Sometimes it doesn’t matter how bumpy the journey was, it’s just that you reached your destination.
Many will argue that this also applies to Manchester United’s summer transfer window, which ended with a flurry of deals that satisfied Erik ten Hag and restored confidence for the season ahead – but it should never have come to this.
When United announced the signing of Mason Mount on July 5, days before their pre-season tour of the United States, fans were encouraged. An early deal is always a good deal and for once, despite all the takeover talk in the background, United were ahead of their rivals. This support increased when Andre Onana arrived two weeks later and the club acted quickly and decisively to replace David de Gea.
But then cracks appeared. It was only on August 5 that Rasmus Hojlund was announced as a United player – and only now has he been declared fit to play and is finally ready to make his debut against Arsenal this afternoon. A transfer fee of £72 million including add-ons represented an overpayment for an inexperienced 20-year-old, however promising the Dane may be.
If the Gunners and United are the two contenders this season, each with a chance of dethroning Manchester City, then Mikel Arteta’s side are certainly in a better position to threaten the champions. Their contracts for Kai Havertz, Declan Rice, Jurrien Timber and David Raya were all completed by mid-August; There was no crowding for emergency stuff on deadline day.
United, meanwhile, have proven they have not learned their lessons.
They learned nothing from the 2020 summer window when they launched a midnight trolley dash for Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani, both short-term signings who have since left the club. They have learned nothing from 2021 and Cristiano Ronaldo’s panicked fall that ended in tears (he’s no longer at the club either, by the way). They seemed to learn in 2022 – United stayed away from deadline day signings – but here we are again.
Okay, Ten Hag will argue that his hand was forced when it came to Sergio Reguilon. Unforeseen injuries to Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia forced United out; Although many will still argue that Alvaro Fernandez or an out-of-position Diogo Dalot could have filled the gap instead of resorting to a loan deal from Spurs.
“I think we responded very well in this emergency situation,” barked Ten Hag.
While that may be fair, the delay in signing Sofyan Amrabat was entirely avoidable. In fact, the fact that United ended up achieving their long-term goal with a loan rather than paying the asking price of less than £30m is worrying. Club insiders will cite financial fair play restrictions, but United should have been able to sell players to balance the books and fund a permanent move to Amrabat.
Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay are still United players. But a £60million double bid from West Ham was rejected due to United’s valuation of the Scot. Maguire’s offer was accepted, but United refused to offer their former captain a sufficient severance payment to allow him to join the Hammers.
More money could have been raised elsewhere. Selling Fred for a paltry £13m seemed too cheap, as did £15m for Dean Henderson. Young players like Zidane Iqbal and Teden Mengi could have achieved a little more.
All of this sums up a club Despite it In the transfer market in particular, things are not going as smoothly as they should.
But the picture at the end will please Ten Hag and most fans, with Amrabat as a key piece of the puzzle. He offers depth in midfield and finally some cover for Casemiro. There is hope that Mount and Hojlund will come to an agreement, while Onana already looks like a slam dunk.
It wasn’t a perfect summer. The process was arduous and fraught with question marks over the club’s senior management, including CEO Richarld Arnold and director of football John Murtough. There are still major doubts about the No.9 position, not to mention defense, with Raphael Varane injured and Maguire unsold.
“We have done good business, we have put together a strong squad and are ready to take on the fight,” emphasized the coach.
There are convictions in Ten Hag’s comments, but Sunday’s game against Arsenal will show how close United actually are to achieving their desired goal.
https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/man-utd-transfer-window-ten-hag-amrabat-reguilon-b1104373.html The tussle over the transfer window shows that Man Utd still cannot be trusted to learn from their past mistakes