Another pivotal summer of recruitment lies ahead for Dundee United.
As ever, there will be hits and misses — such is life at a Scottish Premiership club — but the aim will be to unearth a few more Dylan Levitts.
Here, Courier Sport casts an eye over the good, the bad and the anonymous of United’s 2021/22 incomings.
Dylan Levitt 9
Levitt arrived on loan from Manchester United last summer as a relative unknown.
The pedigree was there; a Wales internationalist with a peerless footballing education at Old Trafford.
However, most Arabs would be fibbing if they were to claim a familiarity with his efforts during spells with Charlton or Croatian side Istra.
However, the 21-year-old grew into a talisman for United.
How about this solo goal from #mufc loanee Dylan Levitt yesterday? 🎩🪄
— academyarena Utd (@academyarenaUTD) April 25, 2022
Quite simply, Levitt was the heartbeat of Tam Courts’ outfit, dictating the tempo, breaking the lines with slick passing and, latterly, adding a genuine goal threat to his game.
United will undoubtedly pull out all the stops in a bid to get him back at Tannadice next term.
Charlie Mulgrew 8
Concerns over Mulgrew’s longevity have been swept away during a super campaign for the ex-Scotland and Celtic star.
In his second spell with United, the 36-year-old played 37 games — even starring in midfield towards the end of the season — and found the net three times, including a derby day stunner.
— 𝟏𝟗𝟎𝟗 (@dufcCollection) April 9, 2022
He was one of the pillars of stoic backline, with the European qualification built more on defensive solidity than attacking endeavours.
Moreover, Mulgrew’s nous and leadership were invaluable additions, particularly given the relative inexperience possessed by a coaching staff of Courts, Liam Fox and Adam Asghar.
Tony Watt 7
Joining from Motherwell in January, Watt was the Premiership’s top scorer with 10 goals.
He would go on to ripple the net just once for United.
Watt was deployed in a more creative, deeper role by boss Courts, running himself into the ground in a bid to make things happen for others.
Even as recently as the final game of the season against Ross County, Watt’s clever cross-field pass opens up the game and allows Kieran Freeman to tee up Nicky Clark’s winner. Cue delirium.
His time at United has been peppered with moments like that.
Nevertheless, it will be intriguing to see whether the Tangerines pursue a hard-working second striker this summer. That would allow Watt to play as a recognised No.9 and get back on the goal trail.
Ilmari Niskanen 6
The Finland internationalist appeared an inspired capture when he joined United from Ingolstadt, bagging three assists and one goal from his opening six games.
However, his form fell away fairly notably, with United’s switch to a 3-5-2 seeing him deployed in a more defensive role.
His performances were never anything other than tireless and diligent; always appreciated by the supporters.
But the challenge for next season — by his own admission — will be to add more end product to his game.
Scott McMann 6
McMann is the sort of player every Scottish Premiership side requires. Preferably a couple, actually. An unsung hero.
The former Hamilton youngster showcased an incredible engine, tough tackling and, crucially, possessed the versatility to operate across the back-line and as a wing-back.
Although not always a guaranteed starter (he made 32 appearances) McMann never let anyone down and ensured the absence of Jamie Robson, who departed for Lincoln City, was not too keenly felt.
Marc McNulty 5
‘Sparky’ endured a maddening second season on loan from Reading.
The Scotland internationalist suffered a serious hamstring injury in October, resulting in surgery and a frustrating rehab period.
Upon battling back to full fitness, McNulty found the net against Aberdeen and, unforgettably, bagged a 96th-minute winner in a 2-1 triumph over St Mirren.
— Dundee United FC (@dundeeunitedfc) March 19, 2022
However, his campaign was prematurely ended by a serous knee injury sustained in a fluke collision with teammate Liam Smith.
Unable to build any momentum, he ended the season with three goals from 20 starts.
Kevin McDonald 4
The fact Kevin McDonald, who underwent a kidney transplant in April 2021, was even able to play Premiership football this season is truly astonishing.
He penned a short-term deal with United in January following spells training with St Johnstone and Dundee and, naturally, took some time to find match sharpness.
McDonald’s appearances were limited to 11 outings but there were a few glimpses of the class that saw him turn out for Fulham, Burnley and Scotland during a fine career.
Trevor Carson 4
Carson’s impact was exceptionally limited but solid.
Brought in last August to compete with Benjamin Siegrist for the No.1 spot, Carson played five times for United and kept clean sheets against St Johnstone and St Mirren.
However, he joined Morecambe on loan in January for family reasons and, despite having a year to run on his contract with United, is expected to depart for St Mirren in the coming weeks.
Mathew Cudjoe 3
The Ghana under-20 internationalist and former Bayern Munich trialist only played two games for United this term but showed enough flair, bravery and attacking impetus to intrigue the Arabs.
There will be genuine excitement regarding how he progresses next season.
Carljohan Eriksson 2
Eriksson is yet to kick a ball for United so this rating is — if anything — generous.
Nevertheless, one can only take Courts’ word that the Finland cap has performed well in bounce games, pushes his fellow goalkeepers in training and is acclimatising to life in Scotland.
The winter arrival from Mjallby could yet be a success, particularly given the departure of Siegrist.
Tim Akinola 1
A January loan signing, Akinola was hooked after 45 minutes against St Johnstone in February in his sole outing.
Returned to Arsenal after suffering an ankle injury.
Max Biamou 1
The towering Frenchman joined in October, with a view to providing a ‘Plan B’ and depth following McNulty’s hamstring injury.
However, Biamou was plagued by fitness woes and made three appearances, totalling 55 minutes.
He didn’t play a single minute at Tannadice.