An in depth look into Man Utd's transfer business in the summer window. After a late surge post lockdown to finish in the Champions League places, Ole would have been keen to build upon that platform. How did the club do? United fans went into the 20/21 league campaign with plenty of hope, the signing of Bruno Fernandes seemed to have lifted spirits off the pitch and lifted confidence on the pitch. United ended the season scoring plenty of goals and went on a good run, Bruno Fernandes was seen as the inspiration behind it. Regardless of the positive finish to the season, United fans knew they needed to strengthen to be back competing with the European Elite.
United started the window promisingly, signing Donny van de Beek. The £40m purchase from Ajax had United fans excited about signing one of Ajax's standout performers in the Champions League over the past couple of years. I'm sure a few Youtube compilation videos were watched! Exciting player, very easy on the eye, undoubted technical ability. With United often struggling against teams set up just to play on the break you can see exactly why he was signed. So far Donny has played a bit part role & people will be quick to write him off but theres plenty of football to be played and he will need some time to adapt on & off the pitch. Questions marks over defending was a constant theme throughout the last league campaign. The £50M signing of Wan Bissaka at the start of last season, has been very sound defensively and has been a standout performer within the back 4. Ole has settled upon Lindelof to partner Mcguire in the middle of defence, a pairing that seem to be good for two games and then a calamity for the next. Eric Bailly can't seem to stay fit, Rojo & Jones seem as far away from the first team as ever. It's comes as a surprise that United haven't gone out and signed a centre back to add quality & depth to the shaky backline. On the left side of defence Shaw & Williams have shared the role, Shaw seems to get to the level expected from him when he signed and the get injured again whilst question marks remain over the quality of Williams. Man Utd struck late to sign Alex Telles from Porto, the 27 year old Brazilian is known as a skilful attacking full back. He has only featured once so far, in United's win against PSG. Will Alex Telles lift the United back 4 and be an improvement on what they have? It seems more of a case of a decent level squad addition. Striking late seemed to be a constant theme, after the Donny van de Beek signing, United fans vented their frustration all over social media at once again the clubs lack of decisiveness in the market. Linked with plenty of big names players throughout the window who ended up joining other teams providing more fury amongst the United fans. After remaining inactive for the majority of the window, United got a number of players in the door in the last few days of the window. Following Alex Telles, deals were struck for Pellistri his Uruguyan compatriot Cavani & then Amad Diallo. Pellistri was acquired from Penarol (Uruguay) for a transfer fee of £10m. The young striker who was unheard of before now joins the club as a long term purchase so it's highly unlikely he will feature much at all this season. One to watch for the future no doubt, United had tracked him for some time & a glowing reference from Diego Forlan meant United felt he was a worthy investment. The news of Cavani joining on a short term deal would have lifted some spirits amongst the fans, but this seems like a last resort signing to provide some cover in the centre forward position. United have a fairly young forward line in Rashford, Martial, Greenwood & James. Adding some experience was necessary and Ole will be hoping Cavani uses his wealth of experience to help the development of the other forwards in the team. Cavani, a quality player over the span of his illustrious career has scored plenty of goals, but at 35 years of age is he the signing to take United up a level & provide genuine competition for places? Highly doubtful, having never played in the Premier League before he will need to adjust to the physicality & pace of the game. It's a great move for Cavani, he gets to see out his career at a Champions League club on a reported £220k per week deal. Much like the signing of Pellistri, the £37M signing of Amad Diallo from Atalanta was a surprise to all. The agreement was reached late in the window & he will join the club in the January. A reasonable outlay on a fairly unknown talent! He has played 25 minutes of first team football for Atalanta, grabbing a goal in a 7-1 win in one of his 3 appearances for the first team. An exciting young prospect, he plays on the left of the front 3 using his skills, pace & trickery often to beat his man before cutting infield to play the pass or get the shot off. He will be an exciting talent, he will show glimpses when given the chance but it will be up to the coaching set up at United to mould him into a top player. One for the future for sure but United will hope he can offer something to the squad from day one.
One thing Ole has had the challenge of doing during his time at the club is remove the deadwood or players not in his long term plans. Alexis Sanchez left the club on a permanent basis joining Inter Milan, he would have received a pay off to leave. The media scapegoat Chris Smalling has joined Roma where he repaired his reputation, enjoying his time on loan last season at the club. Numerous loan deals & youngsters who's contract ended were moved on. Once again Man United's transfer strategy was under great scrutiny when the window closed. They were expected to build and improve the team from last year, instead it seems like they panicked after missing out on several targets or acted too late in the window to secure the targets they wanted. Names like Sancho, Gabriel, Bale, Reguilon, Chiesa, Chilwel, Grealish, Dembele & Sarr were being thrown about in the media & in the end United secured deals for players that are either for the long term, or past their best. I don't see any improvements to the starting eleven and after wanting to build on the promise shown post lockdown it's nothing other than a terrible window yet again. I'd go as far as saying it could well spell the end of Ole's managerial role at the club.