Manchester United again drew at home, this time a 1-1 result against lowly West Ham. A 4th successive league draw at home will obviously disappoint the manager and fans alike. But to everyone’s disappointment, Mourinho was sent off for the second time in his United career in the first half of the game against West Ham after kicking a bottle following Pogba being booked for simulation.
Clearly, things are in of an upward swerve of fortunes and Mourinho must deliver. The squad has looked quite thin in recent times and not all Manchester United players are performing up to their marks. So it will be necessary for Mourinho to entice Ed Woodward into spending the big bucks again. Having already done so hugely in the summer, it’s unclear if Mourinho will be afforded the cash again, but nevertheless here are a few players he should target in order to get Manchester United’s season back on track.
The Portugal international, who has 1 cap to his name scored a wonder goal against Besiktas in a recent 3-3 Europa League draw. Aged 23, he has been putting consistent performances for his club Benfica in recent times. Such form has seen him linked with a move to a bigger club. Manchester United, in particular, have shown an interest in signing him. They are in need of defensive re-enforcements as Mourinho has struggled to choose between Darmian and Valencia. Although Valencia has started most of the games, he is still a winger, whose attacking side of the game is much better than the defensive side.
Such issues have seen them being linked with a move for Semedo, who has many years at the top ahead of him. Manchester United could just do with that kind of longevity and stability. Not since the days of Jaap Stam and Gary Neville have they had marauding defenders who can influence games. Brazilian Rafael looked like he could have been the answer to those troubles for a while, but he too has perished and moved to French football where he lines up for Olympique Lyon now. Semedo, who has shown great qualities this season, is ever so effective going forward, but it’s on the defensive side where he has shown his brilliance too. Manchester United must move for him before any other club does. The club lost out on Renato Sanches when the teenager moved to Bayern Munich from Benfica and they will want to avoid a repeat of that.
Lindelof is a Swedish international who is also in the ranks of Benfica and has been there since 2012. Last season, the 22-year-old made quite a lot of appearances for Benfica as he matured into a tough-tackling centre-back with excellent positioning. Such performances have put him on the radar of quite a few big clubs around Europe. Centre backs of real quality are hard to come by, but Lindelof looks like a sure bet, wherever he moves.
He was also on the receiving end of a few praises that were sung by Swedish legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who said Lindelof was “ready for a big club like Manchester United”. It might have been an endorsement for his compatriot to get a bigger move, but it is something Lindelof has earned with the good performances he has delivered off late. He has truly established himself as a first choice in Benfica and it’s only a matter of time before a big club snaps him up. United definitely want to be that team and nurture his talents like they did with Vidic. The Serbian was picked at a young age from Russian football and didn’t look back as he went onto to skipper the club to a league success a few years later. Lindelof is definitely capable of such progress, but only time will tell. He is also versatile as he is able to slot in at right back too if and when needed.
There’s been a lot made of Manchester United’s failures in the attacking front. Wayne Rooney is no longer the player he once was, whereas Ibrahimovic too isn’t getting any younger and quicker. Rashford for all his brilliance is still raw and needs a lot of time to develop. Martial’s form too has been very patchy for a player who cost that much. Clearly, United need a striker in the January window to help them out.
Such needs have taken them to Turin, where an Italian international in the form of Andrea Belotti has been racking up the goals for Torino. He has also scored in his recent appearances for the national team. The fact that he is the only player in Europe’s top 5 leagues to have 3+ left footed goals, 3+ right footed goals and 3+ headed goals, shows that he is a goal scorer with some quality. He is a real fox in the box and that is exactly the kind of player United are missing. They missed a trick when they sold Javier Hernandez on, who has gone onto become a big success in German football with Bayer Leverkusen. Belotti is a player that fits the bill for United and they should look to make a move for him as he has several suitors who are all in awe of his talents. He is also an incredible hard-worker on the pitch and employs the defending from the front tactic to good effect.