Red Thoughts: Should Manchester United sell to buy in the January transfer window?

by Red Debate

According to the press, José Mourinho has been told to sell before he can buy in the January transfer window. Should he do so? The Red Thoughts team discuss options.

BETS: Is this sell-to-buy rumour even true? For one thing, we never spent the money lined up for Perisic, so why would we have to sell? However, if we do sell, if anyone goes at this stage it would probably be Luke Shaw, although I don’t think we’d manage a Danny Rose swap deal. Swap deals are complicated at the best of times and a January one would be near impossible.

RICK: I’d sell Mhkitaryan and Lingard, as both have been less than impressive this year. Mhki in particular, because we expect much more from a no.10. He’s literally done nothing since Pogba got injured. I also agree about Shaw being moved on. So much promise, but yet nothing delivered. I don’t know whether José just doesn’t like him, or whether his confidence has been knocked after his bad injury, but something is not right, and we badly need a player like him in our LB position because he has all the attributes you need. I do think we should get a midfielder, because when Pogba is injured we are not good enough, it’s as simple as that. You don’t see any of the other top teams struggle like we did when they have one midfielder out. It’s a shame really that Herrera hasn’t reached the heights of last season’s performances.

HEMOR: If it’s true that we have to sell players in January in order to buy, the kind of players we can sell won’t be able to make us enough money, and we shouldn’t even consider selling the ones that can generate enough money mid season.

BETS: It’s supposedly about the wage bill though, rather than the transfer fee. so Lingard or Young for example are > £120k per week.

HEMOR: We can’t afford to sell someone like Young unless we bring in another quality LB who will earn close to £75-100k, so the difference isn’t that much.

BETS: I don’t think we should sell Young, I was just giving an example … Young has been much better than Valencia in the past few games. I don’t know if Valencia is tired or getting old, but he doesn’t seem to be the powerhouse going forward he normally is.

HEMOR: Yeah, Young has been better than Valencia and considering he just came back from long term injury that’s even more impressive.

EHSAAN: Young has been solid and it makes a lot of sense to sell Shaw if we can get Tierney or Rose in to replace him. Other than that, I don’t really see anyone I believe should or can be sold. Not Young, that’s for sure. On this form he’s going to be vital. He’s been better than Valencia.

I might consider selling Mkhitaryan. Especially if Griezmann or Inaki is on the cards.

RICK: We’re still missing chances and it’s the same culprits as well. Lingard still misses lots, Lukaku, for all his goals, has missed a lot, Mkhi has missed chances and so have Martial and Rashford. The only time we’ve been prolific was before Pogba got injured.

HEMOR: Missing chances is normal, but if we create lots of chances then we’ll put some at the back of the net. Against Chelsea, Morata missed 2 good chances, as did Bakayoko, but they were still able to get 3 points. Even when we were scoring 4 goals, we still missed a couple of chances.

What we have lacked recently is that we don’t create enough clear cut chances and the cross delivery has been shit.

BETS: I do think we’re still missing too many chances, but I also agree that we aren’t creating as many as at the start of the season. There are rumours that Lukaku has been complaining that he’s not getting any service, which is true, but honestly, he’s not played well the last few games either. His hold up play against Chelsea was embarrassing.

The rumours are hotting up that Shaw will be sold, but I just hope it’s not to another PL team as I think it will come back to haunt us. I’m really sad things have worked out this way for him, he is such a talent.

HEMOR: I won’t be surprised if Shaw reunites with Poch at Tottenham and I hope we get Rose if that happens.

That being said, I’ll still like us to keep Shaw, at least until end of season.

RICK: There’s no point keeping Shaw if he doesn’t have a future at the club. If that happens then we’ll be worse than Chelsea in that regard.

HEMOR: I believe Shaw can still turn things around, which is why I’d love us to keep him until summer and give him playing time before then. If by summer, he still hasn’t proven himself, then I’ll gladly help him pack his bags.

DAN: Unless we get a real silly bid or a player actually wanting to leave, I don’t see Mourinho selling a player within the squad. I would like to see Shaw go out on loan though, to get more game time at a higher level would really be useful.

BETS: If we really do need to sell to buy, I’d sell defenders. In a 23 man squad we have 10 defenders… so half of our outfield squad are defenders, which is two too many. I would keep Darmian and Blind, because they can both play right across the back. If Shaw is one to go, the other should be Jones because of his injuries, or Lindelof, if we’ve given up on waiting for him to settle.

DAN: Jones has been our best defender this season, but I wouldn’t be too upset if Darmian moved on.

HEMOR: We need to sign a backup player for Matic by the summer, because I don’t think we should keep Carrick any longer and neither Herrera nor Fellaini is a proper DM – they’re better when playing alongside a DM. We also need a backup for Pogba, someone that’ll be able to offer something close to what Pogba offers.

EHSAAN: Injury to Matic = disaster

BETS: The trouble is, injury to Matic = disaster. Injury to Pogba proven to be disaster. Loss of form of Mkhitaryan = disaster. Failure to sign Perisic = disaster. So where do you prioritise?

EHSAAN: Alderweireld is one I wouldn’t mind. I’m not sure if he’ll be fit by January, but if he is, we should go for him. Despite the fact that Smalling is decent, I’d trade him for Alderweireld any day of the week. I’d like Inaki Williams, but there’s not really anyone I’d offload to get him.

RICK: Inaki is crap. I’ve seen him a few times and he fails to impress me. He also wastes so many chances. Even more so than Lingard, so no thank you. We had enough of players missing chances last season to go for a lifetime.

EHSAAN: But Inaki’s quality is there. His movement is fantastic. Last season everyone was missing chances that they’re burying this season. So I feel Mourinho can bring his finishing up to scratch.

REX: Selling/signing someone in January is too risky for me. I’ve always been skeptical of the 23 man squad that Mourinho likes. But I can understand why he does it. Players are never satisfied with a “bench role”. Even a kid like Pereira, who hasn’t even played for us, wants to leave already to get game time.

But for me, the downside of this is what we’re seeing now, where injuries can be absolutely detrimental to the team. By the end of last season, we were playing with 15 players, so no rotation, no rest. Good form, bad form, the same players have to play. Couple that with his reluctance to play a few kids more often and we’re now back to last season’s form of just grinding out results if we can.

So I don’t see why Ed would even suggest selling a player when what we need are reinforcements. Midfield (I wish he’d trust Tuanzebe), striker, wingers. I understand Zlatan is coming back and Rashford and Martial are there, but let’s face it, they’ll never play there as long as the wing positions still need addressing.

DEAN: Personally I don’t believe United should sign anyone in January, with Zlatan, Rojo, Pogba and Carrick most likely to be back soon. If a player like Griezmann was to become available then it’s a no brainer, but that’s highly unlikely. But in the summer, United do need a huge clear out, my patience has worn out with this squad, the quality just isn’t good enough.

REX: But Griezmann’s cup tied. They can purchase him for the summer if that actually happens. The way Mourinho plays with that lone striker, I doubt we’ll go for him again.. I’m actually surprised he didn’t go for Dzeko this past summer if he wants a big body up there. The man has been on a tear ever since he went to Italy. Left foot, right foot, headers, tap ins. You name it, he’s done it. His hold up play is miles better than Lukaku’s too. If there was a guy who would fit seamlessly into our style at the moment, it would’ve been him. He’s just turned 30 as well (experienced and knows his trade).

BETS: For me, although Mourinho’s selections make it appear that we are missing a RW, I personally don’t see why Rashford or Mkhitaryan couldn’t do a good job there. Pereira is also starting to look good there at Valencia and could be recalled. So I would go for a no. 10 and a quality CM. If Griezmann is still possible, we should go for it – it doesn’t matter he can’t play in the Champions League. I’ve heard rumours about Saul Niguez as well, who is a cracking player, but the €134m buyout is a bit steep. Then there is the excellent Dendoncker as well.

DAN: I really don’t see us bringing anyone in unless there is a deal already made – a bargain that is too good to refuse. I have a real dislike for the January transfer window as it is always panic time – teams don’t want to part with players without compensation so you normally end up paying way over the odds for players.

RICK: The January transfer window isn’t the greatest, but we have picked up the odd great player. Vidic and Evra to name two.

DAN: I know we have and did, but there is a reason we rarely do January business. You only have to look at the start Evra and Vidic made to their United careers. Getting Rojo and Ibrahimovic back will be as good as a new signing to the squad. We are at a point in our team’s development where unless a Griezmann becomes available, it’s a waste of money, as we have enough squad players within the squad.

BETS: I would normally agree with you, Dan, but this squad is definitely a few quality players light in the midfield and forward areas. And José has been moaning about injuries, but as Rex said, this 22/23 man squad that both LVG and José prefer has caused problems in a club littered with injury prone players. When have we not had an injury crisis?

DAN: Yes, we do pick up injuries, but all squads who compete on all fronts do. But if we are going to buying players, they have to be of that next level of quality and that sort of player is rarely available in January. If they are, they will have a large price tag, which we can afford, but why should we pay an extra premium to get a player who we can get for a lot less in summer?

DEAN: There’s also the fact that Herrera, Mata, Darmian and Fellaini are all free to speak with clubs and secure moves away from United for the summer in January. So it’s going to be quite interesting as to how this will pan out. Do United cash in on these players or let them leave for free if they don’t sign by January?

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