There’s an Abundance of Talent Available
There is a massive list of superstars up for grabs this summer. Many linked directly to Manchester United. At the head of that list are: Ronaldo, Messi (who has verbally agreed a contract renewal at Barcelona), Greizmann, Niguez, Pogba, Haaland, Varane, Ramos, Mbappe, Kane, Grealish, Oblak, Coutinho, DeGea, Koulibaly, Coman, Pjanic, Dybala, Bale, Camavinga, Donnaroumma (who signed for PSG), Sancho (who is coming to United) and Wijnaldum (who has already signed for PSG).
That’s more then $2 billion in talent flooding the transfer market this summer, and those are just the headliners.
There’s also an abundance of top players with only a year left on their contracts that could easily enter the market for the right price. Other then some of the players listed above we can include Lacazette, Benzema, Suarez, Goretzka, Brozovic, Sergi Roberto, Isco, Modric, Witzel, Di Maria, Rudiger, Stones, Carvajal, Aurier, Lloris and Handanovic to the list of players that could be on the move this summer.
However, like many clubs, Manchester United lack significant funds to make multiple major moves in the current market. Manchester United’s obsequious management by Eddie “The Clown” Woodward over the last fifteen years has left the club in a dire situation. Worst of all is United seem to keep making the same mistakes over and over again in the transfer market. This has left us wanting in the same positions on the field for far too long.
Manchester United Lack Greatness in Key Positions
Most fans have come to the same consensus. United need a right winger, CDM, right back, central defender and striker in the next two transfer windows. At best it would be wishful thinking to believe we can fill all of these positions this simmer.
The most recent world class right winger we had was Cristiano Ronaldo, thirteen years ago.
The last time we had a great defensive pairing was Ferdinand and Vidic, almost seven years ago.
The last great genuinely world class defensive minded midfielder we had was Roy Keane, fifteen years ago. Though many would argue Michael Carrick could fall into that category. But, it has still been more than six years since Carrick ran the show in a United midfield.
Whats more, it has even been more than five years since van Persie and Rooney left United. Our current crop of attacking players is exceptional. Though, none of those players, in spite of their relative success, have reached the standard of either Rooney or RVP, other than Cavani and United only have him for another year.
Sancho and Varane would solve the first two of these problems. That’s assuming Varane signs. However, that doesn’t even balance the scale against Manchester Shitty. To tip the scale we need more players.
Same Shit, Different Day
These are all positions that have all be consistently plastered over by Woodward and the Glazers with players the likes of Bebe, Possebon, Obertan, Januzaj, Gibson, Diouf, Anderson, Djemba Djemba, Macheda, Ighalo, Phil Jones and Tosic.
Does anyone even remember Manucho, Lindegaard or Fangzhou?
These aren’t even the high-profile Woodward and Co. transfer failures like Lukaku, Di Maria, Falcao, Schneiderlin, Sanchez, Hargreaves, Veron, Schweinsteiger, Depay, Owen, Allan Smith, Mkhitaryan, Kagawa or Zaha.
Moreover, this list doesn’t even include the players United have missed out on entirely under current ownership.
Upamecano(2015, 2021), Haaland (2018, 2020), Sergio Ramos (2015), Kroos (2014), Hazard (2012), Sneijder (2011, 2016), Fabergas (2015), Thiago (2013), Bale (2007), Hummels (2014), Mane (2015), Muller (2015), Dybala (2019), Ramsey (2008), Griezmann (2017), Sancho (2020), Leighton Baines (2013), Perisic (2017), Ballack (2006), Neuer (2011), Robben (2004), van Dijk (2017), and Lewandowski (2012) are all players we have attempted and failed to sign.
Lets not also forget about the John Obi Mikel fiasco of 2005.
These recent blunders beg the following questions;
Where is there value in the current market that United can take advantage of at a reasonable price?
How can we reverse our recent transfer hoodoo to bring this team back to the level of it’s glory years?
What are the Alternatives for Manchester United?
A central defensive midfielder needs to be our next priority. Manchester United have been heavily linked with Declan Rice, whom West Ham reportedly want almost $100 million for. Rumors say we could pick him up for about $80 million. Either way, his asking price is obviously cost prohibitive. What’s more, Rice hardly painted himself in flying colors at the Eruo this summer. He’s overpriced and overhyped.
Manchester United have been linked with Yevs Bissouma ($35 million), but he is still a young work in progress. Do United really need another project player right now?
John McGinn, Scott McTominay’s Scotland midfield partner is a more experienced option. He has been exceptional in recent seasons deployed as a deep lying midfielder for Aston Villa and Scotland. And, he is priced at around only $30 million. At 25, he certainly has more of the tenacity and attitude Ole wants in his squad, compared to Rice.
Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester) is valued at $60 million. Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid) is valued at $45 million. Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan) is valued at $40 million. Each of these players would be cheaper options then Rice. Arguably, the best CDM in the world is a toss up between Joshua Kimmich and N’golo Kante. For the kind of money West Ham want, we could easily go out and buy Kimmich from Bayern Munich. Though Kante, seems married to Chelsea for the time being.
I am deliberately leaving Camavinga out of this discussion. He is more of a long term Pogba replacement then the traditional CDM we need.
At right back, there simply aren’t a lot of talented options available right now. Especially one that provides the necessary contrast and skillset to push Wan-Bissaka, like Alex Telles did to Shaw.
Trippier looked the best option initially. Unfortunately, like Rice and West Ham, Atletico want too much money for a player who just turned 30.
Leo Dubois is only valued at $18 million and has been outstanding for Lyon this season. He has an exceptional work rate, and he can cross the ball. Moreover, He tallied up two goals and six assists this season. That is a goal better than, and level on assists with Luke Shaw.
Fabian Centonze (Metz) would be another cheap option valued at about $10 million. Centonze hasn’t been playing in the topflight of French football very long. Nonetheless, his reputation is growing quickly with PSG reportedly interested. At that price he would be an absolute steal for any potential admirers.
Tariq Lamptey (Brighton) is valued at $20 million, Max Aarons (Norwich) is valued at $25 million, and James Justin (Leicester) is valued at $19 million. All three have premier league experience and would be suitable back up to AWB. All three are also more attacked minded then AWB and could provide good competition for him.
Manchester United’s Goalkeeping Conundrum
Our goalkeeping conundrum is a more sensitive situation. Neither DeGea nor Henderson wants to play second fiddle to the other. However, neither player hit top form last season. This makes it difficult to decide whether to stick or twist on both of them
Either way, Tom Heaton and Lee Grant are not sufficient back up for either Hendo or DeGea. United can probably wait until January or next summer to chase a new keeper. Though, as post COVID life returns to normal, player valuations are only going to go up. Thus, it may behoove us to pick up a new keeper sooner than later.
Manchester United have been heavily linked with a move for Jan Oblak of Atletico Madrid. But he has a $110 million buyout clause and an $80 million valuation in the current market. There is no way in hell we are going for Oblak. With Donnarumma signing for PSG, the options in the current market are scant.
The three best options I can see are Samir Handanovic (Inter Milan), Peter Gulasci (RB Leipzig) and Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa). Each of them would cost less than $10 million. While all three have also had had back-to-back stellar seasons with their respective clubs. Moreover, they would provide good cover for either Hendo or DeGea.
However, with the current deals we are focusing on, I don’t see another keeper coming in, in this window. Either Hendo or DeGea will likely leave this summer. This leaves Heaton playing backup for this season until United can raise more funds with stadiums returning to full capacity. This time will also give whichever player stays the opportunity to prove they should be out No.1.
Manchester United’s End Game
Like our goalkeeping situation our striker situation is moot. Cavani signing a one-year extension is a sign that United won’t go for a striker this summer. What’s more Dortmund have stood firm on their desire to hold on to Haaland for one more season. This allows United to wait until next summer for Haaland instead of the likes of Danny Ings or Kane now.
United might just have the advantage next summer on Haaland considering the previous Ole connection. Moreover, Sancho and Haaland played phenomenally well together at Dortmund. United’s acquisition of Sancho might just prove an additional advantage when attempting to sign Haaland.
There are Still Too Many Unanswerable Questions
Considering how quickly the Sancho deal got done and how hot the rumors are of Varane, Trippier and Camavinga signing, there are signs that United have shifted their transfer strategy. Though, Manchester United fans have been burnt before in the transfer market. Nothing is a done deal, and every rumor should be taken with a handful of salt.
This summer will certainly be telling in a number of ways:
How will Premier League teams recover from the loss of revenue cause by COVID?
Can Manchester United complete the deals we have floundered on so many times in the past?
Is Varane the player to take our defense to another level?
Can we afford more transfers if the immediate outlay for Sancho and Varane is 80% of our cash on hand?
Who will be Manchester United’s No.1 next season?
Is Murtaugh a ‘boss’ who can get shit done? Or is he another patsy to take the focus off Woodward and the Glazers?
What is to become of Donny van de Beek, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, David DeGea, Dean Henderson and Paul Pogba?
Will Phil Jones still be collecting a free paycheck next season?
Will we see more of United’s talented youth players this season?
And the big one: Can Ole and United win a trophy next season?
Everyone at Manchester United has a lot to answer to this season. There is a lot of expectations building on this squad. Most of us fans agree that we are probably three to four players from competing with Europe’s elite teams. We should know how likely we are to get the job done by the end of August. One things is for sure, the 21/22 season cant come fast enough.
Glory, Glory Man United!