Date: 27th May 2021 at 9:23am
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With fans still reeling following Manchester United being taken all the way by Villareal in the Europa League final, only to face 11 penalties and not stop a single one, new signings are already words on the lips. 

David de Gea missed the deciding spot-kick after failing to meet any of the Spanish side’s efforts and faces an uphill battle to recapture his magic and confidence, with Dean Henderson chomping at the bit on the sideline.

The pundits on BT Sport were somewhat rightly bemused and belligerent, with Owen Hargreaves demanding three additions to replenish the demoralised United ranks, although arguing that the Europa League defeat may just accelerate that.

The former Red Devil said: “If they would’ve won (the Europa League) that might have papered over the cracks and maybe you don’t go out and get (a new signing). 

He added: “Whereas now Ole might say, ‘we need three or four’. And you watch that game [the final] anybody will say it needs someone to come and make a difference.

“We’ve been doing this for five or six years with United, and they’ve been a long way off at times. I actually think they are three players off, I think all they need is a centre-back, a central midfielder and a right-winger. For me, that’s all they need.

“Whoever it’s going to be, I think if they can do that this summer, whether it’s Sancho, Varane, Marquinhos or Declan Rice, there are targets there that you can look who can make that United team better.”

Manchester United players were forced to collect runners-up medals in a Europa League final for the first time

Hargreaves wasn’t the only former United man on the punditry, forced to watch on as his side couldn’t quite hack it against Europa League serial-winning boss Unai Emery.

Champions League-winning centre-back Rio Ferdinand was also present, cautiously adding: “It needs to be the right people, the right characters and good enough people who can add value to this team.

“For instance, we all talk about (Virgil) Van Dijk being the catalyst for Liverpool, what had he won in England before [he joined Liverpool), he was at Southampton, they weren’t fighting for titles or in Europe.

“It’s the right character, the right people that fit your team, the right profile to then take you on and make other people better.

“It’s not about coming in and being a good player necessarily, where do you add value elsewhere, do you make other players better?” 

United will be hard-pressed to find someone who can have the impact Virgil van Dijk had with Merseyside-based rivals Liverpool but does this Europa League loss actually work in the favour of Red Devil heads who demand transfer additions?

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