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Opinion: The Positions In Which Manchester United Still Need To Upgrade

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 21: Manchester United players celebrae during The Emirates FA Cup Final match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Wembley Stadium on May 21, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

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After the gigantic mess of the last two summers, Manchester United are getting their business done early this year.

Already through the door are defender Eric Bailly and striker Zlatan Ibrahimović, with Armenian attacker Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the verge of being confirmed as new Manchester United manager José Mourinho’s third major signing.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 01:   (MINIMUM FEES APPLY - MINIMUM PRINT/BROADCAST FEE OF 150 GBP, ONLINE FEE OF 75 GBP, OR LOCAL EQUIVALENT) (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE)  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United poses after signing for the club at Aon Training Complex on July 1, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images)

That said, while those three signings go some way to addressing serious issues in the Man United squad, it is still not without its flaws.

A number of positions could still be improved upon, though with almost two months of the transfer window remaining, one would expect the club to remedy that situation.

Right Back

Though Matteo Darmian was signed in a £12.7m deal from Torino only last summer, the Italian international has never really convinced at Old Trafford. He has been regularly linked with a move away from the club, to the point  where it would almost be more of a surprise if he is still there when the window closes.

While Timothy Fosu-Mensah impressed when he came into the side last season – even dislodging Darmian from the role towards the season’s end – it seems highly unlikely that Mourinho will go into the new season with the 18 year old as his first choice right back.

Linked With: César Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Fabinho (Monaco)

Monaco's Brazilian defender Fabinho celebrates after scoring a penalty during the French L1 football match Monaco (ASM) vs Montpellier (MHSC) on May 14, 2016, at the Louis II stadium in Monaco. AFP PHOTO / JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET / AFP / JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET        (Photo credit should read JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET/AFP/Getty Images)


Centre Midfield

The centre of the pitch should be a very real concern for Mourinho and Manchester United going into the new season. None of Michael Carrick, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger or Marouane Fellaini had particularly stellar seasons last year, and the club could upgrade on virtually all of them (and the less said about the Wayne Rooney experiment, the better).

In fact, it would not be a surprise were they all to be sold (with the exception of Carrick) and the midfield completely revamped. Juventus star Paul Pogba is apparently the main target but even if Mourinho does land the Juventus star, he is likely to pursue other options also.

The slow, ponderous nature of that midfield is entirely at odds with the physical game that Mourinho will look to implement at the club, which is why they were being linked with Matic from day one of José appointment.

Given the multitude of midfielders linked with Man United in recent weeks, the media are fully expecting big changes in this area.

Linked With: André Gomes (Valencia), Nemanja Matic (Chelsea), Joao Mário (Sporting), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Saúl Ñíguez (Atlético), Reece Oxford (West Ham), Will Hughes (Derby), Radja Nainggolan (Roma), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Renato Sanches (Bayern), William Carvalho (Sporting), Miralem Pjanic (Juventus), Ozan Tufan (Fenerbahce)

Paul Pogba of France celebrates victory during the UEFA Euro 2016 Quarter Final between France and Iceland at Stade de France on July 3, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Nolwenn Le Gouic/Icon Sport ) (Photo by Nolwenn Le Gouic/Icon Sport via Getty Images)

Attacking Midfield/Right Wing:

Depending on where Mourinho intends to deploy Mkhitaryan, the club could be on the lookout for a new number ten. The Armenian international played in almost every midfield position at one stage or another for Dortmund last season, but his best performances arguably came on the right wing – the position from which he scored and created the most goals.

With Juan Mata looking ever more certain to depart the club, and question marks hanging over the futures of Memphis Depay and Adnan Janzaj, attacking midfield could quickly become a priority for the new Old Trafford boss if he decides that they are short on numbers, even accounting for the apparently imminent arrival of Mexican international Hirving Lozano.

Linked With: Nani (Fenerbahce), Gareth Bale (Real Mardid), Neymar (Barcelona), James Rodríguez (Real Madrid), Willian (Chelsea), Hirving Lozano (Pachucha), Sadio Mané (Liverpool), Antoine Griezmann (Atlético), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Adam Ounas (Bordeaux)

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JUNE 13:  Hirving Lozano of Mexico reacts after missing a chance to score during a group C match between Mexico and Venezuela at NRG Stadium as part of Copa America Centenario US 2016 on June 13, 2016 in Houston, Texas, US. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/LatinContent/Getty Images)

In any event, it seems that the Manchester United renovation shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.

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Author: The PA Team

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