In what was an emotional night in Stockholm, given the tragic events that took place on Monday in the Manchester Arena, Manchester United put in a solid display to come up trumps in the Europa League final.
Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the recruits from last summer, scored either side of the half to give United their first-ever Europa League title. This now completes their European haul of all three major trophies – the European Cup Winners’ Cup (that doesn’t exist today), the UEFA Champions League and now, the Europa League. In the process, United have now become only the fifth club in history to achieve this feat.
More importantly, as a result of winning the Europa League, Manchester United have now qualified to the group stages of the Champions League. It will prove to be pivotal in United attracting top talents in the summer.
Here are the five things that might happen in the summer transfer window:
Putting all rumours to bed, once and for all, Manchester United could announce the capture of Antoine Griezmann from Atlético Madrid for a fee of £86 million (which could eventually rise to £90 million).
It will indeed be a welcome addition for United, who have struggled in front of goal throughout the last season. The addition of Antoine Griezmann will bring pace upfront and the cutting edge that the Red Devils (another name for Manchester United) have been dearly missing. It can be hoped that he will also score plenty of goals for United.
For the second summer running, Manchester United may re-sign a player they had let go of, cheaply. In 2016, United re-signed Pogba for a world-record £89 million.
This year, they may well bring yet another of their former players back to the club. According to the rumours doing the rounds, Michael Keane, who had left the club in 2015 to join Burnley, is returning to his old club. In the coming days, Manchester United could reach an agreement with Burnley for the transfer of Michael Keane.
The details of the probable deal between the clubs hasn’t been made public yet, but Burnley is supposedly demanding as much as £30 million for Keane’s transfer.
In what proved to be Keane’s most successful season as a professional, his outstanding defending, calmness and steel proved to be too much for United to ignore – and they would do well to steal a march on the other suitors – and get the deal to bring Michael Keane back to the club over the line, before any other club.
Re-signing Michael Keane from Burnley could well mean the curtains for Chris Smalling.
It was pretty evident that Smalling’s future was in doubt, as he wasn’t the most trusted of men under Mourinho. As a result, he could well be a victim of the summer-cull. It could mean the end of his 7-year association with United, which yielded two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one League Cup, three Community Shield titles and a Europa League title, in which he played the entirety of the game at the heart of the defence.
The transfer fee is rumoured to be around £20 million.
In what would perhaps be an emotional and difficult decision of his career, Wayne Rooney could end his 13-year-old association with Manchester United, this summer.
If rumours are to be believed, he could sign a contract with Everton, his boyhood club. Apparently, Manchester United are willing to waive the transfer fee. But Everton would need to offer something close to Rooney’s £3 lakh a week wages to finalise the deal.
If Rooney does exit the club, he will leave as a legend. His record haul of 253 goals will indeed be very hard to eclipse. In an astonishingly illustrious career at Manchester United, Rooney has won everything at the club level. He has won five Premier League titles, a Champions League title, one FA Cup, four League Cups, six Community Shield titles, one FIFA Club World Cup and a Europa League title with Manchester United. The trophy cabinet speaks for itself!
The next season could therefore signal the beginning of a new era at Manchester United – albeit one without Wayne Rooney.
Manchester United would do to well sign this dynamic midfielder from Monaco, ahead of Premier League rivals, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Signing him would also be a sweet vengeance for Manchester United as they have previously been beaten to players like Arjen Robben, John Obi Mikel, Hazard, Pedro and Drogba, by Chelsea. Manchester United need a ‘lynchpin’ to get the best out of Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera. At United, Tiemoué Bakayoko could be the perfect partner to compliment both Herrera and Pogba.