Manchester United Summer Transfer Strategy: Outgoing Players

Summer Transfers Held Up By Club Sale

Manchester United have reached the tip of the tail end of the season. Third place is secured. All that is left to play for is a Wembley derby final for the not-so-trivial matter of the FA Cup. That means the season’s end is near and the summer transfer window is upon us. Begging the question, what is Manchester United’s summer transfer strategy?

The pending club sale is leaving doubts in many fans minds. Questions and expectations are festering regarding the club’s potential spending power in the upcoming window.

How much money does ten Hag have available to him? How many current dead weight players can the club shift? And the pista resistance, who will own the club come August 12th when the season kickstarts again?

There is so much hanging on the club’s sale. It is almost impossible to gauge what ten Hag is going to be able to accomplish during the upcoming window. Even though he would have you believe otherwise in his pressers.

Manchester United Need Depth and Goals

However, there are a few obvious gaps that need filling. As well as a few obvious departures that have been left wanting for several seasons. On the field, goals and depth are the two most glairing gaps in this squad. Gaps, that need remedying if United are to start competing for Premier and Champions League trophies again.

Man Utd win League Cup to end six-year trophy drought - Sports - SAMAA

But the word depth can be a loaded term. It can literally be interpreted as, United need a top player in almost every position and a comparable player to cover each position, like Manchester City. Which is a Sisyphean task for any club that doesn’t have an elite front office, infinite funds and the ability to skirt more than 100 FFP violations.

We barely have a starting eleven that can compete with elite teams on their best day. And that assumes those eleven are always uninjured, not in need of a rest, available, fit and on form. Which they are not. Where as our second eleven, on their own, are probably not even good enough to stave relegation.

How Many In, How Many Out?

The two magic numbers I have seen most consistently thrown around are eight and twelve. That’s twelve players at a minimum that need to be offloaded. Players that are either dead weight, good but not good enough or have been forgotten entirely.

Let that number sink in for a moment. United fans and pundits are by in large so discontent with the team’s roster that a MINIMUM of TWELVE players are seen as superfluous or detrimental to the squad.

Where as eight is the magic number of incoming players needed. Eight players to provide depth and replacements to those players that need to find a new club. Eight players that are good enough to help propel United to a Premier League title.

That level of turn over is unprecedented and unheard of in the modern game. Especially considering the caliber of player ten Hag is looking to recruit.

While many fans feel those numbers may be conservative, I believe them to be unrealistic. Specifically because of the sluggish track record the United front office has. When was the last time a United front office, let alone any Premier League team has seen more than ten first team players sold and replaced?

The words ‘hardly ever’ come to mind.

Already Confirmed Departures

As loanees, that respectively succumbed to injury or failed to impress, Sabitzer and Weghorst are likely on their way back to their host clubs. Sabitzer did raise eyebrows at times, and proved to be a better midfield option than Fred, McTominay and Van de Beek. Unfortunately, his season ending injury means retaining him is less attractive at the price Bayern Munich want for him.

If Bayern are willing to do a better deal, United would be remiss to pass on him. However, at the moment that seems highly unlikely.

Jones to leave Manchester United after 12 years | Manchester United

Phil Jones has already been confirmed as released by the club. As much as I am one of those fans that always wanted Jones to succeed, and had endless empathy for his injury struggles, it has been time for him to find greener pastures for a while now. My heart truly breaks for Phil Jones.

Half a career wasted to injuries and bench warming. I sincerely hope he doesn’t become another Owen Hargreaves.

Too Many Failed Loans and Undeveloped Teenagers

Erik Bailly, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams, Dean Henderson and Axel Tuanzebe are all still on United’s books and need to be sold. Most were loaned out this season and produced little evidence that they deserve to be United players.

Shortire, Amad, Elanga, Hannibal, Iqubal, Mainoo and Pulestri have all failed to cement a place in the first team squad. However, they are all still very young and will likely be given more time before judgement is passed on them. Rumors are, ten Hag will vet them thoroughly on tour this summer. Especially Amad.

Most of the younger players will likely get another loan. However, depending on how the transfer window and preseason goes we may yet see some of them given a chance next season.

The David De Gea Dilemma

Man United: David de Gea has AGREED a new contract but club haven't signed  off on it | Daily Mail Online

Butland and Heaton are nowhere near the quality needed to cover, provide competition to, or even replace De Gea. That is also assuming that De Gea will need replacing, probably in the next few transfer windows.

As much as I am a huge supporter of De Gea, like Ronaldo, his abilities and virtues as a player, while undeniably great, are not ideally suited for the way Erik ten Hag wants to play.

Regardless what you think of De Gea, at the moment it looks as if he is going to sign a new deal. Meaning we will likely see him in goal for the next few seasons. But rumors are also circling that ten Hag, at a minimum, wants to provide better competition to him next season.

Who Remembers Mason Greenwood?

The not so honorable mention, Mason Greenwood. We all seem to have forgotten him. He might be a domestic abuser, but even that has not prompted Manchester United to remove him from their website or their payroll.

I am actually reaching a point of infuriation at the fact that the club keep holding supposed conversations about his future. The evidence against him is damming and public. How many times are they going to skirt the obvious and paper over it with the tag line ‘we are consulting the board, players, staff and women’s team regarding Mason Greenwood’s future at the club.’ As if the conversation is supposed to be diplomatic.

The bottom line for me, domestic abusers have no place as public figures, celebrities or sports icons. Regardless of how much time and money was invested into developing them.

Lest we forget that his indiscretions are also a huge reason why United have a striker crisis. He and Rashford were meant to be the future of Manchester United’s attack. Even in the highly unlikely event his case is either settled, dismissed, he is acquitted, or he is found innocent, the position he has put the club and its fans in, is wholly unforgivable.

The Regular Underperformers

The list doesn’t stop there. Maguire, Fred, McTominay, Van de Beek, Martial, Sancho, and Antony have all been found wanting for most of the season. Each has had their moments, but none has done enough to warrant a place in this team.

Though if I was a betting man, I would bet the house on all of them being at Carrington next season. Even Maguire. Sancho and Antony are still too new to United to be replaced so soon. Not to mention United need bodies.

Eight players Manchester United could sell in 2023 to raise transfer funds:  Maguire, McTominay...

Questions have been asked throughout the season about whether Dalot and/or Wan-Bissaka need replacing. The latter appears to be the better, more consistent option. So, perhaps Dalot is the more likely player to replace should ten Hag want another full back. But recent reports have come out revealing that Dalot has just signed a new deal. So, regardless of my opinion, it looks like they are both here to stay.

Perhaps most of these players will be transitioned out and replaced over the next few transfer windows. But for now, ten Hag’s priorities lie in filling gaps and offloading players that will never see a game. Not replacing players that featured in more than half of the Red Devils’ matches this season.

What is Realistic to Expect from this Summer Window?

Filtering out players that will be loaned, players that have already been confirmed as leaving United, players returning to parent clubs from loan, players that are under police investigation, and players that still have too much potential to let go, here is my list of personnel to realistically be sold or loaned. Hopefully.

Bailly, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe, Elanga and Henderson are absolutely in the shop window. Whether on loan or in the United first team, none of them appears to have convinced Erik ten Hag of their merits. The fact many of us forgot most of them were even still United players tells you all you need to know.

I also think ten Hag would consider offers for Martial, McTominay, Fred, Lindelof and Maguire, provided there is an opportunity to bring in a replacement. Van de Beek would likely be on this list too were he not still recovering form injury.

The contrast to the required exodus of Untied players is one simple fact. One that I and countless other muppets, pundits and commentators, have reiterated endlessly. United need bodies. And each of these players has played a significant number of minutes this season, meaning they need to be replaced, not simply sold or let go. As much as many United fans do not like the bodies we have, you cant replace everyone at once.

More Than Anything, Manchester United Need Goals

But the most glairing weakness in this United team is not the dead weight or the underperforming first team players. It is the gaping crevasse at the front of the pitch. Rashford has been phenomenal this season. But United’s trepidation in front of goal is solely related to our lack of striking options.

Man Utd transfer targets Victor Osimhen, Tammy Abraham, Harry Kane and Benjamin Sesko.

If I am anywhere close with my predictions, United will prioritize a striker first and foremost this summer.

This season the Red Devils ranked in the bottom half of the premier league for goals scored and xG. Yet Bruno Fernandes broke a league record for more than 100 goal scoring chances created.

Another damning fact, last season was universally agreed upon by United fans as the worst on recent record. Yet this season we only scored one more goal in the Premier League than last season.

Simply put, United create a lot of chances, but they lack the finishing touch to put those chances away. Especially when Rashford isn’t in the team. And, when Martial cant go five games without picking up an injury. Especially with Wout Weghorst as our second choice striker. And especially when Cavani, Ronaldo, Greenwood, and even Ighalo go unreplaced.

Manchester United are Desperate for Depth

Second priority is likely depth in midfield and/or central defense. Priority on which position likely depending on what players are sold, what players are available and how much money ten Hag can spend.

Elite midfielders and central defenders come at a high premium. So much so that it is unlikely, without oil state blood money, that Manchester United will be able to recruit a world class striker, midfielder and center back in one window. Particularly given that each player we are reportedly interested in, in those positions is likely to cost $100+ million.

According to the latest reports the next priority for ten Hag is a new goalkeeper. One good enough to not just understudy De Gea but to genuinely provide competition to.

Lastly, ten Hag also appears interested in finding a second striker to provide more competition for places up front.

Assuming all outgoing transfers and loans go well, my assessment requires United to sign five to seven players to be competitive next season. Or three to five players if we want to bolster a squad desperately in need of purging.

The Glazer’s Continue to Handicap ten Hag’s Transfer Strategy

With the way that the club’s sale is progressing, we would be lucky to get three quality transfers in those positions. That’s assuming the club is sold. If the Glazers remain in charge that number, and the quality of potential signings becomes largely contingent on FFP and if the Glazers are able to bring in outside investment into the club.

Transfer windows to pass and the unresolved pending sale of the club indicate that Untied will struggle this window. Even if a deal were agreed today to sell United, the process of transitioning ownership takes so long that it is highly unlikely that a new owner will be able to make a significant impact in this window.

Because there is still so much unknown with regards to the club sale, I am going to assume that United need the following first and foremost. Anything more would be a bonus. Anything less would be met with a roll of the eyes in disgust.

We need a striker, a midfielder, a center back, a keeper, and a young back up striker. All who are good enough to compete for a starting spot.

More to Come for ten Hag

Regardless of the endless media speculation, I for one, do not believe fans will see the revolution we crave this summer. Instead we will be left wanting. While simultaneously and hypocritically shelling out our hard earned money for the new kit with the name of whatever singular blockbuster player we sign on the back.

Fortunately, this is the grim half of the coin. The dark before the light. The realistic take, irrespective of the potential signings to enter Old Trafford. Most of which, is an interpretation based on the flaws of Manchester United.

The brighter half of the transfer coin is the half we all love. This is the half that allows us to dream and speculate over possible incomings to Carrington. A light at the end of the tunnel and not just a pessimistic outlay of United’s shortcomings.

Following the veritable cornucopia of potential incoming transfers to United is like a drug. To fantasize about the headline names flirting with Old Trafford is like an aperitif for the upcoming season. It helps to cleanse our souls from the build up of frustration in us that stems from watching a cacophony of abject performances from United that could easily be rectified if United simply engaged in basic good business practices.

Stay tuned to part two of my early analysis of Manchester United’s transfer strategy. In my follow up to this article I will outline and rank possible incoming signings. I will dive into the how United could shape up as the new seasons closes in. And I will realistically gauge the chances of United seeing quality squad improvements this summer. Stay tuned.

Glory, Glory Man United.

About Keagan Priest McNicol 40 Articles
My Name is Keagan. I am a lifelong fan of the Red Devils and the beautiful game. My favorite things in the world are my family and friends, Manchester United, good food, the great outdoors, sarcasm and tennis. Green and gold until the club is sold.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.