Speculation linking David Brooks has generated plenty of debate among Manchester United supporters.
The Mail report United are keen on Brooks, although have not yet made contact with Bournemouth over a deal.
On one hand you have fears Brooks will suffer in the same way Dan James has done in his first year, finding the transition to a step up tough, and struggling to win over supporters.
Yet at the same time, United want a squad player and Brooks is precisely that, one who can be an upgrade on Andreas Pereira, who The Times has linked with an exit.
Unlike James, Brooks has played in the Premier League, and if he had not spent so much time injured this past season, Bournemouth surely would not have been relegated.
His return of seven goals and five assists in the 2018/19 season led to The Guardian asking why Manchester United’s transfer strategy at the time overlooked hidden gems like Brooks, instead of favouring bigger name, expensive stars.
It was legitimate criticism, and now United are looking in his direction, it should be good news that the club are now considering a move.
These are the gambles worth taking
Brooks’ availability comes down to the circumstantial nature of Bournemouth’s relegation. As much as they hold out for a high price, United can wear them down and push them to accept a lower offer, especially with Brooks being a boyhood United fan, and Bournemouth’s own interest in taking James Garner on loan.
Liverpool fans were unhappy when the club swooped to sign Andy Robertson from Hull City when they were relegated in 2018. He has gone onto become one of their best ever buys.
This is not a new phenomenon. Sir Alex Ferguson’s successful sides were not made up of players signed from European giants. Instead the players were plucked from far less successful clubs at bargain prices.
United signed Carlos Tevez when he was relegated with West Ham in 2007. Edwin van der Sar was signed from Fulham. Both of these players had star pedigree, but others didn’t.
Antonio Valencia was signed from Wigan when they were relegated. Dwight Yorke was signed from mid-table Aston Villa.
Further back the likes of Denis Irwin and Peter Schmeichel were bought on bargain fees from Oldham and Brondby.
What matters is not where the player comes from, but what he is capable of becoming, and Brooks has the potential to be a top star.
It comes down to price
At the right price, a move for David Brooks is too good for Manchester United to turn down. He can play in multiple positions, and has already tested himself in the Premier League.
The Mail report Bournemouth are targeting £40 million for Brooks, after receiving a similar fee for Nathan Ake from Manchester City. This is too much.
His injury-hit season will deflate that price and United should be targeting a deal worth £20-25 million, or walking away.
At £40 million he stops becoming a bargain. United could buy Donny van de Beek from Ajax for that price, a player who has played and scored in a Champions League semi-final.
At a low-cost gamble, Brooks is a shrewd deal. For a more substantial fee, he becomes more of a commitment who could cost up to a third of the club’s transfer budget. United have to negotiate well, or walk away.
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