Manchester United might have already signed their long-term left-back from Real Madrid – Richard Fay

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In an ideal world, Erik ten Hag would be able to strengthen in every position he sees fit this summer. The reality is that some areas in need of renovation will need to be neglected for the time being in order to prioritize elsewhere.

Manchester United’s desire for midfield reinforcements is well documented, as is their desire to strengthen a forward line that is overly reliable on Cristiano Ronaldo and that has lost valuable back-up options since the end of the season.

One such example is that of left-back, a position that became one of the real problems for United last season.

READ MORE: Erik ten Hag’s perfect defender may have already been sold by Manchester United

In the past week, United have been linked with both David Raum and Tyrell Malacia as options to strengthen their left side of defense, but the problem is that Ten Hag is well aware that other defenders must be moved on before they can justify another addition.

Luke Shaw is highly rated by United figures despite a sluggish season, and there is a genuine belief that he could recapture the world-class level he reached last year, culminating in the European Championship with England.

Ten Hag could hold the key to getting the best out of Shaw once again, and if that happens, then United will only really need a back-up option this summer, rather than another player who can come in and start games immediately.

In that case, it is probably best if United manage to get a young understudy for Shaw in place, one who can learn from him on a daily basis and gain valuable experience with starts in the Europa League and domestic cup competitions when needed.

Alex Telles would likely need to be sold in order to vindicate such a pursuit. The same can be said for Brandon Williams, who has made 28 appearances for United at left-back too. The club are open to offers for him this summer, though there is even an argument to suggest he could be a suitable back-up option next season if necessary.

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Then there is Alvaro Fernandez. The Spaniard is one of the most exciting young players at the club and is itching for an opportunity to prove why he deserves a chance in the first-team next season after an excellent season at youth level.

Fernandez was named United’s U23 Player of the Year for his performances over the last campaign, and he is expected to make his senior debut next season after being named on the bench for the last four matches under Ralf Rangnick.

The 19-year-old netted four goals and notched six assists for United at youth level this season and has greatly impressed with his tactical discipline and wider understanding of the full-back role. Fernandez remains an extremely raw talent but has demonstrated great maturity in the way in which he has listened to advice from coaches and looked to work on the defensive side of his game.

The former Real Madrid youngster attracted loan interest from Spain and England in, and interest is being shown in him once again this summer, though no final decision has been made on where his immediate future will lie.

With another campaign in the Europa League on the horizon, Fernandez could have the perfect opportunity to make a name for himself in the United first team and gain meaningful minutes in a competition where there will be less pressure on him to perform.

United are in need of an improvement at left-back next season, but that does not necessarily mean they need to spend more money to get it.

Fernandez is a worthy back-up option if their starter isn’t so Shaw.

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