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Pogba replacement, huge goal threat: Why Man United simply must land £49.5m-rated ace – opinion

Bruno Fernandes’ arrival has done wonders at Manchester United so far.

The Portugal international has only played nine games, but the Red Devils have won six and drawn three. In that time, the former Sporting Lisbon man has scored six and provided three assists – his influence in such a short period cannot be underestimated.

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However, one signing will not gloss over the whole of the Old Trafford outfit’s season to date. As it stands, they are only fifth in the table, and are still three points off Chelsea in the final Champions League qualification spot as well – it is a far cry from the years of success they had under Sir Alex Ferguson.

More signings are likely to be needed in the summer, as such, and Ajax’s Donny van de Beek could be one of them. According to Marca, Manchester United are attempting to hijack Real Madrid’s transfer plans and take the £49.5m-valued Netherlands international – as per Transfermarkt – to the Premier League instead of La Liga.

Here are three reasons why United must make their move…

Youth

This season has been an important one for plenty of the youngsters currently at Manchester United. Teenagers Brandon Williams and Mason Greenwood, for example – aged 19 and 18 respectively – have received considerable playing time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whilst Marcus Rashford has progressed into arguably the club’s most important player – he has 19 goals in 31 matches this season, at the age of just 22.

Even some of the new signings have been youthful, like Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Dan James – they were both 21 when they joined. Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes may be slightly older, but bringing in established stars aged 26 and 25 respectively means they still have plenty of years ahead of them.

The youngest XI this year in the Premier League was selected by United, against Brighton, when the average was just 24 years old. Van de Beek, aged 22, would fit perfectly into that squad at the moment.

Goals from midfield

With his 19 strikes, Rashford has been his side’s top marksman this year, with 14 of them coming in the Premier League. After him comes Anthony Martial, who has 11 in the league. After that, though, Solskjaer’s side are devoid of regular goalscorers – only four other players have bagged more than once, one of which is Fernandes, whilst only 10 players have scored at all.

Van de Beek, at least, knows where the back of the net is. This term, he has 14 goals in all competitions, of which eight have come in the Eredivisie – that would put him a clear third at United. That is not a one-off either – he bagged nine last year, and 11 the year before that. United quite clearly need goals from different areas of the pitch – van de Beek could be just the man to provide that.

Paul Pogba replacement

Pogba’s future with the 20-time English champions has been up in the air for a while, and another development has emerged in recent days. According to Calciomercato, the France international is still determined to leave United, with Juventus interested in taking him to Serie A – his preferred destination – and they are willing to spend €100m (£91.2m) to sign him.

Plenty of the club’s supporters have slammed him for a while, but he is still an important player when he is available. Last season, for example, he scored 16 goals and provided 12 assists in all competitions – it would be naive to think he does not need to be replaced. Van de Beek, though, has proven his quality over several years for de Godenzonen, as we can see by his goal tallies, as well as his ever-present appearance during their run to last year’s Champions League semi-finals. Pogba would leave big shoes to fill, but van de Beek could do just that.

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