“Manchester United’s 2023 Transfer Priorities: Reinforcing the Spine”
Manchester United’s transfer priorities for the upcoming summer are becoming increasingly evident, and the landscape has shifted since the arrival of Casemiro last year. United’s relentless pursuit of Frenkie de Jong, coupled with some early-season struggles, has highlighted the need for reinforcements in key positions.
Last summer, manager Erik ten Hag expressed a strong desire to sign Frenkie de Jong, but circumstances led to the acquisition of Casemiro from Real Madrid. Casemiro’s impact was immediate and impressive, bolstering the team’s defense and delivering standout performances throughout the season.
Despite initial concerns about signing a 30-year-old for £70 million on a four-year contract, Casemiro quickly became a fan favorite. However, the current season has seen a different side of Casemiro, with his performances falling short of the high standards he set last year.
Casemiro’s regression has been particularly noticeable in the opening matches of this campaign. He has looked a step behind in various aspects of his play, failing to anticipate plays as an elite defensive midfielder should. Ten Hag’s decision to replace Casemiro with Christian Eriksen during the Brentford match underscored the need for more dynamism and passing in the midfield.
While it’s worth acknowledging Casemiro’s goal-scoring contributions this season, including his brace against Bayern Munich, these moments couldn’t mask his inconsistent performances.
Casemiro’s struggles this season, combined with his age, raise questions about United’s need for a quality No.6 midfielder in the summer. It was always understood that Casemiro’s arrival wasn’t a long-term solution, and Real Madrid’s history of shrewd player management suggests that a successor will be needed.
Writing off Casemiro after a slow start would be premature, but if his form doesn’t improve in the coming months, the need for a world-class defensive midfielder will become apparent.
Another area that demands attention is the center-back position. While Raphael Varane is an excellent defender, his injury record and recent absence underline the need for a reliable backup. United had expressed interest in Jean-Clair Todibo from Nice during the previous summer window, and a young, high-potential, and technically proficient center-back like him should be on their radar.
Replacing players like Casemiro and Varane won’t come cheap, but these positions are the backbone of the team. Both players have enjoyed world-class careers, and finding similar talents to succeed them is imperative for Manchester United’s future success.