The Premier League transfer window closed yesterday, and after a relatively quiet window, Manchester United saw a flurry of activity on deadline day. For those of you who missed it, and who can’t be bothered to track down everything that happened (and everything that didn’t), here’s a quick cheat sheet.
Donny van de Beek (Ajax, £34.7m)
The Dutch attacking midfielder was signed earlier on the window — in fact, he’s the only signing that wasn’t confirmed on deadline day — for a reasonable fee, given his pedigree. He’ll back up and challenge both Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba in the first XI. Looks tidy so far.
Alex Telles (Porto, £13.6m)
The Brazilian left-back arrived on deadline day from Porto for a knock-down fee, as he only had a year left on his contract. At 27, he’s the finished product, and perhaps the only signing of the window that fans might expect to go straight into the starting XI. He’s not that quick, and he won’t get the same goal/assist stats he had at Porto because he won’t be on set piece duty. But at least he’s left-footed.
Amad Diallo Traoré (Atalanta, £18.2m)
A very exciting 18-year-old who United have apparently been tracking for some time. Pending a work permit, he’ll arrive in January at the earliest. Given that he’s barely played half an hour of senior football in his career, it’s probably a bit much to expect Diallo to contribute at all this season.
Edinson Cavani (PSG, free)
A once top quality striker who is chasing what is probably his last big payday at this level. Eye-watering wages, but he’s better than Odion Ighalo, who will head back to his parent club in January. Best case scenario: United get an experienced winner who will deputize for Anthony Martial and help mentor the young attacking corps while chipping in with 10+ goals. Worst case scenario: United get another moody mercenary around the place who they’ll have to shift next summer.
Facundo Pellistri (Atlético Peñarol, £10m)
Another 18-year-old winger who is theoretically joining the senior squad. No idea.
Angel Gomes (Lille, free)
Gomes was highly rated, but he either didn’t see a future here and wanted to control his own destiny, or he’s another kid who felt entitled to too much too soon. Either way, he went to Lille, and then to Boavista on loan. Has already scored a couple of crackers in Portugal.
Alexis Sánchez (Inter, free)
Tahith Chong (Werder Bremen, loan)
Chong looked woefully out of depth in the first team last season, but has looked sharp for Bremen so far. There might be a player in there yet.
Andreas Pereira (Lazio, loan)
Andreas found himself out of the team once Bruno Fernandes joined, and mostly out of the matchday squad once Pogba and others returned from injury. After van de Beek signed, there was no real path for Andreas to play regular football at United this season. Fingers crossed he does well for Lazio so that United can move him on permanently in a year.
Diogo Dalot (Milan, loan)
Never rated by Solskjaer, and the signing of Telles likely means that Brandon Williams will feature more on the right of the back-line this season, as a back-up to Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Ethan Laird didn’t leave on loan either, so there was no point in Dalot sticking around if he wasn’t going to play. There is no obligation or option to make the move permanent at the end of the season, so if Dalot excels, he can still have a future here.
Chris Smalling (Roma, £13.5m)
A happy ending for all involved (grow up). Smalling realized that he wouldn’t play much last season and decided to bet on himself — his people sorted out a loan to Roma in short order. He did very well there last season, and was rated by the coaching staff and popular with the fans. Roma held out as long as they could to try to drive United’s asking price down, and eventually a compromise was reached.
Obviously, Jadon Sancho is not a Manchester United player. United’s primary target for over a year (the worst kept secret in football) and the one big target that the manager specifically requested. United are already briefing that they pulled out of the deal because it was too expensive, but that Sancho is still their primary target. Let’s just go back next year when he’s a better player, and there’s more competition for his signature. Can’t see how that could backfire. None of those alternative targets ever arrived either, including the deadline day target Ousmane Dembélé.
After reports at various times of United being interested in a holding midfielder (mostly reports that we at The Busby Babe tried to manifest through prayer and sage burning) and a center back, United strengthened in neither position.
Because Manchester United love nothing more than handing out lucrative contract extensions like free pamphlets, the Reds still find themselves with a bloated and imbalanced squad. There is currently one senior goalkeeper on a six-figure-per-week contract too many. Sergio Romero — despite being in the shop window for years and now wanting a move away — is still here. Somehow, Marcos Rojo is too. Ditto for Phil Jones. Both center-backs are better players than their worst moments would suggest, but United could not find takers for either. For months, Jesse Lingard had been linked with a move away in search of regular playing time, but United may need his versatility at this point. Lingard was linked today with a loan move to Porto, where the transfer window is still open.