Man Utd's summer transfer plans made clear after failing to meet trophy target

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With a new permanent manager arriving, potentially nine players leaving and a long list of summer transfer targets, there could be another summer of turnover at Manchester United. The club are desperate to end their long-running trophy drought, which will stretch to five years after their recent Champions League exit.

Ralf Rangnick’s side had battled to earn a 1-1 draw away at Atletico Madrid after Anthony Elanga’s equaliser in Madrid. But the Red Devils fell short in the return fixture, succumbing to Renan Lodi’s strike to dump them out of Europe at the round of 16 knockout stage. It represents another disappointing season for Man United, a club that appears to be taking on step forward and two steps back far too often. It is but confirms that United will miss out on silverware again this season, with their last success coming in the 2016-17 Europa League final.

It is a far cry from the trophy-laden days spent under Sir Alex Ferguson. The legendary Scot’s achievements included 13 Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues and five FA Cups during his 27-year spell at Old Trafford. Since his retirement in 2013, the club have won just three trophies.

Former Tottenham and England striker Darren Bent slammed the state of the current United squad, insisting it requires a major overhaul this summer as the team are some way short of challenging for the Premier League title: “They are miles away. I said five years the other day but it could even be more like eight years,” he told Talksport.

READ MORE: Man Utd ‘line up summer target’ but face Arsenal and Newcastle battle

When asked which players he would sell this summer, Bent listed a number of star names who have regularly featured under Solskjaer and Rangnick this season, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Edinson Cavani, Fred, Paul Pogba and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

“The ones you keep are [David] de Gea, you keep [Raphael] Varane,” he added. “You need a new right-back, I think. I don’t think Scott] McTominay is good enough but he’s own of your own. Building-wise? Nope. You keep [Jadon] Sancho. Ronaldo has got to to go. Cavani has got to go. [Anthony] Martial has got to go. [Marcus] Rashford is the one where, if the new manager fancies him, there’s something there. If he can get that best out of him then you keep him because he’s young.”

It speaks to the current perception of United’s lack of quality, not just from club legends but from outsiders too. United have spent £400m across the past three seasons with nothing to show for their investment. As it stands, United are also in danger of missing out on a top-four finish to Arsenal and such a scenario would be devastating to their chances of luring world-class talent to Old Trafford.

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While the club can rely on their reputation and financial power to attract the stars of today and tomorrow, players of Erling Haaland’s ilk will go elsewhere because of their inability to guarantee trophies and Champions League football.

The club have targeted a list of players who would be wanted by any of Europe’s elite, which include star midfield duo Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice. Instead, they may have to settle for buying players with room to develop, like Christopher Nkunku and Ryan Gravenberch, which may suit their next manager — be it Erik ten Hag or Mauricio Pochettino — but may not necessarily guarantee them instant success.

The club have spent hundreds of millions trying to find the right formula to get back to the glory days, but are still falling short. Many United fans would lay the blame at the feet of former executive vice chairman Ed Woodward. But with Woodward now gone and their run without a trophy growing ever longer, there can be no more room for failure this summer.



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