Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Sensible Transfers: Manchester United

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Manchester United were the Premier Leagues form team

after the restart, with the acquisition of Bruno Fernandes providing impetus, creativity,

and apparently rejuvenating Paul Pogba.

United have stepped up their transfer game of late, with some astute, if expensive, acquisitions

like Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Harry Maguirewhile Ed Woodwards reputation

hasnt been entirely rehabilitated, the signs are good and United appear to be thinking

more long-term.

On the pitch, the attacking trident of Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial

has been exceptional, and United look equipped to take on anyone going forwards.

At the back, though, things are less clear.

Maguire has been good since joining from Leicester City and retains Ole Gunnar Solskjaers

confidence despite a few high-profile errors.

A long-term partner, though, is a must, someone who can match Maguires proactivity and

passing.

A left-sided centre back would be ideal, given that Maguire is right-footed; he could then

move to his more natural spot.

Both full back positions are solid, and this is unlikely to be a priority.

Nor is the goalkeeping situation.

Dean Henderson is the heir apparent to De Gea, and it should be a matter of when not

if that succession takes place.

Ahead of the back four, Nemanja Matic offers stability and leadership but hes ageing

and positional acumen can only make up for physical decline for so long.

Fred, a buzzing, pressing, recycling kind of midfielder seems the wrong fit alongside

Pogba.

United probably want more presence and aggression in that position.

Scott McTominany may be the long-term successor, but while Matic does less overall defensive

work by volume, he still makes more per 90 interceptions and ball recoveries than McTominay

and also offers more as a progressive passer from deep.

With that in mind, here are three areas Manchester United could still improve.

Our first suggestion isnt actually a pure Matic replacement, but theres good reason

to look at AZ Alkmars Teun Koopmeiners.

Only 22 but already captain of AZ, who finished a curtailed Eredivisie season in second, hes

a defensive midfielder by preference, but filled in ably at centre back.

This points to his defensive credibility but also offers versatility.

Hes positionally aware, a good one on one defender, and possesses a sumptuous left foot

as his assist for Oussama Idrissis goal against Ajax in March showed.

An alternative who brings more in defence and less in passing is 26 year-old Dominik

Kohr, the Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder.

Last season he made two interceptions and won 2.4 tackles per 90, as well as 7.8 successful

pressures.

Hes a busy defender in typical Bundesliga fashion, but that makes him good at thwarting

counters.

Hes used to playing a double pivot ahead of a three-man back line, which would require

some adjustment.

Our pick, though, is Ibrahim Sangare.

The 22 year old, 6ft 2 Toulouse midfielder is a close statistical match for Matic in

most metrics.

Hes a good passer, with 5.1 final third and 6.2 progressive passes per 90, although

his pass accuracy is lower than Matics because hes been encouraged to go longer

in a direct Toulouse team.

Defensively, he wins 2.8 tackles and makes 1.5 interceptions per 90, as well as 7.7 successful

pressuresthis marks him out as one of Ligue 1s outstanding defensive midfielders.

Interceptions are really the only area where Matic significantly betters Sangare, but United

are able to control games and press better than Toulouseand theres every reason

to suspect that Sangare will improve across all facets of the game.

Right wing is a position that United are clearly shopping for, and although Greenwood has had

an exceptional season, hes arguably a striker and adds less creatively than Solskjaer might

want.

One suggestion is the versatile Calvin Stengs, the 21 year-old AZ right winger.

A left-footed player who can also function as a striker or a 10, Stengs got five goals

and seven assists in a shortened Eredivisie season.

While Stengs is perfectly capable of beating his man and pulling back crosses, he also

likes to tuck infield and play through balls across the pitch with his left.

Hed be an interesting, multi-faceted attacker who could rotate with others in Uniteds

front four.

An alternative, less developed prospect but one with huge potential is Bodo/Glimts

Jens Petter Hauge.

The 20 year-old has scored seven and managed six assists in only 11 games and, also a Norwegian

youth international, might relish the chance to work with Solksjaer.

His touch and creativity are already excellent.

Predominantly right-footed, he can play on the left or right, and would fit Uniteds

expressed desire to bring younger, quicker players into the squad.

The Athletics pick for this position, though, is the unarguable one: Jadon Sancho.

United remain at a transfer impasse with Borussia Dortmund, with sporting director Michael Zorc

insisting that the winger will remain at the club for the current season.

Still, he's the obvious choice, and if United are able to break the negotiating deadlock

hed be an outstanding addition.

Despite the huge proposed fee, Sancho is already an elite attacker.

There is always a premium payable for English players, but United would be tying down someone

who is probably going to be the worlds best in his position for many years to come.

Assuming that United will ultimately want their captain Maguire to play in his favoured

right centre back spot, a more defensively-minded left-sided colleague is needed, albeit one

comfortable in possession.

Jordan Torunarigha of Hertha Berlin is a strong prospect: his passing is good, with 86% completion

overall and 82.9% on passes over 25 yards, and last season he made 1.9 interceptions,

2.4 blocks, and 5.7 clearances, all per 90.

Hes tall, quick, strong, and left-footed, and mostly plays on the left of a back four,

though he can play left back.

Hed probably be expensive and has had injury issues, though none last season.

Another suggestion is Freiburgs Keven Schlotterbeck, who played last season on loan at Union Berlin.

At 23 years old, he has development potential and was outstanding as Union exceeded expectations

in their first ever Bundesliga season.

Hes defensively very solid, with seven clearances, 1.8 tackles won, and 3.3 blocks

per 90.

Union play a direct game, so his passing completion is only 81% but just under half of those were

long ballsomething that wouldnt be the case at United.

Price and a potential lack of experience could hinder this, but Schlotterbeck was one of

the Bundesligas best left-sided defenders last season and is worth considering.

Our pick, though, is another Bundesliga player, Mainzs Moussa Niakhate.

At 24, hes established himself at Mainz, a club that has an excellent scouting history

- especially in France - and has captained the team.

Hes a good defensive anchor, not getting forwards too much, but he has excellent ability

on the ball too.

Last season he made 6.5 clearances, almost three tackles or interceptions won, and 1.6

blocks, all per 90.

A combination of good awareness and body position makes him a good last line of defence, which

would suit United as it Maguire whos tasked with progressing

the ball.

The Description of Sensible Transfers: Manchester United