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Manchester United spending must begin to yield silverware
Manchester United have kicked off their summer recruitment plans with official confirmation on a deal for Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.
New digits for @Sanchooo10 👀📞
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 23, 2021
In a transfer saga that dates back to last year, the gifted England winger now makes his expected return to home shores for a reported 73-million pounds and will now look to link up with Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial, Edinson Cavani, and Mason Greenwood as United’s credible forward options.
If you thought Manchester United was done this summer, think again. After finishing second in the Premier League behind rivals Manchester City while also falling at the last hurdle in their Europa League finals lost to Villarreal, the Red Devils are within touching distance of netting Ole Gunnar Solskjær his first piece of silverware while patrolling the Old Trafford technical area.
Manchester United are in direct contact with Real Madrid for Raphaël Varane since one week. Varane wants a Premier League experience but he’ll be respectful. He’s not breaking his relationship with Real. 🔴 #MUFC
It’s up to the two clubs to reach an agreement. Talks on.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 21, 2021
Having already been linked with considerable interest in Real Madrid’s Raphaël Varane, the club has also not ruled out bringing in another center-back to improve the depth of quality in the first-team squad even if Varane does eventually complete a move to the red half of Manchester.
Additionally, the recruitment of a central midfielder before the conclusion of the summer transfer windows seems more of a when and not if scenario. With serious interest in Paul Pogba coming by way of Paris Saint-Germain, the departure of the mercurial French international would unquestionably trigger the club to undertake efforts to replace him.
— Christian Falk (@cfbayern) July 23, 2021
Manchester United has been linked with interest in a trio of possible central options in Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka, Stade Rennes French starlet Eduardo Camavinga, and Wolves maestro Rubén Neves.
With all possible business that could be concluded come the end of the window, United could easily eclipse the 150-million pound mark, and with the figures and potential names that could follow in the wake of Jadon Sancho, there are few that could argue with the notion that Solskjær would have to deliver in the 2021-22 season.
When you have money to spend, you should be able to spend it. While football is not a level financial playing field, the realities of the Premier League when it comes to every level of the table are very much akin to an arms race. For Manchester United, a gargantuan global entity with resources that can sustain high levels of spending, it is no surprise that the club do just that.
On Sancho, deal takes @ManUtd net spend over past three summers to €295m, more than any other major European club over same period.
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) July 23, 2021
Over the last three seasons, no club in European football has a higher net spend than the Red Devils’ 295-million Euro (252-million pounds) after the deal for Jadon Sancho was completed. This was added to business done for Harry Maguire (75m), Bruno Fernandes (54m), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (47m), Donny van de Beek (33m), Amad Diallo (18m), Daniel James (15m), Alex Telles (13m), Odion Ighalo (10m loan fee), and Facundo Pellistri (7m). Note: Figures are in pounds and sourced from Transfermarkt
In the same three-year period, United sold player assets for a combined (85m), with the vast majority of those sales coming from the deal that saw Romelu Lukaku head to Inter Milan for 63-million pounds.
Perhaps most impressively, Manchester United sits comfortably ahead of rivals Manchester City in the spending table across the last five years as well, having a net spend that is 100-million more than their city counterparts; 434-million to 348-million.
To be clear, this is not a stick to beat the club with by any measure, at least regarding their spending power. A club of the size and financial muscle that United can bring to bear should be doing precisely that, but the reality is that more must be expected on the back of said spending habits.
Last season showed real promise for the club despite finishing 12-points adrift of City in the league and falling short in a major European final against what some considered to be “lesser” opposition. But after the acquisitions of Sancho, and the hopeful deals for Varane as well as a central midfielder – despite the possible loss of Paul Pogba – means that the club has to finally come good with tangible results to add to the trophy cabinet.
Should they fail once more, then it is hard to see a scenario where Solskjær remains in charge as the club – at least on paper – would certainly have a first-choice XI and squad more than capable of bringing silverware home to Old Trafford for the first time since 2016-17.