that far but they're probably still a few years away from really challenging for the title consistently so need to think about lowering the age of their squad, especially with the likes of Casemiro, Eriksen and Raphael Varane making up their spine.

It's one of the issues around pushing for Kane rather than going for someone younger, especially as the team's recent strikers have been Edinson Cavani, Cristiano Ronaldo and Odion Ighalo.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Spotlight, Manchester United, Manchester United Transfer News & Rumours, Transfers, Erik Ten Hag, Premier League, Mason Mount, Harry Kane, Harry Maguire