Manchester United are set for a busy transfer window in the months ahead and familiar names are on the agenda.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are in the market for a central defender, a central midfielder and a right-sided forward, while a full-back and striker could also be on the cards.
It’s set to be a transfer window complicated by the European Championship, delayed from last year, and United’s activity may also be influenced by performances at the tournament.
United are set to continue scouting their targets throughout the international competition, with the big deals expected to be delayed until the back end of the summer when those involved in the Euros see their participation come to an end.
England are set to be of significant interest, with Jadon Sancho and Declan Rice on United’s transfer shortlist, while the club has reignited interest in signing Kieran Trippier and Harry Kane remains an option.
That could see United continue a familiar trend after international tournaments by signing players who have performed well for the Three Lions – the last of which saw Harry Maguire move to the club, although that came a year after the 2018 World Cup despite pushes for a deal after that tournament.
In the past, the likes of Wayne Rooney have been signed on the back of international tournaments and the push by the club to continue the trend this summer could bring United back to the glory days when their squad dominated the England selection pool.
This summer, Maguire, Luke Shaw, Dean Henderson and Marcus Rashford are United’s representatives in Gareth Southgate’s squad, with Mason Greenwood pulling out of contention due to injury.
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United’s four participants mean they have more players in the squad than any other club, tied with Manchester City, but that number could grow significantly in the coming years.
Greenwood will be back on the scene next term, while questions continue to be asked as to why Aaron Wan-Bissaka is consistently overlooked despite arguably being the best defensive full-back that England have as an option on the right side.
With Sancho, Rice, Trippier and Kane among the potential recruits for United this summer, that contingent on the international scene could rise significantly and bring the club back to a period where they have dominated the England dressing room.
While United’s four inclusions in the England squad are at around the same level that they had with the Three Lions at the World Cups in 2002 and 2006, as well as Euro 2004, the importance of the players in the squad isn’t quite as high.
Maguire may be a leading man for club and country, while Rashford has 40 caps despite being just 23 years old, but Shaw has only recently returned to the international scene and Henderson remains a back-up stopper to Everton’s Jordan Pickford.
That’s a significant difference to the likes of Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Wayne Rooney, all of whom were leaders within the England squad following continued success at club level.
In the years to come though, United could return to that sort of situation – with Maguire still with plenty left in the tank, Rashford and Greenwood around for the foreseeable future and potential recruits being snapped up by the club.
Sancho and Rice will equally be involved in the national set-up for a long period, while Trippier is one of the most experienced heads in the England squad and Kane is of course captain for the Three Lions.
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Such a scenario could also help United further down the line in landing future targets, as an array of players within the England squad could help to persuade others to make a similar move.
That could include 17-year-old Jude Bellingham, a player of interest to United before he joined Borussia Dortmund last year, while the likes of Max Aarons, Todd Cantwell, Eberechi Eze and Dwight McNeil from the U21 ranks will be worth watching closely in the coming years.
Overall, United will want to get to the sort of place where they’re the dream destination for English footballers across the country and there’s an opportunity to do exactly that.
Liverpool, City and Chelsea will be competition in that regard but United already hold an edge and can extend that further this summer.