This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Despite clinching three signings who will improve the side no end, Manchester United are left to wonder simply what could have been. All summer, talk was raging about the superstars and high-profile players who would be plying their trade at Old Trafford, but instead, the club opted against such an approach.
Daniel James’ arrival in a £15m deal from Swansea should be considered as astute business from the Red Devils. Whilst the Welshman may have only shone in the Championship, his raw qualities of pace and directness will help to give the side some much-needed explosiveness from out wide. The best United teams of recent years have all been blistering on the break, and James certainly fits that profile.
Completing a protracted deal for Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace gives the Red Devils a right-back who could quite conceivably turn out for the club for the next decade. The England U21 international is that rare breed of full-back who defends better than he attacks, and is more than a worthy replacement for Antonio Valencia.
Alongside him in defence, Harry Maguire’s world-record move was long and drawn-out, and showed the weaknesses of United’s negotiating skills.
Leicester refused to budge from their valuation of the centre-back, and yet United appeared intent on driving a hard bargain, but in the end paid exactly what the Foxes wanted in the first-place. The price tag will inevitably raise the expectation on the level of performance the 26-year-old produces, but he has shown in his time with both Hull and Leicester that he has the presence to cope with it.
Having failed to bring in anyone else despite continued links to the likes of Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes, much of United’s summer revolved around the futures of Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba. Lukaku’s departure to Inter brought Solskjaer’s side big-money, but a lack of replacement for the Belgian means the side are desperately short of proven goalscorers.
Indeed, with the window in other major European leagues not yet closed, Pogba could still be on his way out of Old Trafford. What has been a rather disappointing summer on the whole, would be compounded into absolute misery were the France World Cup winner to make his departure.
So whilst United’s only three signings are promising, the questions of ‘what if’ surrounding who they could have signed, and who could still yet leave, makes this another window the United hierarchy have gotten wrong.
Transfer Window Rating: 5/10