Manchester United’s transfer strategy has been a thorn in the side of the club for the better part of a decade.
Bar Bruno Fernandes, United have failed to sign a player in recent years which has been considered an undisputed success and only a handful of players have been sold for a profit.
Daniel James was one of the few players United sold more than they paid for, with Leeds paying around £25m for the Welshman’s services.
The winger is starting to find form at Elland Road, scoring twice against Aston Villa in the 3-3 draw at Villa Park on Wednesday night and he seems to be settling in well.
We can’t really sit here and complain about the sale of James given that it never looked like he would reach his true potential at Old Trafford, but the reason the club bought him in the first place location is definitely up for debate.
When James was signed from Swansea, he was expected to be a player for the future and given the chance to grow and develop at United.
Oh how wrong we were. James was instantly thrown into the starting XI, out of position and supposed to play.
Given the busy fixture schedule, James would probably never have had the time he needed to bed down and settle into his new club.
This highlights United’s problem with signing players. The board sanction a transfer and bring in promising talent but United then fail to help them develop or integrate them into the squad. They are just thrown in the deep end and are expected to have an immediate impact.
One of the main reasons for this flaw is that United don’t have a set style of play, so even they or they don’t know what roles they want their newcomers to take on. They just hope that if they put them on the pitch they will help the team score or prevent them from conceding.
Fernandes is the exception, but that’s because he’s such a technically diverse player and therefore capable of playing any role that is asked of him.
Donny van de Beek is another example of this flaw. the MEN Sports understands United only moved for the Dutchman after they were unable to complete a deal for either Jack Grealish or James Maddison. It would be a decent shortlist of players if they were similar, but they’re not. What did United want their number 10 to do?
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It feels like United identify a position they need to strengthen, then look at who is the highest-rated talent available, regardless of how they fit into the current squad or if their strengths would be beneficial to the team.
Under Ralf Rangnick, John Murtough and the next permanent manager, things have to change. If they don’t, the cycle will continue and United will continue to fail as a club.
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