Manchester United’s on-field displays this season have left something to be desired with Erik ten Hag’s men scoring a pitiful 24 league goals so far in 2023/24.
Fortunately, matters are starting to improve off the field now with Sir Jim Ratcliffe set to enter the club.
Moves have been made to finally replace Richard Arnold too with the Red Devils poaching one of Manchester City’s finest minds away from the Etihad.
Indeed, it was reported over the weekend that Omar Berrada is set to be appointed as United’s CEO. No official start date has been revealed yet but this is a truly exciting hire judging by his track record at City.
He helped broker deals for the likes of Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish and Rodri, while making record profit from City Academy players. Clearly, Berrada is an excellent negotiator. Let’s put it this way, it’s unlikely United would have paid £86m for Antony under his watch.
So, enough talk, who could he sign? Here are three dream acquisitions once the club’s new CEO gets his feet under the table.
No Hojlund, Pogba 2.0 signs: The dream XI Omar Berrada could build at Man Utd
Erik ten Hag could have a new-look United team next month.
Joshua Zirkzee – their own Erling Haaland
One of the biggest priorities for Berrada upon his entrance to Old Trafford will be to bolster their offensive ranks. Rasmus Hojlund clearly has a lot of talent but his ability to score goals on a regular basis has been questioned since being signed.
The Dane has five Champions League goals to his name but only two in the Premier League, the first of which had to wait for Boxing Day.
One solution could be Joshua Zirkzee. A reported target for the Red Devils, it’s thought the Dutchman will cost £50m if his Bologna side agree to a summer sale.
Described as being “out of this world” by analyst Ben Mattinson, the 22-year-old has scored eight goals in 22 outings this term. You may think another raw attacker is not what the club needs but his potential speaks for itself.
Zirkzee is a player who’s been mentioned in the same breath as Haaland too, with Turkish football journalist Süleyman Öztürk sensationally saying: “He is better than Erling Haaland in almost everything, only the monster in him is missing.”
Michael Olise – their own Jack Grealish
Another exciting name to be linked with a switch to Old Trafford in recent weeks is Crystal Palace’s French sensation Michael Olise.
Like a certain Grealish, the Eagles star has thrived in a team enjoying far less possession than the top sides and looks every bit a player ready for a big move. The good news for United is that he’ll cost £40m less than Grealish did with Olise’s release clause currently sat at £60m.
The winger has endured a wretched campaign with injury in 2023/24 but has still found room to deliver some marvellous displays, scoring five goals in nine league matches to date. He was equally sensational last season, although was certainly more creative, producing 11 assists in 37 top-flight outings.
Like the aforementioned City star, Olise is a marvel with the ball at his feet. Over the last 365 days, the Palace sensation has attempted 4.90 take-ons per 90 minutes compared to Grealish’s 4.81. They are certainly alike in that regard.
Martin Zubimendi – their own Rodri
Another area of the pitch Berrada must look to strengthen is in midfield. Scott McTominay has been prolific in front of goal this term, notching six times, but let’s just say that has disguised some laboured displays in other parts of the field.
Such has been their woes in a central position that teenager Kobbie Mainoo is now being relied upon to dictate the tempo of the game.
Yet, in Martin Zubimendi, a player United are reportedly potentially looking at for the summer, they could loosen that reliance.
Spain coach Jose Luis De La Fuente, once stated that the Real Sociedad star deserves to be mentioned in the same company as Rodri, scorer in the Champions League final last term: “For me, they are the best midfielders in the world in their position. and they are perfectly compatible.”
Zubimendi’s 2023/24 La Liga Stats
Stats (per 90)
Ranking in Spain
Passes completed (medium)
Pass completion % (medium)
Passes into final third
Stats via FBref
Preferring to orchestrate the play and break up the play from deep, there are certainly similarities, even if the Sociedad midfielder isn’t a tackle monster, sitting inside the worst 30% of positionally similar players in Europe’s top five leagues for tackles per 90 minutes in the last year. So, what does he offer? Well, Zubimendi is an elite reader of the play, sitting inside the top 12% of midfielders in Europe for passes blocked.
These three signings would be superb first acquisitions for Berrada if he could get them over the line. It’s over to you, Omar.