The Premier League season is nearing its conclusion. As a result, teams are starting to understand what they have to play for between now and the end of May.
And, based on the current Premier League standings, every team between 15th and 20th is at risk of spending next season in the Championship. Many outstanding players are likely to be relegated, and Manchester United might gain by targeting those who are good enough to stay in England’s top-flight during the forthcoming summer transfer window.
So, which players from likely relegated clubs may Ralf Rangnick and United look to sign at the end of the season?
Phillips, Kalvin (Leeds United)
United is in desperate need of a new central midfielder, and Kalvin Phillips might be ideal if Leeds fails to prevent relegation after recently appointing Jesse Marsch to replace Marcelo Bielsa.
Phillips is a full England international as well as a homegrown player. He is still only 26 years old, but he is entering what is normally regarded as peak years for a central midfielder — and he might spend them across the Pennines in Manchester.
Phillips, whose contract is set to expire in two years, could be available to United. He’s aggressive, capable in possession, and extremely adaptable, having previously played as a center-back, a holding midfielder, and a box-to-box player. In midfield, he may be the answer to United fans’ prayers.
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic (Everton)
Despite the talent level of Everton’s squad, relegation appears to be a very real possibility right now. Frank Lampard’s team is only one point clear of the relegation zone, and their game schedule appears to be unforgiving.
If the Blues were to be relegated, Dominic Calvert-Lewin would be in high demand. The English striker is well-rounded, good in the air, hardworking, quick, and has Premier League experience – and he’s only 24.
With Cristiano Ronaldo already 37 years old and Edinson Cavani 36 years old and expected to leave in the summer, Manchester United will need a new striker sooner rather than later.
Calvert-contract Lewin’s isn’t up until 2025, but as native talent, he’s simply too excellent for the Championship. United is set to have competition for his signing, but he could lead the line for the next five years at Old Trafford.
Raphinha (Leeds United)
United is known for having a plethora of attacking players, but that could alter after the summer. Cavani, Paul Pogba, and Jesse Lingard’s contracts are set to expire, Anthony Martial has been loaned to Sevilla, Ronaldo is nearing the end of his career, and Marcus Rashford is being linked with a move away.
Rangnick’s replacement may seek to bolster his offensive options, and Raphinha is one player who could be of interest. The Brazilian is 25, a prime age, and his contract expires in two years.
He’s also left-footed, and according to Rangnick’s current squad at Old Trafford, all of the attackers available to him are right-footed.
Raphinha is the Elland Road player with the most goals and assists this season. He’s quick, direct, inventive, and has Premier League experience. If he is relegated, it may mark the beginning of United’s new beginning.
Ismaila Sarr’s (Watford)
Sarr was of interest to United when Watford was relegated from the Premier League last season, but his club requested an exorbitant fee for his talents, and a deal fell through.
Jadon Sancho has since joined the club, but the versatility of the Senegalese international may be enough to keep United intrigued, especially given the uncertain futures of the aforementioned forwards.
Sarr has scored 23 league goals and registered nine assists in his tenure at Vicarage Road, where he has been employed as a forward in the middle and on both sides, with the majority of his minutes coming from the right flank.
Watford’s position to demand too much for his signing would be weaker with two years remaining on his contract this summer.