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After a poor summer transfer window, Manchester United’s troubled start to the season is no surprise

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United failed to address their areas of need over the summer

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Jones started alongside Smalling and Herrera (!) in a back 3, while Fellaini came off the bench to try to find a goal.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

The Summer Transfer window has come and gone and it’s time to give a closer look to how Manchester United fared. The three players that came in were midfielder Fred, fullback Diogo Dalot, and goalkeeper Lee Grant. As third choice goalkeeper, however, Grant will most likely not find much playing time. Because of this, Grant will not be talked about in much detail. It might not have been the window that United, or the fans, wanted, but it did fill some much-needed holes that United had. So, let’s take a deeper look and talk some details.

Strengths

Overall, United filled some positions they needed. Fred was predicted walk into the squad as an instant starter, and has thus far. He brings quality to the midfield that was lacking in the last couple of terms and hopefully can help bring the best out of Paul Pogba. Fred is a box-to-box midfielder with an amazing talent to move the ball. His defensive contribution, combined with that of Nemanja Matić, should help Pogba feel the freedom to move around the pitch freely.

Dalot is a project that no one really expected to come in. United should be in the market for finished products and with names like Alex Sandro being connected, Dalot feels like a disappointment given that he will not provide immediate improvements. However, I do think that Dalot could be a delightful surprise. Being able to play on both flanks gives the Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young the ability to be rested when they need to be. Hopefully he will be able to mature quickly under a defensive coach like José Mourinho and the veterans in the position he wants to be in. Even though he may be an investment, I think that dividends may pay out sooner than expected.

Weaknesses

It’s hard to see how the addition of Fred has any weaknesses. To name anything, his height is inconsistent with Mourinho’s liking and may be difficult for him in such a physical premier league. Do I think this is truly a weakness? Not really, but it could be something to think about when you see him being (regrettably) subbed off for Marouane Fellaini.

Dalot’s weaknesses are his tackling and age. Dalot is not a fullback known for his defensive prowess, but more so his attacking contribution. While this does follow suit of players like Valencia and Young, it does mean there may be a time or two where he makes defensive mistakes that could be costly. His youth is also concerning at this point. Again, United need finished products in order to be competitive and Dalot simply does not offer that.

Is this what United needed?

Fred and Dalot are both good additions to United’s squad and I think a lot of people can agree on that. Fred is young and adds a lot of quality to a struggling and incomplete midfield while Dalot is a dime in the jar of investment. I think that both Fred will play every match as long as he’s fit and that is a very good thing for United. Dalot, on the other hand, will most likely find a similar fate to Victor Lindelöf during his first season at United. Hopefully he can impress Mourinho early and be a quality player, but I have a feeling that he may make the immediate impression that the manager wants and then be sidelined for the season. Overall, United needed a quality midfielder and a quality fullback. Is that what they got? Sort of, but let’s hope by this time next year we can remember these two players with delight and an EPL trophy in our closet.

The Final Rating

Overall, this transfer window would get a 5 out of 10 for me. This rating comes more from the players that United didn’t get rather than the players they did. I think that Fred, Dalot, and even Lee Grant were all good additions. However, United should have been going for more quality than they got. If the rumors are true that United were not willing to break the bank for other players, then teams, like Manchester City, who were willing to overspend for players are widening the gap between their quality and ours. United need a pacy right winger and a veteran center back to really be competing for trophies and simply were not able to get the job done.

All in all, I’m hopeful that Eric Bailly can tame himself and Lindelöf can mature very quickly. I also hope that Jesse Lingard or Anthony Martial become more comfortable on the right side or even that Tahith Chong gets a chance to help bring some width to a narrow United attack. But in reality, it seems more like we should be getting ready for more views of an inconsistent defense and unhappy attacking crew.