Manchester United’s transfer dealings have been far from smooth in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era with the club dawdling on deals and either paying through their nose in the end or not acquiring their targets at all.
Erik ten Hag has seen both of these aspects play out in front of him since he joined the club, with the Antony and Frenkie de Jong deals the perfect examples.
United started chasing the Brazilian mid-way through the summer transfer window of 2022 before moving on due to the price Ajax were asking for.
Poor results in the interim meant that when they eventually came back to the negotiating table, the price had tripled and United ended up paying an eye-watering €95 million.
United’s doomed FdJ saga
What played out in the case of the Barcelona midfielder was slightly different. The club kept on going back for the former Ajax star with Barcelona eager to sell, but the player publicly claimed he had no desire to leave.
This stretched on for months before United eventually realised nothing would come from this and shifted focus to Casemiro and once again, paid a fortune.
It is well-known that Sir Jim Ratcliffe is not a fan of the money the club threw at the former Real Madrid man with club legend Gary Neville claiming such a deal would not have taken place at a well-run club.
As per 90min, INEOS are hellbent on changing this transfer tactic of dilly-dallying and will try and wrap up deals as early as possible so as to allow the manager to begin preparations early while not paying obscene amounts of money.
The outlet has mentioned United’s interest in another Barca player — Ronald Araujo and claimed that United are prepared to make a summer move but the centre-back has no intention of quitting the Catalan giants.
Work on a potential target can start in earnest when a clearer picture emerges regarding the team’s prospects next season. If they fail to qualify for the Champions League, not too many big-name players will agree to rock up at Old Trafford.
This essentially could lead to the whole De Jong scenario playing out all over again, something Sir Jim Ratcliffe is desperate to avoid now that he is in charge of sporting affairs.
INEOS will not dawdle when it comes to deals
“Should a move for Araujo remain challenging, United are unlikely to persist. Having wasted large parts of previous windows chasing Frenkie de Jong who, like Araujo, has never too actively looked to leave Barcelona, there is an awareness that they cannot afford to spend too long on targets who do not have a serious desire to move.
“INEOS feel like Manchester United have been too invested in targets they can’t attain and want to be more decisive in their decision-making.
“This is likely to lead to less long-running transfer sagas and more early business in windows going forward once a new recruitment team and structure is established.”
This approach sounds great on paper and will allow the club to operate swiftly and conclude business at the earliest instead of waiting till deadline day to seal deals.
INEOS have plans to bring in a new sporting director and head of recruitment to streamline the process and help the club identify possible targets earlier instead of relying on the manager to bring in players.