Is Manchester United The Loser Of Summer 2019?
The summer 2019 transfer window is now closed in England. Though in many other European countries the older timeline of letting it run until the end of August or beginning of September is still on. The decision to close the window before week 1 matches is a very sensible idea. The coaches and mangers know what they have on hand before the season is on and any disruptions, even if only for the first two or three match days, is gone.
The multi-billion dollar television deals that have enriched English team to the point of bizarre and expensive transfers and wages continues unabated. So called smaller teams like Watford and Leicester outspend most European teams and attract players easily. Manchester United have of course always been one of the biggest teams and under the ownership of the Glazers have never stopped spending. Notwithstanding the lack of recent – post Alex Ferguson era – success the team keeps drawing from the debts, financing and riches of the American ownership and TV deals to add and spend.
Hiring Jose Mourinho was a mistake and titles have eluded the team, the Portuguese’s firing and eventual replacement with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was a success at first but United faded and finished 2018-2019 in sixth place. The new coach was given a permanent job during his early and brief success and was set to embark on a rebuild. Now that summer 2019 window is nearing an end it is arguable that the first phase of (any) rebuild has been mishandled or at best wasted. Fans rightly criticize the Americans and vice chairman Ed Woodward and the player movement this summer shows why. The team does not have a director of football but that in itself is not very unusual but this summer’s transfer have left the team bare up front.
The team did sign young winger Daniel James, the very good Aaron Wan-Bissaka (right back from Crystal Palace) and of course the expensive and excellent defender in Harry Maguire – for €87 million. However, after a protracted saga Romelu Lukaku was sold to Inter on deadline day for an initial €65. A look at the screenshot above (thanks transfermarkt.com) shows that virtually all of the team’s choices up front are either aging, ineffective or have long been off form. United do have the means and needed to replace Lukaku, the team was long aware he wanted to leave. He was even reportedly training separately in the past few days.
Time will tell if United have done enough to leap above Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea. At least two of the teams immediately above them last season have strengthened more significantly.