Will Manchester United’s policy of looking to the future work? Or should they bring in polished quality right away?
Having already agreed to sign Daniel James, 21, from Swansea, United have had a £40m bid for Aaron Wan-Bissaka rejected by Crystal Palace, but will make another bid for the 21-year-old, according to Sky sources.
United are also set to go head-to-head with Manchester City for Leicester defender Harry Maguire, Sky Sports News understands.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have a rebulding job on his hands having finished sixth in the Premier League last season, so we asked the Daily Express’ Matt Dunn on a special edition of the Sunday Supplement podcast and Danny Higginbotham on Sky Sports News, whether the current policy is the way forward.
The case for a quick fix
Journalist Matt Dunn feels hoping players develop in the coming years may be a risky approach for United, who must plug a 31-point gap between themselves and the Premier League top two in Liverpool and Manchester City.
We talk about the lack of wage structure at United, there’s a lack of structure generally, too. I’m surprised that Manchester United, having made a short-term managerial appointment based on just a few results for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, are now buying a full-back for the next five years. Who knows how many managers they’ll have or who they’ll be.
It just struck me that when Pep Guardiola said: ‘We need a right-back,’ he went and bought the best in the Premier League in Kyle Walker. Manchester United are still trying to close the gap by signing the third, fourth best players and hoping they develop.
United once again are taking a punt on a player who hasn’t quite got there yet. I’m sure he will, because all the signs are there, but it is still a gamble, and an expensive gamble.
I’m not quite sure where the strategy is for Manchester United at the moment. Again, regarding Daniel James, these are the signings you make when you’ve got the first team right and you’re building for the next team and hope they come through and it all evolves beautifully.
The problem is having the trust in Ed Woodward to deliver this grand plan, when they’ve struggled so much in recent years in the transfer market. Get the main pegs right, and if they don’t get one target, make sure the one you miss is the developing right-back rather than the crucial centre-back, who you need in place.
The case for the future
In contrast, Danny Higginbotham feels United’s approach of buying young is the best way forward at present. The former United defender feels the quick-fix approach has worked poorly for the club since Sir Alex Ferguson left, and wants to see them build stability.
Is Wan-Bissaka the type of player they need? Yes. Solskjaer wants to bring younger players who can improve. At United we’ve seen a period of quick fixes. If you’re going to bring players in now, you want to bring in players you can build a team around.
Wan-Bissaka has gone from strength to strength at Palace, going forward he’s excellent, defensively strong, and he’s got plenty of time on his side. I think that’s the way United want to go.
If you look at City and Liverpool, they’ve signed younger players who you can build a team around. You don’t want to bring in too many 28 or 29-year-old’s who you get three years out of, because the transfer value goes down and you have to start again, which United don’t need.
Wan-Bissaka is a player who still has a lot of growing to do, but would fit into the way United play. He’s an excellent player and he’s only going to get better.
Solskjaer is bringing in young, British players. Is this the way United should go? Yes, 100 per cent. It’s more a case of young players. What we’ve seen from United over the past few seasons is players at the club from three managers ago. You want to be able to build a team. You build from continuity and stability, and United have not had that over the past few years.
They’ve been going out and buying players for big money who may be a quick fix for a couple years, and the time has come now for United to appreciate where they are. They’re a long way away from City and Liverpool, and you have to build brick-by-brick. That’s what Klopp did at Liverpool, and Pep to an extent at City. The money has been spent in the right areas, and Solskjaer needs the time to be able to do that.
Follow the Summer Transfer Window on Sky Sports
As well as keeping an eye on Sky Sports News, make sure you don’t miss a thing with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.
There’s also the return of the Transfer Talk Podcast, the daily UK, Regional and European Paper Talk, plus features across skysports.com and the Sky Sports app.
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(c) Sky News 2019: Manchester United’s transfer policy: A quick fix or time to rebuild?