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Manchester United’s recruitment issues laid bare

The Telegraphs Chief Football Correspondent pulls no punches in rant at clubs transfer policy

by Dan Fitzgerald


As the fallout from Manchester United’s dismal start to the new Premier League season continued, The Telegraph’s Chief Football Correspondent Jason Burt laid bare the failings at the club in an extraordinary rant.

Published on the Telegraph’s website, the sports journalist wasted no time in explaining where he felt the issues lie: ‘Manchester United have failed Erik Ten Hag – their recruitment plan has been an utter shambles’.

He carries on to write: ‘There is no originality, no smartness, no boldness in Man Utd’s recruitment policy…It is not just about United’s failure to strengthen their squad this summer, but also their inability to move players on’.

United have made three signings this transfer window so far, however out of the list of players surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, only one player has been sold for a fee, Andreas Pereira, with Alex Telles and Dean Henderson leaving on loan.

One very interesting point which Burt raised in the article came when discussing the ongoing Frenkie de Jong transfer saga.

The writer explained: ‘…there is also the suspicion that, actually, United do not have a lot of money to spend. When the negotiations with Barcelona began over signing De Jong, one figure may have let the cat out of the bag when [a source] said United did not want to “blow their budget on one player” and would not pay over the odds as they have previously done.

The potential lack of funds are not helped by the lack of Champions League football, which is having an impact from a financial viewpoint as well as impacting the club’s attractiveness towards potential new marquee signings.

The inability to sell the players no longer needed is also impacting any budgets for future transfers.

United are believed to be in talks with Juventus regarding midfielder Adrien Rabiot and with fellow Serie A side Bologna over striker Marko Arnautovic.

These are two signings that, whilst filling positions where bodies are needed, show a lack of ambition and a restraint of budget. Rabiot is in his last year of contract, whereas Arnautovic is 33 and shouldn’t command a high fee from his parent club.

Ten Hag is facing calls from many United fans, and indeed Jason Burt in his rant, to ‘widen his net’ with transfers. Every player he has signed has a past link somewhere to the new manager.

Whether this actually happens remains to be seen, with the window not shutting until September 1st there’s still plenty of time to bring in the quality United and Ten Hag need.

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