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…
After a rollercoaster of a season ended with the club finishing in sixth in the Premier League, Manchester United were in dire need of an uplifting summer transfer window. Instead, the early excitement generated by the arrivals of Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka quickly disappeared, and Harry Maguire became the club’s third and final signing.
Much of the fans’ ire has been directed towards the club’s infamous owners and Ed Woodward, but there is an argument to be made that some of that anger and frustration should be towards Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. According to BBC Sport earlier this summer, the Norwegian has been the driving force behind United’s desire to build a squad around “younger, motivated players” and he would choose his targets “in conjunction with the recruitment department”.
So the accountability behind what United have wanted this summer is there to see. But the Red Devils’ failure to land a marquee player when they were linked with stars like Paulo Dybala, Bruno Fernandes and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, amongst others, is concerning. The logic to build a side around academy products is certainly refreshing, but for a team that finished in sixth, and had a number of embarrassing performances and results, surely significant and proven upgrades were needed.
Instead, Solskjaer’s stubborness in focusing on players who fit a specific profile has left United with gaping holes and great questions about strength in depth. Injuries to Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial would leave the club with just a woefully out-of-form Alexis Sanchez, and a 17-year-0ld prospect in Mason Greenwood, as their remaining options up front.
So whilst it’s all the rage for Woodward to bear the brunt of the blame, it’s high-time Solskjaer accepts some responsibility for the way in which United’s transfer window panned out this summer.