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Four Players Manchester United Could Realistically Sign This Summer

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Manchester United

Given their colossal status, Manchester United are constantly linked with the superstar names of world football. 

Whether it is the annual Gareth Bale rumour, capturing the newest young star, or the half-baked yearly reports of a Cristiano Ronaldo return - United will forever be in the transfer headlines. The rumours rarely become a reality, though. Other than the recent signings of Bruno Fernandes and Harry Maguire, none of the completed transfers are those which have lived up to high profile expectations set by the constant reports. 

In the past, the rumours weren’t too bad. United were one of football’s most successful clubs so it didn’t seem unfeasible that they would sign all the biggest stars, no different to the likes of Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Unfortunately, the reality now is that United aren’t as successful as they once were, and players who join know they are signing up to a rebuilding process, rather than adding to continued success. Other than their history there is no real reason, at least in a competitive sense, for anybody to move to the Red Devils, if there are better options.

The same names are lazily thrown around in the gossip columns year in, year out. Sure, United's gargantuan status may attract Gareth Bale and Harry Kane, but are those transfers realistic? There are plenty of players out there who are much more feasible candidates to line up for United next year.

Here, we will look at who United can realistically sign this summer.

Jadon Sancho to Manchester United

Undoubtedly United’s number one transfer target, Jadon Sancho has been a phenomenon since he left Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund two years ago.

His statistics say it all. 17 goals and 19 assists this season is an unbelievable return for a young player, and his performances over the past two years have barely been rivalled by fellow teenagers.

Having just turned 20, the sky is the limit for Sancho, and it is no surprise that United are so heavily linked with him. Not only would they be gaining a current star, but a young Englishman with almighty potential, as well. He would be joining fellow England teammates Maguire, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford and would feel at home amongst his international colleagues, eliminating the settling in period often seen with big transfers.

The highly sought after winger won’t come cheap, of course. His fee will likely exceed £100 million, when taking into account his age, nationality, United's desire to get him and his ability. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer surely won't hesitate in putting the money on the table, though, having already broke a world-record fee for a defender with Maguire.

Indeed United are too often linked to the stars they can't obtain, but this transfer is there to be done. Sancho is more than ready for his Premier League return and the Red Devils looks to be the ideal destination, with the spots at Liverpool occupied and a return to City unlikely. It has been reported that the London-born was raised a Chelsea fan, and a bid from the Blues will undoubtedly throw a spanner in the works.

Chelsea and United right now are at a similar level, with both clubs in a youthful rebuilding phase and competing for the top four, rather than the title. Although, the London side's recent transfer ban might restrict them in putting a £100m+ bid in.

Paddy Power are currently offering odds of 11/10 for a move to United to go through, and as each day passes it is looking more likely that Sancho will be making Old Trafford his new home.

Kalidou Koulibaly to Manchester United

United’s defence has been earmarked for a defensive overhaul for a while now. Whilst Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka last summer have been incredible additions, there is still something missing, as doubts continue to grow over Victor Lindelof, whilst Eric Bailly is as injury-prone as they come. Lindelof has looked good on occasions, but his inconsistencies mean that United have lacked a proper leader and stable defensive partner for Maguire. 

In this sense, Kalidou Koulibaly is the name mentioned the most and rightfully so. The Napoli man is regarded as one of the best centre-backs in the world, just behind the likes of Virgil van Dijk, and United fans will be hoping he could have a similar effect to what the Dutchman did at Anfield.

As per usual, this isn't a new transfer rumour. Koulibaly has been linked to United for years now, but problems at Napoli this season have indicated his time in Italy might finally be coming to an end, making a move to Manchester more realistic. The Blues have only moved up the table to sixth due to a late show of impressive form, but still remain nine points of a Champions League spot.

The Senegal international won’t be cheap, of course, and at first glance, a big-money move might look risky for a man turning 29 in the summer. Make no mistake about it, however, Koulibaly is still a very commanding centre-back and his age shouldn’t be a problem when you consider van Dijk is only a month younger and continues to move Liverpool into unparalleled success.

At 27, Maguire will be a fantastic centre-back at United for years to come. Koulibaly is exactly the kind of presence needed to accompany the former Leicester man and is just what United need to solidify their defence and move them back up the table.

This transfer does look possible, although it's tough to see both a Koulibaly deal and a Sanho deal being completed in one window. Such transfers could end up pushing United past the £150m mark, which doesn't just perk up the ears of Financial Fair Play, it most certainly eliminates their budget, considering the owners' grim affairs.

Jack Grealish to Manchester United

Long gone are the days where Jack Grealish was just a player ridiculed for his behaviour off the pitch. The Aston Villa star has turned into an outstanding player and captain for the Villains and it’s quite surprising that he is yet to be included in Gareth Southgate’s plans, with the rise of James Maddison perhaps the only thing pushing him away from being a full-time England international.

This transfer makes sense in the idea that United sometimes lack creativity in midfield and Grealish has bags of it. Despite playing for relegation-battling Villa, he has seven goals and eight assists in the league this season. His impact is clear to see, and if Villa do go down, a deal could be even easier and cheaper to secure.

On the other hand, United’s most recent singing of Fernandes has massively helped with some of their creativity troubles, which has shut down many rumours on this one. However, there is still great uncertainty over Paul Pogba’s future, and selling him in the summer would allow for more budget on the likes of Grealish.

A move to United would surely also be in the best interests of Grealish himself. The 24-year-old won't want to be the Championship again if Villa head back down, despite his undying love for his boyhood club. Offers to clubs competing in Europe, the increased wage and keeping on the radar of Southgate will all be very helpful factors in favour of this deal going through.

Simply put, if an offer goes through from United, it's tough to see him saying no. At the same time, Villa's spend of just short of £150m has been an utter disaster. For a club of their stature to spend such extraordinary amounts must pay off, and it hasn't - this may force the owners to consider a hefty sale.

The transfer looks ideal for both parties and doesn’t look unrealistic for a second, and if Villa are relegated, a move very much looks to be on the cards.  

Timo Werner

Harry Kane will be the striker on every United fans' lips. The Manchester club have always, and will always, be linked to signing the Tottenham Hotspur talisman, with his eye for a goal arguably the best in England. However, considering Kane will cost an astronomical fee, the deal remains very unlikely, especially with the lure of Real Madrid.

It has already been made clear that Kane will cost around the £200 million mark and can United really afford to be spending that on one player? Not only that, but Daniel Levy will undoubtedly make it hard work for any rival club trying to sign his man, meaning £200 million to anyone else could mean £250 million for United.

Instead, if United really are in the market for a new talisman to replace Romelu Lukaku from last season, then they should perhaps set their sights on Timo Werner. The RB Leipzig striker has scored 21 goals in just 25 league games this season. His talent is undeniable and this is the reason a host of European clubs have set their sights on him, including rival Liverpool.

Many could argue that United don’t necessarily need a new striker, as they already have Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood at their disposal. Interestingly though, this argument doesn’t crop up when it is Kane being talked about.

United don’t have a reliable, out-and-out number nine and that is exactly why Werner should be in consideration for Solskjaer. Rashford and Martial are both great players but neither one is a typical striker and both have seemed to do much better on the wings.

With rivals Liverpool ranked has heavy favourites, United are seen as having an outside chance of snapping Werner up - Paddy Power rating their chances at 6/1. However, when the Kane dream subsides, the German is a very realistic target and well worth consideration. Werner's goalscoring record is not that dissimilar from Kane in the past year and will likely cost at least half the price. At the same time, Leipzig may be moving forward, but they are far from a club of United's stature, and an offer from them would be tough to turn down.

If United truly want to secure a new number nine, Werner looks an ideal candidate. The Red Devils may be seen as outsiders in the race for his signature, but he is a very realistic target and worth keeping an eye on.

By Jak Richardson