Manchester United have so far been huffing and puffing in the summer transfer market as teams continue to quote exorbitant prices for their targets.
One reason could be their restrictive transfer budget this summer.
A report by ESPN claims that the club’s summer transfer budget is between £100 million and £150 million. It could be bolstered further by player sales with several players being on the chopping block.
Chief among them is captain Harry Maguire. In addition, offers will also be heard for Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek, Anthony Elanga, Eric Bailly, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams, and Dean Henderson.
As always, the problem for United will be getting a good fee for most of these players. The majority on the list are underachievers on high wages, the kind of asset most difficult to shift.
Add to it United’s poor selling record, where the club have made a profit on only four players in the past decade, and it is clear that Erik ten Hag will need to right this worrying trend to make something of this transfer window.
After overshooting their budget last season by spending close to £250 million, the United hierarchy have been preaching frugality throughout the season.
This season’s budget confirms the same. The club is in negotiations with Chelsea over Mason Mount and so far, that is the only deal that has seen itself progress to the bidding part.
Apart from Mount, United have been priced out of a move for Harry Kane after being quoted what now looks like their whole budget for the window.
The Rasmus Hojlund transfer has hit a similar snag after Atalanta quoted close to the same for the talented Dane.
On the defensive front, a full-back signing has become less important with the resurgence of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the emergence of Alvaro Fernandez. The biggest miss has been at the centre-back position.
Bayern Munich look to have stolen a march on the club in their pursuit of Kim Min-Jae, while Jurrien Timber looks close to landing up at Arsenal after they opened the bidding for him.
Erik ten Hag and team face an uphill task of supplementing their transfer budget by facilitating outgoings.
It looks like United’s summer could hinge on who they manage to sell, rather than who they buy, because the latter is entirely dependent on the former in the absence of a robust starting budget.