Manchester United’s transfer strategy under Erik ten Hag has been widely scrutinised for its extremely narrow scope.
Most players the club has signed under him have either played under him or against him at some point in time.
Fans have gotten exasperated at this tunnel-eyed vision not befitting a club with the resources and scouting network of Manchester United.
Their exasperation might be about to turn up a notch higher if recent reports are to be believed.
Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg reports that United are interested in Ajax’s striker Brian Brobbey.
Plettenberg specifically namedrops Ten Hag as the one who’s driving the chase, ideally in winter itself but United’s precarious situation with the Financial Fair Play could make it difficult.
He even says that Brobbey’s name will come up again in the summer “as long as Ten Hag remains the coach” clearly pointing out that this is again a target dependent on the manager.
🆕🔴 News #Brobbey: Understand that Ten Hag has the idea to sign Brobbey in winter!
➡️ Brobbey and ManUtd, it was a hot topic last summer. The contact never broke off
➡️ Both have a high appreciation for each other.
At the latest in the next summer window, a transfer will be… pic.twitter.com/1TraZGnsoy
— Florian Plettenberg (@Plettigoal) January 20, 2024
In the world of sporting directors driving a long-term vision for the club regardless of the manager, it is an archaic practice that United have attached themselves to.
From not backing the manager enough before Ten Hag, the club looks to have gone to the other extreme, where it seems like he’s the only one signing players.
As for an evaluation of the player, Brobbey’s raw stats are good. He has 13 goals and four assists in 25 league games.
However, at 22, he is not the type of player who could come in and relieve pressure off of Hojlund.
In fact, it can be argued that he is an even less polished prospect than the Dane as his only excursion to a top-five league ended in failure at RB Leipzig, leading him to go back to Ajax.
Furthermore, the transfers of attackers from Eredivisie to the Premier League do not have a glorious history minus the odd success story like Ruud Van Nistelrooij.
Players like Vincent Janssen and more recently Antony have struggled to adapt to the intensity and physicality of the league.
Will Brobbey be the same? It would be harsh to declare him as a failure when he hasn’t even joined.
But the fans rightly have an unshakeable feeling that for a club which prides itself on having scouts in every continent, the best they can do is sign a player the manager is familiar with.