At the climax of last season, I have to say I was delighted to hear that a few faces at Old Trafford had played the final part of the club. This initially sparked me into thinking two big things were going to happen, firstly and very importantly, it was departing with all the deadwood and clearing the decks. Secondly and more critical moving forward, this clearly would mean that new, fresh and hungry faces would be heading through the door and the team’s disasters of last season would end up being one of those thrown in the archives to collect dust and forgotten about – with the exception of that night in Paris, as who could forget that.
Although, you could argue they have signed fresh-faced talent, in the likes of Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in doing so, United have only really addressed one major area which needed to be and that is of course right back. Things really haven’t gone to plan and in fact, not one player has departed from the club aside from those whose contract’s were not extended. So, how far has United actually progressed on last season?
Well, the jury should and in truth is still out, as despite securing a very decent and much needed right-back the team hasn’t really changed but it’s not to say everything is all that bad. Yes, there are still players who the club have on the books who should have been shipped out at the first opportunity but in today’s transfer market and given how much United are asking for them it’s proving to be damn near impossible right now. For example, any club seriously looking at Marcus Rojo for £25 million are absolutely crazy.
That, of course, is before you add in players such as Matteo Darmian, Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Nemanja Matic and the very disappointing Alexis Sanchez – all of whom don’t really have any true value to their names. Call it what you will but for me its a mix awful form, injuries and the dreaded sell-by date that United never seem to pay much notice to. It may sound brutal but it’s true, all of the above haven’t shown near enough qualities to be a Manchester United player in recent times and arguably in some cases, at all during their respective times with the club. So in terms of how they have progressed in this department is clear and obvious, no they haven’t.
With the argument that United have not progressed in the terms of selling deadwood settled, attention should quite rightly turn to the transfer business that we all know the club had no excuse to fail with, and have they? For me personally, they have and simply because they haven’t really done anything. Yes, they have sorted the issue at right-back with Wan-Bissaka and brought in James to bolster the wide midfield options but outside of that, there’s still the need for a solid and established centre back, a defensive midfielder, a right-winger as well a consistent striker who has the ability to actually score goals.
As per with United, a new player is linked with the club every day and it’s not uncommon to load up Twitter to find that a player has ”agreed terms” or ”United are close to signing” but lets be honest, that’s far from the case and it looks to me as if closing a deal for a player couldn’t be further away right now. I wouldn’t say this is because players don’t want to join the club like many have suggested or for any reason that the club is not in the Champions League, its the simple fact that club is refusing to be ripped off and overpay for there targets which is leading to a total fail as of right now.
I can accept that to a certain extent but I cannot buy into the idea of trying to bargain with clubs that don’t actually have to sell and as with United, the players they have identified to solve their problems, this is very much the case. To name the list of player that United have been linked with during the summer would prove very difficult as the list is that endless I would need a whole new article just to scratch the surface but take the following as examples.
Harry Maguire, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been told or heard that Maguire is close but looking at it from what we know, it’s far from the case. This is the perfect example of United refusing to ”overpay” because Leicester doesn’t have to sell the England international. In my eyes, Maguire is a player who you can add into the back four and instantly forget about having to worry about him. The fact he has the ability to do so makes him priceless to Leicester, hence why they are demanding near £80m for him but to me, this doesn’t fall into the overpaying bracket so United must do all they can to sign him or they risk failing to address the teams biggest and most obvious weakness.
Another player who has been constantly linked with the club is Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes and depending on how you look at it, this is where United could fail completely. Fernandes is undoubtedly a huge talent and for the cost of £60m is pretty much a done deal. Why haven’t United wrapped this one up? Again, the good old ”lets bargain with them approach”. As with Maguire and Leicester, Sporting do not need to sell their Portuguese International star so bargaining with a team who don’t need to sell is going to bite and bite hard considering this is another area where United MUST address.
So, having signed Wan-Bissaka and James, been linked with half of the worlds player but failed to bring in any of them, have United progressed here? Right now, it’s an easy no but until the 8th August, the jury is still out.
Despite the lack of deadwood finding the exit and lack of much-needed transfers it’s not all that bad as the preseason has been a success with United picked up four wins from four, scoring nine and conceding just the once but more to the eye, Ole has the team playing some fantastic positive football which in itself is a huge positive and should give every United fan a reason to be optimistic for the season ahead but lets not shy away, the team needs to be strengthened and the time for bargaining with teams is over.