Top journalist David Ornstein has revealed that Manchester United have missed out on two striker targets due to ‘disorganised’ negotiations.
The Red Devils are desperate to find a forward player to cover for the injured Marcus Rashford before the January transfer window closes on Friday.
And Ornstein claims that United were one of a number of clubs competing for the signature of Red Bull Leipzig’s France Under 21 international Jean-Kévin Augustin, but missed out to Championship side Leeds United, who signed the striker on loan to the end of the season.
‘Manchester United were keen but the very clear message I got were that they … were all too reactive on this, whereas Leeds were proactive … Manchester United came to the table far too late and in a far too disorganised way’ Ornstein revealed in today’s Ornstein and Chapman podcast for The Athletic.
Ornstein and interviewer Match of the Day’s Mark Chapman could hardly contain their bewilderment at United’s transfer dealings during the podcast, with the latter referring to this month as ‘United’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along transfer window’.
The loss of Augustin followed almost an identical pattern to the proposed transfer of Wissam Ben Yedder from Sevilla in the summer, Ornstein notes. In that case, United were pipped at the post by AS Monaco, who signed the 29-year-old for £33.6 million. Ben Yedder has since scored 14 goals in 19 Ligue 1 appearances for Les Rouges et Blancs.
‘It was similar I was told to the situation with Wissam Ben Yedder in the summer, that Manchester United obviously lost Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan – or let him go – and had an opportunity to bring Ben Yedder in from Seville and he ended up going to Monaco’ Ornstein recalls. ‘It’s another example of business that could be done, not getting done.’
United also famously missed out on the signing of 19-year-old Norwegian starlet Erling Braut Haaland recently, who was available for £16.8 million from Red Bull Salzburg. Despite a playing history and strong family connections with Manchester United manager Olé Gunnar Solskjaer and his agent, United’s negotiators Ed Woodward and Matt Judge failed to convince Haaland to come to Old Trafford, who opted instead to join Borussia Dortmund. The player has already scored five goals in just two substitute appearances for the Bundesliga side.
With Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes the only realistic possibility of a United signing as we enter the last four days of the transfer window, Ornstein’s revelation casts even more light on the farcical and humiliating performances of Manchester United’s incompetent negotiators.