Manchester United v Everton: Match in pictures
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Manchester United have reportedly already earmarked their top target for the 2022 summer transfer window. It is in a bid to satisfy boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, after the Red Devils failed to address one of his priorities in the window just gone.
United signed Tom Heaton, Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo over July and August.
Those additions addressed Solskjaer demands for upgrades on the right wing and a centre-back, with Ronaldo an unplanned move.
But the Red Devils’ business failed to provide a solution for arguably the biggest problem with Solskjaer’s squad.
That is in central midfield, where the options of Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic are holding the Red Devils back.
Solskjaer is thought to be keen to transition to a 4-3-3 formation, but is unable to do so as he does not trust any of his current defensive midfielders to play in the sole holding role.
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That is set to see United turn to the transfer market in a bid to finally solve the issue, with next summer’s window likely the time it will take place.
According to the Manchester Evening News, the Red Devils are certain to target a new midfield signing in 2022.
The report states that Solskjaer had accepted he was unlikely to see a new midfielder added to his squad in the summer window just gone, with winger and centre-back higher priorities.
It is also claimed that the lack of an offer for Paul Pogba was another obstacle, though with the Frenchman set to depart when his contract expires, a replacement will be needed.
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The MEN go on to claim that United were also unconvinced there was an attainable high-quality defensive midfield option.
But things are set to be different next summer, with a new defensive midfielder becoming United’s top priority.
And the MEN report that the Red Devils have “already earmarked” West Ham star Declan Rice as their top target.
United had been keen to sign Rice this summer, but they baulked at the Hammers’ valuation of the Englishman.
Rice’s contract runs until the summer of 2024, which allowed West Ham to name a high price last summer.
But the 22-year-old is unlikely to sign a new deal to stay at the London Stadium, having already rejected at least two contract offers.
If Rice does only have two years on his contract, the pressure will be on West Ham to sell, with next summer being the final window in which they can realistically bring in a high fee.
That will certainly suit United, who, by signing Rice, would finally satisfy one of Solskjaer’s biggest transfer demands.
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