Manchester United may have had their concerns about bringing players in this summer but that won’t be the club’s biggest challenge in the last week of the window.
Following on from the signing of Argentine attacker Angel Di Maria on Tuesday for a club record and British transfer record fee of £59.7 million from European champions Real Madrid, any fears Red Devils fans may have had over the club and the executive Ed Woodward’s ability to bring in world class talent have been wiped away.
However, with less than a week left before the transfer window slams shut, United will face an entirely different challenge, especially following the team’s disappointing 4-0 defeat to third-tier MK Dons in the Capital One Cup just hours after Di Maria was confirmed to have signed.
Moving players on from Old Trafford is going to be as much of a conundrum as bringing new additions in has been for the club.
The worries over Manchester United’s lack of European football will be eased with the signing of undoubtedly one of the continent’s most talented attacking players who comes in to join Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo as well as January signing Juan Mata who, combined, have cost the club £168.9 million in less than eight months.
The likes of Chris Smalling, Anderson, Shinji Kagawa, Javier Hernandez, Danny Wellbeck, Marouane Fellaini, Ashley Young and Wilfried Zaha have all been linked with likely departures with United legend Paul Scholes suggesting the club is in danger of slipping away in a Liverpool-like fashion if they don’t bring in better quality.
Their 4-0 defeat to MK Dons only reinforced the perception of the club’s squad lacking quality and depth enough to challenge even just for a fourth place finish in the Premier League and perhaps the FA Cup this term.
The players listed above cost the club a combined £102.5 million over the years but there is absolutely no way United will recoup anywhere near that amount of money in the final days of the transfer window with the high wages many of them are currently on. However, they need to move them out of the squad in order to make space for any more additions Louis van Gaal is expecting and January is now looking to be the window when the majority of those players will be moved on permanently.
Anderson, for example, is said to be on £60,000 per week at Old Trafford and it’s difficult to imagine a) an elite club coming in for him b) a mid or lower level European club being able to afford him c) a club in his native Brazil being able to afford him or d) the player taking a pay cut to leave United. Now, trying to achieve a move that difficult for one player is troublesome enough but for as many as eight is near-impossible.
United lost key veterans in Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, and Patrice Evra and will likely need at least one more defensive signing as well as one more midfield signing to even hope to challenge for a place in the top four this term.