It’s fair to say that several Manchester United fans are feeling a little deflated after the transfer window slammed shut on Monday evening. The likes of Jadon Sancho, Gareth Bale, Jack Grealish, and Kalidou Koulibaly were all tipped to arrive at Old Trafford at various points during the summer, only for none of them to finally sign a deal.
However, having said that, the Red Devils still brought in four players and managed to offload Alexis Sanchez. So did all’s well that ended well?
United’s Signings This Summer:
Across the summer transfer window, United were linked with a large number of players ranging from Raul Jimenez to Bale, Sancho, and dozens of others. The football betting markets were going crazy, and they’ll have made plenty of money too, with all the club’s business coming on players slightly out of the blue.
The opening few games have seen many pundits and experts cast doubts on the club’s season. Many betting sites, such as the live streaming and betting tips via 101greatgoals are now almost predicting United to struggle against any team they go up against. And that’s been largely down to their lack of recruitment in key areas. The bookies had been altering their odds every five minutes, such was the uncertainty around United’s transfer policies.
At one point, Bale and Sancho were odds on to join the Red Devils, with the markets around the former shifting regularly. He was priced as a heavy favourite to join Solskjaer’s side one minute, then a few hours later was heavily backed to join Spurs, where he ultimately ended up. It proved to be a disaster for United, and many punters too!
However, United did get some deals over the line though, and the players they brought in are all exciting talents, with Donny van de Beek looking a quality acquisition. He has so far only played bit parts for the club. Deadline day signing Alex Telles has the opportunity to nail down the left-back spot, and if consistent, will certainly improve that area, with Brandon Williams and Luke Shaw failing to impress for a full season.
Telles could prove to be the best signing of United’s busy end to the transfer window. Moreover, according to the new FIFA 21, only three left-backs are rated better than him on attributes, those being Liverpool’s Andy Robertson, Barca’s Jordi Alba, and Alex Sandro of Juventus.
Elsewhere, the signings get a little more interesting and more open for debate. Edinson Cavani could prove to be a useful alternative to Rashford or Martial leading the line for the Red Devils, but it’s fair to say that it’s not the signing fans were looking for. Paul Merson believes the move to be a panic move, but the signing of an ageing Ibrahimovic worked for the club. Therefore, there’s no reason to think that Cavani can’t offer something beneficial to United’s cause, whether as a regular starter or a bit-part player.
His Uruguayan counterpart, Facundo Pellestri, is another signing the fans weren’t necessarily expecting. The club was in the market for a winger all transfer window, with Gareth Bale and Jadon Sancho being the club’s primary choices, so an 18-year-old uncapped player with only 30 appearances for Penarol is going to leave a bitter taste. He’s expected to go straight into the first team, and the pressure is already on for Pellestri.
Where United Missed Out:
It’s not necessarily the signings United made that has determined the transfer window. If their signings this summer have a fantastic season at the club, Ed Woodward and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might claim their transfer window being a success. But that’s simply papering over the cracks.
The most telling moment of the transfer window came when the Dortmund board claimed that they were confused by Manchester United’s approach to signing Jadon Sancho. The deal ultimately didn’t get through and there has been harsh criticism from the German club.
The Sancho saga isn’t unusual at Old Trafford. It took them over a year to get Harry Maguire, while it has recently emerged that Ed Woodward personally cancelled a move for Erling Haaland back in January due to agent fees. Haaland has since scored 21 goals in 23 games for Borussia Dortmund.
Failure to sign Erling Haaland was certainly a costly error, and the Sancho one could prove the same. Many other players could slip out of their hands and probably, already have. If United want to be a success in the transfer window and sign the players they need to improve, then something needs to be done. Solskjaer has been reported to be incredibly frustrated by United’s transfer policy and the scenario was the same during Mourinho’s reign.
Has all that’s well ended well? Come the end of the season, if the summer signings prove successful for United, they may sell it like that, but that is far, far from the case and once again, it is a case of what might have been.