Manchester United’s transfer strategy has been a thorn in the club’s side for the best part of a decade.
Bar Bruno Fernandes, United have failed to sign a player in the past few years who has gone on to be deemed an undisputed success and only a handful of players have been sold at a profit.
Daniel James was one of the few United players sold for more than they paid, with Leeds shelling out roughly £25m for the services of the Welshman.
The winger is starting to find form at Elland Road, scoring two goals against Aston Villa in the 3-3 draw at Villa Park on Wednesday night and he looks to be settling in well.
We can’t really sit here and complain about the sale of James given he never looked like he would reach his true potential at Old Trafford, but the reason the club bought him in the first place is definitely up for debate.
When James was signed from Swansea, it was expected he would be a player for the future and would be 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 expected to perform.
Given the hectic fixture schedule, James was never likely to be afforded the time he would need to bed in and settle at his new club.
This highlights United’s problem when signing players. The board sanction a transfer and bring in a promising talent but United then fail to help them develop or integrate them into the team. They’re just thrown in at the deep end and expected to make an immediate impact.
One of the major reasons for this flaw is United don’t have a defined style of play, so even they don’t know what roles they want their new arrivals to undertake. They just hope that if they put them on the field they’ll help the team score or stop them conceding.
Fernandes is the exception but that’s because he is such a technically diverse player and so is able to slot into any role that is asked of him.
Donny van de Beek is another example of this flaw. the MEN Sports understands that United only moved for the Dutchman after they were unable to secure a deal for Jack Grealish or James Maddison. That would be a decent shortlist of players if they were in any similar way, 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 and then look at who is the most highly-rated talent available, with no regard to how they fit into the current squad or whether their strengths would be beneficial to the team.
Under Ralf Rangnick, John Murtough and the next permanent manager, things need to change. If they don’t, the cycle will go on and United will continue to fail as a club.
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