It’s that time of year again: Transfer rumour season!
Well, in some ways every time of year is transfer rumour season, but here at The Busby Babe we like to restrict our focus to when the windows are approaching/have arrived. It’s time as well for the annual round table of staff transfer wish lists for Manchester United.
This summer will be difficult to predict because of the financial impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic. Last year financial restrictions prevented the Glazers from pulling the trigger on a deal for Jadon Sancho, and instead United settled for a few cheap options and a free transfer at the deadline. Unsurprisingly there are still holes in the squad, including one that Sancho would fill quite nicely, but alas we go again. Here are our staff picks for realistic and hopeful shopping lists this summer.
RW: Jadon Sancho, FW: Lionel Messi, CDM: Declan Rice, CB: Pau Torres
While some of the players on this list are realistic, it is highly doubtful that the Glazers would sanction such a splurge at a time when club revenue is so low. However, a potentially softened transfer fee for Sancho compared to last season, reasonable fees + potential swap players for Rice and Torres, and an NBA-style free agency pitch to wantaway GOAT Lionel Messi would be a hell of a summer. No doubt there would need to be player exits as well to take on the massive wages for each of these players, but these are players that solve issues of problem areas and squad depth while making United a true contender for silverware, and possibly even the league. This would be expensive but ambitious for United, and strengthens the squad at all areas of the pitch.
The focus is rightly on Jadon Sancho, again. He’s a perfect fit in the attack, would lessen the creative burden on Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford, and still has upside despite already being one of the best English players in the game. As for the other two, Dybala might be a surprising name, but has been a tough peg for Juventus managers to find a hole for since Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival. Juve are reportedly interested in shopping him to help lessen the wage burden, and he could be available in a swap deal/discount transfer. Maksimovic as of now is a free agent, and with Italian teams all suffering heavily from the financial cost of Covid he may look elsewhere to provide his services. I don’t know a whole lot about him, but he’d proide depth to a position which lacks it. Torres could still be in play with restricted finances, but a swap deal seems harder for United to swing than a free transfer. I couldn’t think of a young prospect Ole would be eyeing, so I just put “Some kid” because he seems to like investing in prospects so far. It likely won’t be another winger like Dan James, Amad, and Facundo Pellistri, maybe a striker to help provide more competition for that underperforming part of the squad. Realistically this is doable, cheaper, and probably more in line with what we’ll see.
RW: Jadon Sancho, FW/AM: Paulo Dybala, CB: Nikola Maksimović/Pau Torres, Some kid idk
RW: Jadon Sancho, CDM: Declan Rice, C(D)M: Boubakary Soumare, CB: Pau Torres, RB: (Any)
The Jadon Sancho deal can and should get done this year since his price will come down and it’s clear he wants to leave BVB. He remains a priority over someone like Erling Haaland since United have a massive creativity problem and what good would Haaland be if United can’t get him the ball? Declan Rice would slot in to this team perfectly but there’s no way United will have the money to get Sancho and Rice as West Ham will have every right to demand a king’s ransom for him. A second midfielder slides in above a centerback even if we signed Rice as the club would still be one Paul Pogba injury away from not having anyone who can pass forward. I can live with our centerbacks for one more year if we just had a midfield that offered them the slightest bit of protection. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer clearly doesn’t trust Axel Tuanzebe or Brandon Williams at right-back so grab someone cheap who can come in simply so Wan-Bissaka doesn’t have to play every waking moment.
RW: Jadon Sancho, C(D)M: Boubakary Soumare, Someone who’s a little bit older than we’d like, and another project somewhere between Amad/James/Pellistri who may play a bit but isn’t really a signing for next season
CDM: Declan Rice, RW: Jadon Sancho, FW: Erling-Braut Haaland, RB: Kieran Trippier, CB: Ibrahima Konaté
It’s the hope that kills you. After over a decade and a half of using Manchester United to enrich themselves — including right now, when the club has lost a full year of matchday revenue — will the Glazers suddenly start using the club’s financial potential to maximize the on-field product? Of course not, because they’re parasites. But we can still be hopeful, otherwise what would be the point of this subheader.
The above list is in order of priority. United need a proper no. 6 in the worst way. Since Bruno Fernandes signed, Paul Pogba doesn’t have to be United’s best no. 10 anymore, but it would be nice if he could just be the best no. 8 and not also the best no. 6 as well. Declan Rice, as it turns out, is very good now. The most obvious solution to United’s midfield problem being the best one is hugely inconvenient — Rice is a sure starter for England, the next captain of West Ham, and currently playing for a team that could qualify for Europe. Pricey.
Realizing that Rice is Actually Very Good is like discovering that expensive face serum makes an immediate difference. Logical, yes, but financially devastating.— Brent (@brentmaximin) March 31, 2021
Sancho is similarly obvious — no mucking about, get it done. Dortmund have quickly slapped a £180m price tag of Haaland, but they’re skint, and United
aren’t shouldn’t be. Master negotiator Matt Judge, newly freed from additional responsibilities thanks to the recent backroom shake-up, should have no problem agreeing to a package deal. There’s your attack sorted for the next decade. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will improve with real competition and by not having to play every single minute of every single match. Trippier should do as a right-sided Alex Telles type. Top class centerbacks are a rare species, and United’s current crop would look even better once they have a real holding midfielder in front of them. Which would also provide a stable environment in which to bed in a promising young defender like Konaté, who is reportedly available at a reasonable price.
RW: Jadon Sancho, RB: Kieran Trippier, another teenage goalkeeper for some reason