Better late than never. Over 200 million pounds spent, three quarters of which came in the last week of the window, and Manchester United’s summer dealings are now done. Erik ten Hag has his squad for the first part of the season.
Whilst chaotic and at times undignified, the United hierarchy have stumbled their way to the end of the window and by hook or by crook provided Ten Hag with a first XI capable of challenging for the top four.
The failure to land number one target, Frenkie de Jong, will grab headlines and constant drawn out sagas will not have done much to build the trust broken by Ed Woodward between fans and board. However, as proved before, deals can be done – and big ones.
The summer started with a mass exodus, stars like Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Edinson Cavani left the club and the bloated wage bill and high average age went with them. This left the United board with a huge job; quality and quantity required.
Tyrell Malacia was the first through the door, stolen from under the nose of Lyon. The young Dutch left back signed from Feyenoord was the first indicator of Ten Hag’s instruction in the market, attack the league he knows best.
Malacia was followed by Lisandro Martinez, Ajax player of the previous season under Ten Hag. A rough and tumble centre-back with composure on the ball and an eye for a pass convinced United to part with the best part of 50 million pounds.
Christian Eriksen was then finally unveiled, a free transfer from Brentford that seemed to take forever to get over the line. A fairytale signing for the Dane, whose recovery from the awful scenes at the Euros has been nothing short of miraculous.
Then came the chaos; with the De Jong deal dead in the water a raft of names were linked with the club. Adrien Rabiot looked to be on his way to Old Trafford but wage demands put an end to a questionable deal.
A week and multiple column inches later, five time Champions League winner Casemiro was announced as the De Jong alternative. The cement to the bricks, tough, classy and experienced, Casemiro should prove to be the answer to the defensive midfield question United have held open since Michael Carrick‘s retirement.
Then came the wildcard, 85 million pound Anthony was announced with time running out – Ten Hag’s man. The Brazilian will be asked to add the stardust to a free flowing front three, tasked with firing United into the top four.
Martin Dubravka was also added to provide a back-up to the goalkeeping ranks.
Although the way United conduct themselves in the market still clearly leaves a lot to be desired, on paper it feels as though the business done was good business.
Time will tell us just how good, but the early signs are positive, with Martinez scooping the club’s first POTM award and Malacia and Eriksen largely impressing.