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5 Dundee United transfer priorities as Tangerines embark on life after Benjamin Siegrist

Courts is eyeing around seven new signings.
Courts is eyeing around seven new signings.

It promises to be a hectic summer for Dundee United sporting director Tony Asghar and boss Tam Courts.

Fresh from securing European qualification for the first time in a decade, there is no rest for the wicked. Improvements, replacements and reinforcements are required.

Courts has already mused that around seven new signings will be targeted as United seek to continue their consistent progress over the past three years.

While some captures will afford depth and versatility, Courier Sport focuses on the areas that require the most attention — the marquee talents.


How do you solve a problem like Benjamin Siegrist?

That question will be occupying minds within the corridors of power at Tannadice.

The simple answer could prove to be Zander Clark. United’s interest in the St Johnstone legend is well-documented, although the out-of-contract stopper has no shortage of suitors south of the border.

Zander Clark could be in line for his first cap after being called up for Scotland again.
A United target

The Tangerines do have Carljohan Eriksson on the books, albeit he is yet to make a single appearances since arriving from Swedish side Mjallby in January. It is impossible to assess whether he is ready to be the club’s No.1.

With Trevor Carson also departing for St Mirren this week, there is every chance United will require two new keepers, depending on their plans for Scotland youth international Jack Newman.

And, given the amount of points Siegrist saved the club over the last four campaigns, the club need to get it right.

A midfield enforcer — or two

As Charlie Mulgrew patrolled defensive midfield during the denouement to United’s campaign, it was impossible not to be impressed by the quality and versatility of the veteran defender.

However, a 36-year-old centre-half should not be required to fulfil that role.

Prior to that, the admirably reliable Liam Smith did a job in the engine room. Not ideal, either.

Fuchs in action against Manchester City superstar Fernandinho

The situation occurred following the sale of tough-tackling Jeando Fuchs to Peterborough in January — a sensible piece of business for a player who was keen to pursue a new challenge.

However, it would be an understatement to say that Arsenal loanee Tim Akinola failed to fill that void.

Calum Butcher was then frozen out following a breach of club discipline. It appears unlikely that he will be in the picture moving forward.

That leaves the Terrors in search of a couple of tenacious midfielders who can harry, harass and preferably play a bit.

The creative spark

There is no need to talk in generalities for this one.

If United can tempt loan star Dylan Levitt back to Tannadice — and much depends on his future with Manchester United — then that’s the signing they must make.

If not, then the Tangerines will be forced to go back to the drawing board. Recruitment is not an ad hoc affair. There will be alternatives and fall-backs.

Courts and Asghar must hope that someone on their list is able to replicate the remarkable influence of the Welsh wizard, who scored six goals for the club and routinely controlled games in the middle of the park.

While a playmaker is pivotal, an attacking midfielder may not be as pressing a priority, providing Ian Harkes signs a new contract and Peter Pawlett regains fitness.

The form of Archie Meekison also aids option in that area.


United sorely lacked wide options last term. Although Ilmari Niskanen started brightly, his output dwindled and he ended up playing as a wing-back in a 3-5-2. Logan Chalmers was loaned out to Inverness and Pawlett suffered a severe injury.

In a recent 2-0 defeat at Rangers, the Tangerines ended the match with a front-three of Niskanen, Nicky Clark and Adrian Sporle.

Simply, there is a desperate need for pace, trickery and end product in wide areas.

Logan Chalmers in action for Inverness.
Could Chalmers return to United and save them cash in the transfer market?

Even if Courts is keen to stick with 3-5-2 — and who could blame him? That’s the formation that secured fourth in the Premiership — any good squad requires some tactical flexibility.

At the moment, if Courts wanted to field a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2, his options would be incredibly limited.

A striker — or two

It remains to be seen what type of attacker the club pursues — but they most definitely need reinforcements.

A diligent, hard-working second striker would allow Tony Watt, who notched 10 goals in the first half of last season with Motherwell, to get back to playing on the shoulder of defenders and rippling the net.

Alternatively, Watt could continue to serve a selfless, creative role and United could aim to snap up a traditional No.9; a 15-goals-a-season marksman.

United also need a physically imposing front-man to fill the void left by Max Biamou, who was intended to fill the ‘Plan B’ void following his arrival in October — but only featured in three games.