Manchester United were the Premier League's biggest spenders in the recent transfer window, backing new manager Erik ten Hag worth nearly £250m in his first summer in charge.
Today marks three weeks since Erik ten Hag’s first transfer window in charge of Manchester United concluded.
The Dutchman arrived at Old Trafford with the aim of renewing a squad of players coming from the club’s worst season in the Premier League. Armed with a reputation for nurturing talent and delivering a progressive and exciting brand of football, observers recognized the scale of the task at hand.
Ten Hag insisted on being in charge of recruitment decisions, a welcome sight after some of his predecessors were hampered by a misguided approach to the market. And his influence on purchasing was clear, with four of the top five hires having direct ties to the new manager.
Antony, Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen trained or played for Ten Hag at Ajax, while Tyrell Malacia was a highly regarded opponent in the Eredivisie. This level of control has been questioned, but ultimately the results will determine whether the right approach was taken.
And that approach was formed after Ralf Rangnick chose not to accept United’s offer to remain an adviser to the new boss. Despite his failings on the bench, Rangnick has a proven track record of pulling out talent – and he has done so regularly during his time working with Red Bull-owned clubs.
The Manchester Evening News reported that Rangnick and Ten Hag made phone calls about recruitment, with the German providing a list of potential targets. However, of the five recommended players, none ended up at Old Trafford at the end of the game on 1 September. .
Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
Oh what could have been… to be fair to United’s decision makers, once they lost Haaland in 2020 a change would always be unlikely. His form at Borussia Dortmund always meant the Norwegian would have his pick of the best clubs in the world and, at the time, the Red Devils could hardly profess to be one of them.
The fact that he broke up with Manchester City will be something that will irritate him for years to come. Especially if your first exploits in a sky blue shirt continue. With 11 Premier League goals, Haaland has scored three more than the entire United team. Your next match? United in the Etihad.
Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig)
While Rangnick tipped every player on this list, Gvardiol was marked as a “must buy”. United would have spent a lot on a centre-back but have spent £55m on the recommendation of Ten Hag rather than the Croatian international.
But while his advice fell on deaf ears at Old Trafford, Chelsea clearly agreed with Rangnick and launched a desperate £77.4m bid for the 20-year-old. This was rejected with Leipzig managing to extend his contract for a further 12 months.
This will do little to quell speculation about a change in the future, especially after Gavrdiol hinted at a change in January.” I’m happy in Leipzig, I still have a lot to learn and I need to work on myself. I have people who deal with it, I didn’t think about transfer. We will see what happens in winter.”
If United are to do business in early 2023 they will need to make him the most expensive defender in history, with the Bundesliga club demanding £85m.
Konrad Laimer (RB Leipzig)
Considering that many of these targets will be priced one way only, Laimer could be more affordable when the window reopens. The central midfielder will be out of contract next summer and after being valued at £40m this time around, that could drop significantly in January.
Liverpool were rumored to be in the market to sign Laimer and could renew him in a few months. Bayern Munich – as they often do – will also look to step in and attract top talent from their domestic rivals.
“A rash departure is not my thing. If I change clubs, I would like to think and decide calmly, not overnight,” he said earlier this month. “Especially as the first half of the season is very short due to the World Cup and you wouldn’t have time to settle down and meet up.”
Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig)
If a single player was able to sum up United’s misguided recruitment process, perhaps it was the prolific Nkunku. Having left Paris Saint-Germain, the forward enjoyed the best season of his career in 2021/22, scoring an impressive 35 goals in all competitions.
And so, when Rangnick discovered that United had not compiled a report on the Frenchman, he was rightly furious. This bug was quickly fixed and the Red Devils monitored it through the summer window.
Nkunku has signed a new contract with Leipzig that runs until 2026 and has started the new campaign in fine form, scoring six times in 11 matches. He could also be another player planning a move after the World Cup is over, but United will have to fight Europe’s elite to catch him.
Aurelien Tchouameni (Monaco)
Like Erling Haaland, United’s chances of getting Tchouameni always appeared between the ‘slim’ and ‘none’ regions. His £70m move to Real Madrid was one of the biggest of the window and he instantly showed he is at the required level of European champions.
In a midfield that also includes Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, the young Frenchman could hardly be getting a better football education. Tchouameni looks to be a key player on Real’s side for years to come.
If Casemiro – the player he replaced at the Bernabéu – is anything to go by, United could very well be in the mix in the balmy summer of 2028.
William Saliba’s Contractual Worry, Granit Xhaka’s Twist, and Ethan Nwaneri’s Worry
In the latest episode of our new podcast The Arsenal Way Gunners, writers Kaya Kaynak and Bailey Keogh talked about the latest news at Emirates Stadium.
It might be the international break, but that doesn’t mean it’s quiet at Arsenal right now.
The Gunners head into the international break at the top of the Premier League after an impressive start to the season that has seen them win seven of their eight games so far. The last victory was a 3-0 victory over Brentford, which raised a lot of talking points.
In that game William Saliba appeared with his second goal of the season to continue his good form. The Frenchman has quickly become a fan favorite since returning to North London but has yet to commit to his long-term future with Arsenal, with his current contract set to expire in just over 18 months.
Granit Xhaka was also excellent in the game and enjoyed a lovely moment towards the end of the game where he was serenaded by Arsenal fans to signal his healing relationship with them. The Swiss international also had a role to play in the game’s other big talking point, after admitting he has been making his coaching badges and taking charge of sessions involving wonder boy Ethan Nwaneri, who became the youngest player in history. of the Premier League after joining at the end of the season. game at Brentford Community Stadium.
Our Arsenal correspondents Kaya Kaynak and Bailey Keogh discuss why there are some doubts about Saliba’s contract in the latest episode of football.london’s new The Arsenal Way podcast. The new pod is a weekly show with in-depth discussions on everything Gunner-related.
The pair also discussed Arsenal’s start to the season and how far this current group can go before taking a look at Fabio Vieira’s start to life in North London and the bizarre negative reception that Nwaneri’s debut appears to have been.
You can find the latest episode of the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Spreaker by clicking on the links.