Man Utd transfer state of play: Four expected signings, 14 potential outgoings & takeover impact
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Manchester United are expecting a busy summer transfer window despite the slow start in the market.
There have been no major moves for players since the window opened on 14 June, which has frustrated Erik ten Hag, given his desire to get business done early. While the takeover shenanigans have cast a shadow over United’s transfer activities, plans have been drawn up by the club and targets identified.
We’ve rounded up the latest surrounding the club’s aims in the market and how the squad could shape up by the time the season kicks off again in mid-August…
United are hoping to bring in at least four players this summer who can challenge for a place in Ten Hag’s starting XI. Mason Mount is the deal which is furthest along at this stage and United are expected to bid again after a second offer equating to £50m was turned down this week by Chelsea. There is a feeling that a fee will be agreed and the transfer could be completed soon, owing largely to the fact that the Blues must raise significant funds through selling this summer.
Ten Hag wants to add another midfielder in the off-season, while the priority remains recruiting a top-quality striker. Harry Kane and Victor Osimhen, the club’s primary choices, both look unavailable, so attention is being paid to Rasmus Hojlund at Atalanta. Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez is also on the club’s radar, while Randal Kolo Muani, Ollie Watkins and Goncalo Ramos have been linked.
Two months ago, there were no immediate plans to sign a goalkeeper, but with David de Gea now expected to depart, there is a growing sense that United will have to acquire a new no.1 before the 2023/24 campaign. Andre Onana is the preferred option at present, with reports suggesting United have already reached out to the player’s representatives.
The need to sign a goalkeeper, striker and two midfielders means that adding a centre-back is now seen as less of a necessity. Kim Min-jae had been identified as a possible arrival in that area, but it’s now being reported he’ll join Bayern Munich.
Elsewhere, Ten Hag is willing to stick with Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back, and this could be the third consecutive window that the United boss shelves plans to recruit in that area. A new winger had also been discussed, but that seems highly unlikely now. Nor is there any real appetite to sign Marcel Sabitzer or Wout Weghorst on permanent deals, after both spent the second half of the season on loan at Old Trafford.
A mass exodus of players is expected from Old Trafford this summer, with Ten Hag planning to move on a number of first-team members associated with the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era. Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe have already departed, along with youngsters Ethan Galbraith, Di’Shon Bernard, Eric Hanbury, Charlie Wellens and Manni Norkett.
Zidane Iqbal is set to follow soon, and the player has already posted a goodbye message on social media. Midfield is an area that could see a lot of change this summer, with Fred, Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek and Hannibal all available for transfers, although Kobbie Mainoo is expected to remain with the first-team squad.
In defence, Harry Maguire will be allowed to move on, while Ten Hag hopes to sell Eric Bailly, Brandon Williams and Alex Telles. Elsewhere, De Gea’s future should be sorted in the next week, with United willing to let the experienced stopper leave, as well as Dean Henderson, who has been heavily linked with a permanent switch to Nottingham Forest.
Ten Hag has also grown frustrated with Anthony Martial’s injury record and would allow him to depart, although ironically it’s the striker’s current injury - a hamstring tear - which could prevent a summer transfer from taking place. The uncertainty surrounding Mason Greenwood’s future is another factor and United have yet to make their stance clear on the 21-year-old after his criminal charges were dropped in February.
In the wide areas, Anthony Elanga is not part of the first-team plans, although Ten Hag will not sanction the permanent sale of Facundo Pellistri. The Uruguayan is highly rated by the United manager, even if he’s not ready to yet compete for a place in the first team just yet.
The return of Amad is also a factor in Ten Hag’s plans and the attacker, who impressed on loan at Sunderland, is expected to be assessed this summer before a decision is made about where he’ll spend the 2023/24 campaign. The same applies to left-back Alvaro Fernandez after a successful year at Preston North End.
Finances & takeover
Evidently, the takeover process means making concrete transfer plans is proving difficult for United, and the uncertainty is impacting the club’s progress in the market. Indeed, a lack of assurance on transfers allowed Liverpool to beat United to the signing of Alexis Mac Allister, while Ten Hag is frustrated that deals for Mount and a striker haven’t already been finalised.
Yet the Glazers refusing to provide transfer funds is not a new scenario, and the club have grown used to relying on internal finances to complete deals. Coupled with Financial Fair Play restrictions, it’s believed United's hierarchy are aware of how much they can spend on recruitment this summer, albeit that figure could be topped up by outgoings.