Another day, another player linked to Manchester United. It’s that time of year again where every player with a heartbeat is our ‘transfer target.’
From Joao Felix to Jasper Cillessen, silly season is official open.
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It is near impossible to garner what is fact and what is fiction.
What is apparent though is that United are not going to be spending £60-70 million on three different players.
I can’t imagine, for example, the club buying Nicolas Pepe for £65-70 million , the same for Harry Maguire and then £50-60 million on Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
It is necessary but very unlikely.
So where does that leave the Reds?
Ryan Sessegnon and Daniel James have been strongly linked and that would give a possible insight in to United’s transfer activity and approach.
It is possible that these type of players fit the new criteria set by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and certainly wouldn’t cost anything near what Europe’s elite could.
They are English, young, quick and more importantly, hungry.
An element that has been seemingly missing from the pitch and the dressing room. Sessegnon has played full back and on both wings this season in the Premier League with Fulham. He was used far more often in the first half of the season but now has experience in the top division.
Daniel James has electric pace and that has some what been missing from our attacking approach for far too long.
If it is indeed true that this two players are on our radar then I would guess maybe one or two big money transfers could be on the horizon.
Sessegnon and James would collectively cost around £40-£50 million (very rough estimate) freeing up funds for other big name targets.
Who that will be is anyone’s guess.
How attractive United are to a prospective signing is a major road block. The Reds are hardly an attractive option right now and many big clubs are rebuilding for next season. The transfer market will be a very competitive place this summer.
Manchester City have just parted ways with Vincent Kompany so they will be in the market for a central defender.
As with United, City have also been linked with Joao Felix and Bruno Fernandes so you would have to concede that the blue half of Manchester are a more appealing project right now.
As I said in a previous article, rebuilding jobs are well under way in Madrid and Munich. Both teams were unceremoniously dumped out of the Champions League and measures are now being taken to repair the damage left from those disappointments.
Before winning the league this past weekend Bayern had already acquired full backs Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard before the seasons end. This forward thinking to rectify a disappointing season (by their standards) and improving positions that had been an Achilles heel is to be much admired. Also this is coupled with departures of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben which would signal more imminent signings.
Real were more Lost Blancos this season as they were defeated an unprecedented 12 times in La Liga.
Real announced the signing of forward Luka Jovic and tied up the deal for defender Éder Militão from Porto earlier this season. Eden Hazard seems like another arrival and you just know more will be on the way.
Two huge clubs solving problems with a ruthless recruitment strategy.
Whatever you think of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich you can’t say they don’t plan ahead and move quickly to right any wrongs in the squad.
Whether you think we should be judged in the same category as Bayern and Real in terms of stature is a moot point.
Financially we can compete but, tellingly, we are structurally incapable.
Uncertainty surrounding the squad and management during the season made any potential signings in January impossible.
Solskjaer wants all our signings done before the squad set off for pre season in Australia.
That may limit his options as players go off on their holidays and away with their respective international teams.
Let’s try to be positive but looking at the facts it doesn’t bode well for our future transfer dealings.
Planing for the future doesn’t seem anywhere in Ed Woodward’s thoughts.
It has been six years since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and most new signings, putting it mildly, have not worked out.
In that time, Liverpool, for example, have signed Mo Salah, Firmino, Sadio Mane, Andrew Robinson, Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson. Players who largely have shaped Liverpool’s immediate and foreseeable future. They have all worked out in a major way.
In the same time frame City have had John Stones, Raheem Stirling, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Edison, Aymeric Laporte and Kyle Walker to name but a few.
Hardly the same is it? It’s seems obvious to say but somewhere down the line our recruitment system has and is failing to the absolute extreme. Marquee signings like Angel Di Maria and Paul Pogba have not had the impact the way United would have liked. It should also been noted that certain managers may not have got the best of of these players. That could also be affected due to a different approach in playing style. Louis Van Gaal didn’t seem to know what to do with Di Maria and the same is happening after three seasons with Pogba.
United just can’t get a match between squad and management style. Another change this season with Ole taking over from Jose Mourinho and we saw what the eventual outcome was towards the end of this last campaign.
Ole needs a pre season badly with this squad but if next season starts as badly as it finished we could be in the same situation all over again.
There are too many positions that need improving in this current squad and it is not going to be solved in one transfer window.
Prioritising certain transfer targets is going to be a tough job in itself.
Undoing six years of mediocre signings in this window is near impossible. Working with a Chief Executive who sanctioned new contracts for Ashley Young, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling is going to be the biggest battle of them all.
United can make steps forward this transfer window and the fans can accept that.
The Reds are not going to catch Liverpool and City next season but plans must be made to be better than the rest. Slight improvements this summer here and there are paramount to our future success.
It’s going to be just as important to let some squad members go for the right deals. If certain players are not successful moved on then they have to be given less playing time.
Playing players with merit rather than prestige is going to be so important. Some have shown that the trust in them has been misplaced and they have become complacent as a result.
The transfer window always gives a club an opportunity to reset, improve or secure your future development.
Come on United, the time to flex your financial muscles is now. You can’t compete unless you are willing to open the cheque book and give the manager what he needs and not what the club wants.
The commercial side of the club is important but right now United have to see the bigger picture and the bigger picture is what Ole needs.