Man United's 2020 Summer Transfer Window: The Verdict
Against all odds United gatecrashed into the top four by the skin of their teeth. Three sem finals, although three losses illustrated a definite step in the right direction. I'm sure I have your agreement when i say the third placed finish was beyond expectations considering the torrid start to last year's campaign also riddled with injuries.
Marked improvement in the on field performance, Liverpool closing in on the coveted PL trophy count and Ole securing Champions League football - only logical consequence should have been roping in further reinforcements starting with Jadon Sancho but thanks to our incorrigible board.. Alas!
The objectives going into this summer's transfer window were very clear:
1. ST, RW, CM, LB, CB positions needed addressing (not necessarily in that order)
2. To get rid of the existing deadwood
3. Continue stoking the flames of our youth system
The board once again left it late until deadline day to complete crucial deals. They also failed to deliver on any of the manager's priority targets despite having a free run at a sparkling generational talent like Jadon Sancho who would've been the perfect fit for United in every sense. In purely that aspect, full credit to Chelsea's ownership and board as they backed their manager eyes closed and won the transfer window hands down.
Yes Sancho's price was a huge sum and with the Covid economic downturn, finances can be an issue but taking into account the revenue generated by a commercial giant in Manchester United over the years and knowing the Glazers, it was merely a convenient excuse to tighten the purse strings. For more details on economic spillage of Covid lets ask Chelsea.The Harry Maguire fiasco and linkup deficiencies with Lindelof were crying out for a new CB but that area has remained unaddressed too.
Just before moving on from what could have been to what is, a reminder that all of United's completed signings could have been finished weeks in advance for the exact same price giving the team, the manager and the new players a head start.
Only Donny van de Beek was signed from Ajax in good time for a very good price. A very versatile, intelligent and effective signing that can play in a mid field pivot or as a 10. I expect him to play as a cover for Bruno and Pogba and play alongside them for minutes in the later stages of the game when required. His timely runs into the box and precision finishes are a tribute to the Ajax academy. If not for Edwin van Der Sar the dutch boy would have probably ended up in Madrid next summer. United's pursuit was fast tracked after the board failed to land Grealish, manager's priority midfield target.
Edinson Cavani appears to be a panic buy from the outset considering he was signed late on deadline day despite being a free agent all summer. United however remain adamant he's a wise owl for the likes of greenwood,rashford and martial to learn from on and off the pitch. What surprises me is giving him the 7. On his day he's a prolific striker but at 33, a history of recent muscle injuries and the intensity of the PL, it's a signing that falls into the risky category. His Champions League experience and goalscoring record is however undisputable and could be an effective trojan horse against PSG.
Alex Telles from Porto for a meagre amount is an excellent acquisition by United. An experienced, attacking full back with a wide range of passing and crossing is a something we've missed probably since Evra.Telles registered more assists just last season in the league than Shaw and Williams have in their United careers combined. His presence in the team will give us much needed width going forward and allow Rashford to operate centrally, where he played for most parts in his purple patch last season. Since 2017/18 only Kimmich has registered more assists than Telles in Europe's top 5 leagues among fullbacks. Spurs snatching up Reguillon fast tracked the brazilian's purchase but again was he the manager's first choice? if yes then why couldn't he be signed a month ago?
The very exciting Amadou Diallo was signed from Atalanta after reportedly being closely monitored for over a year.The left footed winger has been likened to Messi and been dubbed the next big thing in Italy. He will gain valuable experience in Italy before donning the red in January. The 18 year old recently became the youngest player to score in his debut in the Serie A.
Right Winger Facundo Pellistri from Penarol was also bought before the window slammed shut. The highly rated South American is tipped to have a run in the first team owing to his talent and potential. The young Uruguayan was reportedly recommended by Diego Forlan and will have the chance to link up with his fellow countryman Cavani.
Are they all good players? Yes but they might not be exactly what the manager wanted. These players could still all come good and turn out be great signings but let that not take the spotlight away from the glaring inefficiencies of the board from arrogantly sending lawyers to negotiate with footballers to not being proactive in the market.
Apart from lack of purchases, the inability to get rid of deadwood either on loans or sales has been an issue. Right from the unpleasant departure of Gomes, on/off status of Smalling's sale up until the botched up sale of Romero, it's all a long list of errors. It's un-Manchester United like, the treatment of these players who need to be offloaded at the earliest but with dignity. Sanchez was thankfully let off the wage bill. Sale of smalling and loan of Dalot, Pereira, Chong, Garner and Levitt has made room for improved recruitment. For this the complete credit must go to Ole for no previous/other manager would've stuck their neck on the line to remove fringe players given the record of our board at replacing them. One can only hope that the consecutive transfer windows will see the complete shift of deadwood(long overdue) with priority targets moving in.
One bright light in this window was the flurry of young players brought in from all corners of the world. Marc Jurado (from Barcelona), Joe Hugill and Logan Pye (both Sunderland), Isak Hansen-Aaroen (Tromso), Charlie McNeil (Man City), Alvaro Fernandez (Real Madrid), Radek Vitek (Olomouc), Alejandro Garnacho (Atletico Madrid), Willy Kambwala (Sochaux) are a few exciting additions that could break into the first team in the coming years. The only apprehension being, the board shouldn't look at this route as an alternate for signing top players for top dollar.
Any player in the radar of United is priced exorbitantly by the seller clubs owing to the incompetence of the board, a price more often than not we've ended up paying despite trying to play hardball thanks to our weak negotiation skills. Premium players signed for commercial and off field reasons (plays piano in the background) and failing to close deals that are well within reach, sometimes even after agreeing personal terms and other variables is a testament to our board. Sancho was scouted for over 18 months and was fully prepared to make the switch yet somehow is still at Dortmund. It just came down to paying the price to which the board danced around and finally refused riddled throughout with embarrassing press stories followed by shameless attempts at covering it up. If you want the best, you've got to buy the best and sometimes it will cost you the most. Being Manchester United that shouldn't be an issue yet there is no dearth of PR machinery or briefs to refurbish their image tarnished by their own doings.
The domestic transfer window is still open and pursuit of Sarr could still be on. He's a good player but with Watford already rejecting our desperate plea for a loan and with the two young wingers coming in, is he worth 40m? Could that also mean the end of Sancho? Bottomline, i wouldnt hold my breath on any m movement
A period of transition dubbed as "The Rebuild" has been handed a big blow due to the dross mismanagement behind the scenes. Ole might not be the best tactician out there but he's certainly the breath of fresh air the club needed after a long period of money bags trying to fix holes on the football pitch. The walls are sure to close in on him at the slightest dip in performance due to the off field theatrics. A window that was supposed to empower the team to go full steam ahead in closing the gap to the top now has left us wheels off and looking over our shoulder due to effective recruitment by Wolves, Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham while we post throwback tweets.
For me, given my love and expectations from this great football club, the window is a sorry 3/10. We've been set back at least 2 years. Anything good coming on the pitch will be result of Ole and the players working their socks off and they will very likely need a whole lot of luck and a sturdy long rope this year. 'Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results'" is why Einstein also suggests it would be foolish to go over the manager roulette again. Reserve your rage and anger for those that deserve it.Don't let the board pull wool over your eyes or have they already?