Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Rio Ferdinand identifies two dream midfield signings who can inspire Man Utd culture change

Rio Ferdinand, BT Sport pundit at West Ham's London Stadium

Rio Ferdinand has named the two players he wants Manchester United to prioritise the signings of this summer if the club wants to challenge again for trophies.

A big summer of change is expected for United both on the playing front and in the dug-out. Indeed, Ralf Rangnick’s time in charge only looks set to be brief, though he will stay on in an advisory capacity. That said, the German has United upwardly mobile again and in with a shout of Champions League football.

Regardless of whom ends up in charge, there will likely be a number of departures from the playing squad.

A such, a recent report from ESPN claims work on the squad is already well underway.

To begin with, director of football John Murtough and Rangnick are planning to clear the decks of United’s deadwood. And their report has listed the name of 11 players who will likely be on their way this summer.

The first to depart will be those whose contracts come to an end this summer. To that end, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Edinson Cavani will all leave for nothing.

Pogba is likely to move abroad – possible to PSG – though there is talk he could stay within the Premier League and sign for a big rival.

Lingard is also a man in demand and is likely to pick from Newcastle or West Ham.

Mata could well end up heading back to Spain for a final hurrah, while Cavani is now in talks with a Brazilian giant.

Speculation also surrounds the futures of a number of other United stars.

Indeed, Anthony Martial and Donny Van de Beek – both currently on loan – look likely departures. Furthermore, Phil Jones and Nemanja Matic could also move on.

United may also look to raise decent transfer funds for defenders Axel Tuanzebe – currently on loan at Napoli – and Eric Bailly.

United need to focus on midfield signings

However, it is United’s midfield that perhaps needs most attention.

With that in mind, Rangnick quickly identified the area as the Red Devils’ main weakness upon taking charge.

A number of names have been linked, including Jude Bellingham, Amadou Haidara and Christopher Nkunku.

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However, Ferdinand wants United to look closer to home and has named two midfielders he feels they should target.

Asked if Aston Villa’s John McGinn and West Ham’s Declan Rice would be good options, Ferdinand made his feelings clear on his FIVE YouTube channel.

“Yeah, massively [be happy with the two signings],” he said.

“I think you’re getting two good characters. I think character is one of the main elements that we need – obviously you look for a certain amount of class and quality in the players.

“But I think you need to build the right characters within this squad going forward if you’re going to improve – get the culture right at the football club.”

Rio Ferdinand claims duo have character

Ferdinand added: “You need players to drive that, so if you’re buying and are in the recruitment team this year, I think that’s a big element that needs to be addressed.

“I think some would say, ‘oh John McGinn not a sexy enough signing’ etcetera. But I think he’s a very good player and by all accounts a very good lad, a great professional. He’s not afraid to say what he wants to say to people to get the best out of them.

“He’d be good in that element and on the pitch I think he would be good enough. Is he going to elevate us to being Champions League and Premier League winners? Probably not based on just ability, but I think character stands for a lot in this game.”

Rio Ferdinand also made clear his feelings on Rice, saying he’s a must-buy for United.

“Declan Rice, I’ve said enough about him. I love this player, I love this guy. If you’re any of the top teams, if you’re West Ham you want to build a team around him.”

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