After the craziness of the Rasmus Hojlund deal, the debut of Andre Onana before that, and now the frenzied chase of Sofyan Amrabat, attention turns back to the on-pitch matters.
Manchester United face Borussia Dortmund as the USA tour throws up one major game after another.
The match takes place at the iconic Allegiant Stadium on July 31, 2 AM BST.
United come into the game on the back of a 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid, which would have brought a high-flying squad back down to earth.
Dortmund won their previous game against USA’s second division team San Diego Loyal SC by 6-0 in a morale-boosting game.
Here are the top storylines to watch out for in the United vs Dortmund game-
Reunion central and familiar faces
This game will be the first time Jadon Sancho will face Dortmund since leaving them to join United in 2021. The Englishman played the best football of his career in Germany, the heights he hasn’t reached since.
It is sure to be an emotional moment for the forward, going up against the team where he put himself on the map after many doubted his wisdom of leaving Manchester City and going abroad in search of first-team opportunities.
It was a move that was mutually beneficial and had wider effects too. Bundesliga became the hotbed for exciting young English talent as Sancho’s tale became an inspiration for others.
Next up on the reunion radar will be Marcel Sabitzer. The Austrian spent only six months on loan at Old Trafford but he has already said that the loan helped him put himself back in front of interested eyes after he had completely fallen out of favour at Bayern Munich.
While he wasn’t retained permanently, it was, like Sancho, a mutually beneficial deal. United got a body in midfield for injury crises, while Sabitzer rediscovered his love for the game. He eventually managed to remain in Germany and sign for Dortmund.
There will be other familiar faces, like Thomas Meunier, who was once close to a United move, while an acquaintance with former Liverpool man Emre Can is likely to be less wholesome!
Thrilling goal fest guaranteed
United have been convincing in the pre-season so far but haven’t really clicked in the goalscoring department, hence the frantic chase of Rasmus Hojlund.
However, the game against Dortmund is likely to buck the trend.
Manager Edin Terzic likes his team to play free-flowing attacking football and that comes at the cost of defensive solidity for them. They conceded 44 goals in the league last season, a big reason why they lost the title in heartbreaking fashion.
The defensive duo of Mats Hummels and Niklas Sule is strong but slow, and United’s quick and shifty attackers should have a field day.
At the same time, the attacking quality of Karim Adeyemi, Youssufa Moukoko, Donyell Malen, and Co. is sure to be a huge test of United’s defence.
So far, United’s games have been low-scoring affairs but the tactical setups and team compositions in this one mean fans could be in for a thrilling goal fest.
Anthony Martial watch
Erik ten Hag informed before the Wrexham/Real Madrid double-header that Anthony Martial had returned to training. The manager sang praises of his only natural striker in the team at that point but both those games came too soon for him.
Ten Hag has shown with Raphael Varane that he is a master of managing minutes of injury-prone players but Martial is an extreme case.
However, with half a week done since those games, chances are that Martial returns for this one and plays at least some part.
More than United, it is now crucial for the player to return quickly and remain injury-free as in the form of Hojlund, he now has genuine, long-term competition for his spot for the first time since Romelu Lukaku was signed.
Ten Hag is not afraid to cut the cord with underperformers and the clock has started ticking on the Frenchman’s future with his contract expiring in 2024 and Hojlund arriving for big money.