The transfer window has closed early for Premier League teams this summer, and now the focus can shift entirely to the performance of the teams. Having a relatively shorter window to the other leagues, some teams – mainly Liverpool and Arsenal – completed their transfers early in comparison to the likes of Chelsea, Everton and Manchester United.
Talking about Manchester United and their transfer dealings, it wasn’t the most inspiring. Ed Woodward snapped up early deals for Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant from Shakhtar Donetsk, Porto and Stock City respectively. It looked as if United were set to have one of the best transfer windows and were ready to go all out to chase down Manchester City in the quest to win back the Premier League crown.
Jose Mourinho knew the weak areas in his side, he knew he had to get a right-back, left-back (as he did not trust Shaw) and a center-back. The signs were very positive for them. Fred looked a great signing, one that was needed to solidify the midfield and free up Paul Pogba so that he can show his magic. Diogo Dalot, just 19 years old, looked one for the future. Lee Grant was a clever signing, but not the most inspiring one, owing to the injury suffered to Sergio Romero. It seemed they would soon complete the puzzle by landing their remaining targets. But the tables turned.
Once the World Cup ended and pre-season started, it was expected that deals would be wrapped up much more quickly, but there was absolutely no movement in the market for United. Woodward just couldn’t make a solid bid for a defender. According to various reports, Jose gave a list of 5 players to Ed Woodward to sign which would strengthen his team.
Speaking during the US Tour, the United boss said
“I gave a list to my club with five names a few months ago and I wait to see if it’s possible to have one of these players.”
But he wasn’t interested in signing them as he thought they were too old. That’s the reason why he wasn’t ready to pay £5 million more to bring Ivan Perisic, as he was already 28 in the previous transfer window. That was when the foundation of discontent between Woodward and Jose started to lay.
When pre-season ended and the deadline day was nearly a week away, United woke up and started to look for different options for a centre-back. The first defender they approached was Yerry Mina from Barcelona. They contacted the Catalan giants about his availability. Barcelona were willing to sell as they had to reduce their count of Non EU players. They demanded £35 million for him and rejected a £30 million offer from United. They were close to agreeing a deal for him but eventually, negotiations fell through as a fee couldn’t be agreed.
The next defender was Harry Maguire from Leicester City. After having a great World Cup, United were keen to bring him to Old Trafford. But Leicester weren’t ready to lose another important player after Riyad Mahrez. Hence, the Foxes demanded a world record £75 million for the defender. United tried to lower the fee but couldn’t convince them.
Toby Alderweireld was the closest to joining United from Tottenham. This time, even the fee was agreed and the deal was almost over the line, but the only issue was that Tottenham couldn’t find a replacement which led to the transfer being called off.
There were also talks of Jerome Boateng, but even that didn’t materialize as the fee was too high for a soon-to-be 30 year old (€50 million). Baoteng personally called Jose to say no to the move as well. On deadline day, United even approached Diego Godin of Atletico Madrid, but that move went up in the air in a flash. So, as result United were left without a central defender and Jose was stuck with the ones he labored through last season with.
United had one of the worst transfer windows ever. It looked as if the club had lost the charm and magnetism which used to attract big names. They couldn’t find a center-back who was a typical passing defender, who could break the lines and begin attacks. United couldn’t sign Willian, who would’ve solved the right wing problem and was desperately wanted by Mourinho. Moreover, Darmian was destined to leave the club after Dalot arrived but he was starting games instead. United can still lose key players like Pogba to Barcelona. Let’s hope they hang on.
Transfer window rating: 4/10
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