Ian Wright is confident Donny van de Beek will turn out to be a ‘fantastic signing’ for Manchester United – but says the club still need to strengthen their ‘weak’ defence before they can have serious hopes of challenging for the Premier League title.
Van de Beek, 23, became Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first signing of the summer transfer window after the Red Devils wrapped up a £40 million agreement with Ajax for the Netherlands midfielder earlier this month.
Jadon Sancho remains Solskjaer’s top attacking target and continues to be heavily linked with the Old Trafford giants, despite Borussia Dortmund appearing to rule out a move for the 20-year-old last month.
An eye-watering £90m bid – plus a further £18m due in performance-related add-ons – has been lodged for the England winger but Arsenal legend Wright feels United should prioritise bolstering their options at the other end of the pitch.
‘He’s a fantastic player,’ Wright said on The Kelly and Wrighty Show when discussing Van de Beek’s arrival.
‘He can play No.6, he can play No.8, he can play No.10. You’re looking at [Bruno] Fernandes and [Paul] Pogba and they will probably play with him [Van de Beek] maybe just behind because he’s a fantastic football, it’s a fantastic signing.
‘When you look at Man United, what they’ve got up front and you put Van de Beek in there with them too – they’ve just made one signing in Fernandes and it all changed, all of a sudden they looked amazing.
‘But for me, from the defensive point of view, I just feel that they are still very week.
‘We’re hearing that Manchester City might get [Kalidou] Koulibaly – United have got to go in there to try and do that deal!
‘If you look at them from left-back, yes we know [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka is fantastic right-back and a great defender, but [Victor] Lindelof and even Harry Maguire – from the left side they’re there for the taking.
‘If you’re gonna go and challenge those teams, that needs to be a lot stronger.’
Wright believes United should take a leaf out of Liverpool’s book and ‘address the real problems’ like fixing their defensive issues.
‘I do feel if you look at the value that they might be able to get from Van de Beek and what you can get from Jack Grealish… they’ve got Fernandes, they’ve got Pogba in respects of creativity,’ he added.
‘I’m not sure where he’d [Sancho] work in United now.
‘As much as we’re hearing and seeing great things from Jadon Sancho, Man United need to do what Liverpool did – address the real problems and then see where they go from there.’