When the transfer window is over, there needs to be an inquiry into how Manchester United prepared for January.
From the outside, it looks like there simply was no preparation, and that’s totally unacceptable considering the stakes.
The one player United did try to sign was Erling Haaland. Reports from November in The Times claimed he was United’s top target.
This fell through when the prolific young striker joined Borussia Dortmund. It looks like a good move for him, and while a clear disappointment to United, sometimes you can miss out on players. United in 2020 is not the attractive club it was in 2010.
It seemed like United’s chances were doomed as soon as it became clear agent Mino Raiola was involved on Haaland’s behalf. And even if he wasn’t, the clubs competing with United, Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Juventus, all had strong cases, as BILD reported in early December.
So missing out on Haaland should have been an eventuality United prepared for, even if there was some misplaced confidence a deal would get done.
There should always be a plan B
There should always be a back-up plan, but it appears in United’s case, there was not.
United had three strongly performing strikers in December, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.
And it seems United got tricked into believing the club only needed to add a striker if an exceptional one was available.
This was not the case, as Marcus Rashford’s injury has proved. United are now down to just two strikers, one of who is only 18-years-old.
Haaland clinched his move to Dortmund for just £17.1 million on December 29, BBC Sport reported.
United should simply have moved on, to pursue an alternative striker option.
Instead it appears there simply was no alternative striker option. It’s embarrassing. There were months to prepare for this.
United are now left scratching around, looking for late, desperate bargains and players who clubs no longer want.
Paco Alcacer could be forced out of Dortmund by Haaland’s arrival and he is one option United may consider, The Times reported this week.
If United had managed to sign a striker before the January 15 game with Wolves, there is a possibility Marcus Rashford would not have played, and injured his back.
So United’s lack of preparation for this window really has been costly. It’s a real dereliction of duty.
Haaland would have been ideal, now we are now 25 days gone since he signed with Dortmund. And United are no closer to signing an alternative, when one is needed more than ever.
Even if there was complacency a striker was not needed, Rashford’s injury nine days ago should have changed everything, and a striker should have been signed in the days between then and now. Or at the very least, negotiations begun.
Instead Sky claim today United are looking at loans for Odion Ighalo or Islam Slimani. Words fail us.
Somebody at United really ought to be fired over this. We’re looking at you, Ed.
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