Having pursued only one player since the start of the transfer window to shunt about to fish rejects, Manchester United’s recruitment strategy has been criticised by many fans, detractors and unbiased observers alike of a club with such a huge stature.
It has been reported that Man United have agreed to sign Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, who Juventus is keen to get rid of, to play in the middle of the park after attempting to sign Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong without success.
The entire transfer window has been spent pining after the Barcelona man, who prefers to remain at Barcelona despite the fact that the club is forcing him out as part of their stance on creative accounting.
On July 14, a basic agreement was reached with the Catalans to sign the progressive midfielder, and United has since sat back and watched as a highly public contractual dispute between De Jong and Barcelona unfolded. Chelsea has also been watching and waiting in the corner for a hijacking opportunity which looks very likely.
While their city neighbour and archrival Manchester City has long signed Kalvin Phillips and Erling Haaland for those positions – two names highly sought after by United – the Old Trafford club is scrambling down the cheap, easy-to-do and short-term aisle.
Going into the new season, emphasis was placed on getting in players to fill up critical needs of the club in the defensive midfield and forward positions after the dreadful 2021/22 season they had. It is glaringly obvious that Manchester United don’t have their priorities well sorted.
If not, they wouldn’t have placed a rejected bid of £7.6 million for someone who is known to upset the dressing room and has “the attitude of a kid,” according to Jose Mourinho, to replace a wantaway and ageing striker and an injured one who they should have sold. Knowing fully well the fragile nature of their current dressing room.
Even more dire is the outlook of an almost agreed deal for Rabiot who his mother, Veronique, who deputises as his agent are known to be one of the most dangerous duos in European football are coming to the Old Trafford.
It’s been reported that she instructed him on several occasions to do or instigated things like, turning down a World Cup call-up, clash with PSG, the families of Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba, Laurent Blanc, Walter Sabatini and so on.
If the foregoing doesn’t already indicate a lack of vision and drive. How can United, with a new manager and a significant restructure to happen behind the scenes, continue to play the same old tricks on themselves openly?
With these two pursuits, United, who have preached a new era shaped by discipline and squad harmony under Erik ten Hag, walked with their eyes wide open towards the opposite.
Rabiot, at the very least, provides qualities that the club does not currently rely on in midfield – strong tackling, transition safety, aggression and intensity.
However, the drama series surrounding him, as well as the sense that this is more United taking what they can easily get rather than holistically addressing what they need, screams mismanagement.
In an alternate reality, United should be going for players like Youri Tielemans, Lucas Paqueta and Cody Gakpo who they really need.
Even the ongoing interest in Cody Gakpo appears to be careless, as it could have been blocked earlier in the window given PSV’s stance that if a club with strong financial resources comes in, they know they will be unable to retain star players. Also former United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy’s presence in their dugout would also facilitate a smooth negotiation.
Gakpo would fit the overarching template of this summer’s recruits – someone Ten Hag knows from the Eredivisie.
Concluding with Ten Hag’s quote ahead of the start of the new Premier League season, “you don’t need any player; you need the right player”.