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Dry January – Preparing for another transfer window with Manchester United

Another transfer window begins and so does the saga that follows.

This squad is in dire need of improvement and with the news that Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba are unavailable ‘for weeks’ leaves the team woefully short.

Of course, we all knew that at the beginning of the season. I’m sure Ole and his staff knew it as well but the lack of urgency in rebuilding this team is more than frustrating.

Areas of the team need a quick upgrade to push us towards more consistency. Performances against top-level competition has never been the problem but having that quality and experience is now vital to United’s growth.

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Ole’s men have lost six times already in the Premier League this season.

Home draws and loses to Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Everton highlights the need for players who can break down a low block.

Playing on the break is The Reds obvious strength but when the onus is on United to take the game to the opposition they lack invention.

Recent performances away from home against Watford and Arsenal have exposed any real quality when it really matters.

It’s not bad form, it’s bad players.

I don’t want to hear that missing Paul Pogba is making a difference because when he has been available his performances and United’s form under Ole have not been good enough.

‘But what about when he came on against Watford’ I hear you say. The game was dead and he looked good as a result.

In the summer, how could the club look at the midfield and striking options and believe that was good enough?

Unfortunately, that all has to be put aside as that has come and gone now. Injuries to Matic, Martial, Pogba and McTominay throughout the season have exposed the already fragile squads vulnerability.

So what is the club going to do? January is here and speculation is again running wild. No deals seem any closer or even approached so what is the club waiting for?

The right player for the right money very rarely exists so let’s just get on with it and make relevant signings in relevant positions.

Throwing money at the problem hasn’t always worked but we can’t hide from the fact that right now things are only going to go downhill.

We are all behind the encouragement of youth with the promotion of Brandon Williams, Mason Greenwood and Scott McTominay to the first team squad.

But what is the point if the players around them are not as good as them. Where is the education coming from?

Yes, they are getting playing experience but that can only go so far in a losing team.

You could argue that Williams has now brought himself a place in the team ahead of Luke Shaw. His almost flawless performance against Burnley coupled with Shaw’s dire outing at The Emirates has surely given him enough of an argument to start more regularly. Williams, Greenwood and McTomiany have been the biggest plus that came out of a disappointing summer.

Are United’s youngsters outgrowing their contemporaries?

The small beacon of hope we have been searching for this season is right in front of our eyes.

Our lack of striking options with Martial’s injury and our involvement in the Europa League has let Greenwood flourish. His path to the first team may have been slightly fast tracked due to the current circumstances but he can certainly play.

What McTomiany lacks in technical ability he makes up for in tenacity. The attitude and steel he brings to the team along with Williams has undoubtedly improved our options in the squad.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and hang our hat on these boys just yet as we have had false dawns in the past.

Amongst others, Adnan Januzaj and Federico Macheda are reminders of young talent not quite making the grade after impressive beginnings.

More recently, Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes have shown how difficult it can be stepping up from the youth team. They have no better examples in the current squad who have proved that perseverance really pays off.

Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard have not looked back since being given the chance in the first team from youth level.

They have shown it is one thing breaking through but it’s another level staying in the squad.

Witnessing the growth and development of these new breed of Academy graduates is something very unique that is attached to this club.

Although at the moment it seems luck is playing more of a part in those youngsters futures than design it’s worth remembering that it’s been 4,000 consecutive games with an Academy product in the first team match day squad. With all the negativity and uncertainty around transfers that is a very proud tradition that is very important to hold on to.

What is for certain is this January transfer window is going to be full of speculation and click bait.

Get used to hearing ridiculous rumours (I’m looking at you Sean Longstaff) and phrases like ‘preparing a bid’, ‘monitoring the situation’, ‘Wanting to be notified of any change in the situation’, ‘imminent arrival.’

All those phrases will be attached to players like Bruno Fernandes, Christian Erikson, Emre Can, James Maddison, Jack Grealish and Gedson Fernandes.

I would take most of those players or maybe all of them right now if any of them were actually realistic.

Anyway, I heard a saying which I think is very appropriate for United right now, ‘Hope is like the sun. If you only believe in it when you can see it, you’ll never make it through the night.’

It’s been dark for a while now so let’s hope our young players or some new signings can provide the sun.

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