By 90Min
June 22, 2019

Jadon Sancho, David Brooks, Aaron Wan-Bissaka - what do they all have in common?

They're all 21 years-of-age or younger, you never hear bad stories about any of them and they've all been linked with a move to Manchester United this summer. 

So what? When it comes to the Red Devils' recruitment, they all fit the profile; that's what.

Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Just like the recently-acquired Daniel James, these are precisely the kinds of players that United must be targeting if they are to have any hope of finally ending the six-year nightmare that has followed Sir Alex Ferguson's glorious reign at Old Trafford.

An issue that has been hindering the team's progress in recent campaigns is their transfer policy; it's scattergun. It goes something like this: Ed Woodward sees a household name is available. He attempts to negotiate and agrees to pay over the odds for the player. The coach is handed a new prima donna who he didn't necessarily want and has no choice but to select. Splendid.

Now, that approach has caused some serious damage that is still being dealt with today. Angel Di Maria cost £59.7m, Romelu Lukaku was a £75m arrival and Paul Pogba's return was secured for a whopping £89m.

Firstly, those figures leave the club short on funds for further transfers as their are financial fairplay regulations in place. Secondly, an inflated price tag seems to create an inflated ego, and too many of those within one squad is a bad cocktail. 

Finally, making expensive signings is not a substitute for carefully building a team.

Michael Regan/GettyImages

It's important to remember that bringing in a marquee player is not inherently bad. In fact, it's extremely positive if proper research is carried out and the new man fits in well. Unfortunately, it's very easy to mess that up.

Even if that does occur, it's not the biggest concern; various successful sides have splashed out on a new superstar, only to realise that he's not all he's cracked up to be. Alarm bells should only ring when one club continuously makes such a mistake. United are that club.


As a result, they have ended up carrying a load of deadweight. In the nicest way possible, Alexis Sanchez has been sh*t since joining from Arsenal. Paul Pogba has been ridiculously inconsistent and annoyingly arrogant, Lukaku is a laughing stock and lord knows what Fred is.


These players are a drain on the team, both financially and emotionally. To begin undoing the damage they have caused, the Red Devils hierarchy must bring an end to their madcap approach to transfers and instead focus on youth.

There are myriad benefits to doing so. One is that the younger, lesser-known footballer is likely to come at a more reasonable price, such as Swansea City's James, who was recruited for (around) £18m earlier this month. If they don't come cheaper, it usually means the player has already proven themselves on the big stage and warrants a higher fee.


That is why the Old Trafford outfit are paying Crystal Palace £60m for Aaron Wan-Bissaka; the starlet was the outstanding right-back in the Premier League last campaign, so he's hardly going to be available for a pittance.


But wait, what's the difference between spending that money on Wan-Bissaka and using it to buy, say, Toby Alderweireld? The answer: age.


The Palace youngster has time to grow, learn and develop. He's nowhere near being the finished article and can, therefore, be worked on by the United coaching setup. The club can turn a pricey transfer into a bargain with someone like Wan-Bissaka. Alderweireld, on the other hand, is unlikely to kick-on and pay back his fee.

Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Effectively, the Eagles man is more worth the risk as he has greater potential and more time to iron out any kinks. On top of that, another bonus is that players like Wan-Bissaka tend to have personalities that are easier to manage.


Dressing room tension has long been a feature of the current Manchester United era and it stems from having too many prima donnas, most of whom take up a sizeable chunk of the wage-bill.


When you're trying to work through a testing period - as United have been doing since Fergie's retirement - you would ideally have a band of battlers, a squad of professionals ready to fight tooth and nail to get the club back amongst the best.


Admit it, you can't picture Pogba or Sanchez being that type of footballer. It would be weird and out of character to see those two busting a lung for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or putting their neck on the line. James or Brooks, though, do appear to have that kind of character.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

The Welsh pair have the hunger and determination to fuel a Red Devils resurgence. They have a point to prove, unlike Pogba, and would take pride in their performance.

Think back to Ferguson's imperious United sides of the 1990s and 2000s. A workmanlike attitude was more important than possessing mercurial talent when it came to team selection. Yes, a Cristiano Ronaldo or a Dimitar Berbatov was always involved, but the majority of the lineup was players who had the mindset required.

Those magnificent sides were obviously not comprised entirely of academy graduates, but that same fearlessness is found in many young footballers today. If this summer's arrivals have the right frame of mind, they could turn a misfiring bunch of individuals into a cohesive unit, simply by being the glue that holds it all together.

Dear Ole, don't go for Paulo Dybala. Don't even think about going for Kalidou Koulibaly. Put faith in youth, as you have always done before, and let their optimism and dedication drag the club out of this darkest of periods.

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