Manchester United’s preparations for the next season are happening for some time now. The friendly matches they will play in the United States are scheduled and possible transfer targets are being monitored. In a season where United could at most get an FA Cup victory, ways for improving themselves next season lay in the overall quality of the squad Jose Mourinho will have.
That means the Devils need to improve the number of high quality players in their squad. Of course, these are all very good players currently in the squad, but there are a few things that indicate some of them are not on necessary levels. First of them is the amount of playing time players got.
Most Playing Time Shared Amongst Small Core Of Players
There are only 14 players that played over 1000 minutes this season in Premier League. That is a regular XI with the three substitutes, but is that enough? Sure, Alexis Sanchez has not played that much because he is at the club since January. Yet, he was part of a transfer in which Henrikh Mkhitaryan went the other way and the two of them combined have around 1600 minutes to their names.
Still, even if you count that as 15 players, it is not that much. Eric Bailly missed most of the season through injury while all the other players were either not good enough or, in case of Scott McTominay, got the chance here and there due to age and lack of experience.
When you look at players like Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Marouane Fellaini, it is obvious they are not of the quality United need right now. Fellaini and Rojo can do a job here and there, but they are not truly the players that will get too much playing time or any real effect on how United play.
That is why Manchester United need to bring in a bigger number of players than they usually do. Mourinho might like using smaller squads, but with his team expected to play almost 60 matches – if they are truly to progress far in most of the competitions – United will need a ‘longer bench’.
A Different Approach In The Market Is Necessary
Mourinho could do with more options in his squad and this transfer window should be a good opportunity to get the most out of it. Several players will leave, several new ones should come in and maybe even a couple more, to improve the numbers. Mentions of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Antoine Griezmann and Paulo Dybala are all nice and well, but United are not in need of a panic, big money buys. At least in the manner they did in last two years.
They need to spend money on bigger number of players and wise solutions will be necessary if the club is not to spend too heavily. Players like Milinkovic-Savic will be extremely expensive and while United could pay that much, there is no need to do something similar to when they bought Pogba. Another way of thinking should be applied and players like Danny Rose or Toby Maguire could be decent solutions for strengthening the squad, if United are able to get them at a reasonable price.