In mid-June, ESPN‘s Mark Ogden claimed Manchester United had a meagre budget of just £100 million.
We did not cover this on United In Focus at the time, believing it unlikely.
After all, it flew in the face of rumours United were chasing big money stars, and were looking to sign as many as five players.
Now with less than three weeks until the transfer window closes, it’s time to re-assess.
In the transfer window so far, United have signed two players.
That’s £65 million in total, well under the reported budget.
A big money deal for Harry Maguire would take United well over £100 million. As would a subsequent deal for Bruno Fernandes.
But both or one of these would be offset by the sale of Romelu Lukaku.
Lukaku’s exit is looking increasingly likely, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed he will not feature against Inter Milan [via BBC Sport].
Fitness issues were cited, but he has been pictured training and this will be the third pre-season game he has missed.
A deal to sell Lukaku for around £60-80 million would take any United spend on Maguire or Fernandes back to around or under the £100 million mark.
Right now it looks like that’s the best we can hope for.
Deals for James and Wan-Bissaka dragged, with United clearly keen to get them done for the cheapest fee possible, rather than throwing money around.
Prudent, yes, but also reflective of working under financial constraints.
Solskjaer has been talking up Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira as replacements for Ander Herrera. It’s a sign of more cost cutting.
Hopes of us spending £200 million on the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly and Jadon Sancho just don’t seem realistic. We quickly abandoned the race to sign Matthijs De Ligt.
Last summer United spent just £75 million on players.
This year we do not even have Champions League football and the funds which come with it.
After our initial spend, United might really need to sell to buy. Our deadwood is not proving easy to shift.
It looks like the £100 million budget report was more accurate than we gave it credit for at the time.
United have three weeks to prove us wrong.
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