Manchester United continue to look for new signings this summer, and they could bring in some top talent for little money as players enter the final 12 months of their current contract
Video not available
The last year of a player’s contract is often a very uncertain period for both himself and the club. Usually, attempts are made to negotiate extensions, provided the club is willing to keep the player’s services.
However, if someone can’t be reached, pushing through a sale becomes a priority to avoid losing those assets for nothing 12 months later. And it’s at this point that rivals can often take advantage and potentially land targets for a lower fee.
Sadio Mane’s recent move to Bayern Munich is a prime example of this situation. The Senegalese star scored 23 goals for Liverpool last season and is widely regarded as one of the best strikers in Europe. However, the German champions brought him in for a fee of just £35 million, well below his market value.
However, the 30-year-old had only one year of probation on his contract with Liverpool, meaning the Reds were forced to accept such an offer or risk losing him for nothing next summer.
There are plenty of other star players entering the final year of their current contracts, and with Manchester United needing reinforcements in a number of positions this summer, they could potentially benefit. Therefore mirror football has highlighted three players that they can sign for cheap for the new season.
Kalidou Koulibaly – Napoli
At one point, Koulibaly was considered one of the best central defenders in the world. While it is now accepted that Virgil van Dijk has surpassed the 31-year-old, he is still a top defender who has the potential to make a transformative impact on United’s leaky defense next season.
He often dominates attackers, both in the air and on the floor, while also being calm and controlled in possession. In his heyday, there were talks of fees of more than £60m to secure his signature, but now with just 12 months left on his current Napoli deal, United could bring him in for half that.
Wilfried Zaha – Crystal Palace
The former United player has tried on several occasions to push through a transfer at Crystal Palace but, for various reasons, it never happened.
He is still one of the best strikers in the Premier League, finishing last season with 14 goals in the Premier League. He is now in double figures in three of his last four seasons, which is impressive considering he has played for a Palace side that has not always been the most fluid from an attacking standpoint.
He will be 30 in November which means he wouldn’t be worth a heavy investment at this stage of his career. However, with United’s need for more quality attackers. It would definitely be an upgrade from what they have if they could land it cheaply this summer. He may also enjoy the challenge of what could have been.
Marco Asensio – Real Madrid
Another striker who should be firmly on United’s radar is Real Madrid’s Asensio. Last season, he scored 12 goals and provided two more assists. While that might seem like a decent if unremarkable return at first glance, it’s worth noting that the 26-year-old was not a regular for Carlo Ancelotti.
If we even break those combined contributions down into an average per 90, it comes out to 0.55, which is quite impressive, indicating that he scored or assisted at a rate of more than one in every two games.
Unlike others mentioned, Asensio boasts that he is at the beginning of his peak years. It could still cost around £30million to bring him in, but the same would be a worthwhile investment based on his age and current ability.