Manchester United is the unplanned gift that keeps on giving. The summer transfer window has come to a close for international transfers. The domestic windows close today. It has been a very busy window as usual in the English Premier League. Despite fears that the pandemic will cripple the market, clubs have gone about their business with purpose. English clubs went about strengthening positions they deemed weak with London side Chelsea leading the pack. The blues signed 7 new players during the window, taking their total to above £200M. Roman Abramovich went all in for Frank Lampard. Chelsea’s chief negotiator Marina Granovskaia was busy as a bee throughout the summer, securing deals in France, Germany, and England
Everton, Marcel Brands, and Carlo Ancelotti completed some important transfers too. Colombian James Rodriguez, along with some midfield reinforcements in Abdoulaye Doucoure and Former Napoli man Allan have all come in. The Merseyside club looks like they will be real competitors with the momentum they are gathering. Their new signings are already impressing. Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Lucas Digne, and Richarlison are coming into their own, making them a team to watch. Other teams like Aston Villa, Leeds United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal have improved their teams with quality new additions. Manchester United’s window was disappointing, and from the outside, it reeks of haphazardness.
United’s targets were never defined, hence the links with a host of players this summer. Sergio Reguilion ended up signing for Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur and Ousmane Dembele refused to leave Barcelona. Douglas Costa returned to Bayern Munich. Ansu Fati signed a new contract to remain at FC Barcelona, while Ismaila Sarr is still with Watford. Their biggest failure this summer? Jadon Sancho. The Englishman was their primary target, but United failed to match Borussia Dortmund’s valuation for the player. Things weren’t all bad for United this summer as they added some firepower. Uruguay international and former PSG striker Edison Cavani will add competition for the centre-forward spot. Cavani was available throughout the window, but United only made their move in the final minute. Terrible planning.
Brazilian left-back Alex Telles will be looking to oust Luke Shaw. Shaw’s positioning does not look to be improving and his attacking game is also not impressive. Highly rated youngsters Amad Traore & Fecundo Pellistri are for the future. The only signing that looks preplanned is Donny Van de Beek. Yet, only a few games into the season and United do not know what to do with him.
A Sensible Signing
DVB sealed his £45M move from Ajax to Manchester United this summer. He is a highly regarded talent. Real Madrid and Barcelona cast their eyes his way but they could not sign him. VDB took his talents to the theatre of dreams but there was a small problem with his plans. With an already established midfield, the Dutch midfielder is finding it difficult to break into the first xi. DVB can play in several positions in the midfield. The central midfielder started playing as a holding midfielder but now he operates as a more attacking central midfielder. He links the midfield to the attack and his timely runs into the box are a deadly tool. The problem is that United already has settled players that perform this function. OGS will not want to upset the balance.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer favors the 4-2-3-1 formation and it bore dividends towards the end of last season for United. United went on a remarkable 18 game unbeaten streak. They finished third, sneaking ahead of Chelsea and Leicester City in the final days. A defensive midfielder alongside a controlling playmaker at the base of the midfield in Pogba. The wingers (Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood) and a no. 10 (Bruno Fernandes) line up behind the striker (Anthony Martial). The presence of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes is keeping the Dutchman on the bench, even though he possesses starting quality.
What Lies Ahead?
It is hard to determine if DVB can find his way into the first eleven or if he will settle for a place on the bench. Paul Pogba is in the final year of his contract and with his constant flirting with Madrid, he might leave. He is a regular for the Netherlands as he was for Ajax. The team needs quality, but with Bruno and Pogba in front, it is hard to envisage why DVB was their first signing. The team doesn’t look like they need additions in that particular area. Defensive signings and the need for a right-winger are the more pressing needs.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now faced with a dilemma. United fans want to see their star signing start and finish a match for the Reds in the Premier League. Can the Norwegian drop one of Paul Pogba or Bruno Fernandes for that to happen? Does he attempt a new formation that accommodates his new man? Say a 4-3-1-2 formation. We will see. Agents are already agenting. DVB’s agent is already complaining about his client’s game time at Manchester United. These comments never change anything. But we will see.