Manchester United’s summer transfer window will be one of the most intriguing of all the Premier League clubs given their struggle this season, and BBC journalist David Ornstein has already dropped some major hints about their strategy while speaking to Radio 5 Live.
Fans, journalists and pundits are unlikely to be flustered by the argument that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should eviscerate the entire United squad this summer.
Such is the enormity of the club’s decline in recent years, and in particular in recent weeks, serious questions are starting to be asked about the glaring structural and ideological problems at Old Trafford.
Clearly a squad shake up is likely to be on the agenda this summer and Ornstein suggested that the Red Devils will seek to bolster their options in central defence, with Serie A star Kalidou Koulibaly firmly on their radar, per 5 Live Sport (19:40).
“One of their priorities is at centre-half as we know. Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli I’m told they love him. The only problem with that is at that he’s extremely expensive.
“Napoli dont need to sell. I think in 2021 he has a buyout clause of 150 million euros (£130m) and he’s got a few years left on his contract.
“So either they’ll be looking for a younger talent in that position who can emerge to make that position his own or somebody proven.”
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It’s of little surprise that United are huge admirers of the Senegal international but that interest is a concerning sign for supporters.
The club have pumped hundreds of millions into squad recruitment in recent years, luring the likes of Paul Pogba, Fred, Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial to Manchester in financially draining deals.
But, as it has been thoroughly documented throughout the media this season, investment has provoked regression rather than progression and the gulf in class between the Red Devils and their local-rivals Manchester City has never been wider.
Ornstein’s admission that United love Koulibaly may be greeted with excitement amongst some sections of supporters but, considering the enormity of his release clause in 2021, it’s incredibly unlikely they’ll be able to sign him for anything close to resembling fair value.
The problem for United is that their culture of heavy spending has created a toxic environment at the club, so they must avoid falling into a familiar trap and swerve a foolish bid for Koulibaly.
If Woodward and Solskjaer have any sense they’ll transform United’s transfer policy this summer.