Manchester United’s negotiating team will be feeling pretty good with themselves right now after landing Alex Telles for a knockdown fee.
BBC Sport reported United paid £13.6 million to sign Telles on transfer deadline day, which could rise by a further £1.8m in add-ons.
This was excellent business in comparison to the £50 million Chelsea paid for left-back Ben Chilwell.
It was also astute in comparison to Porto’s initial asking price for Telles.
So whether you look at the £13.6 million initial spend or the £15.4 million potential total outlay, United have a bargain.
Lowered the fee but at what cost?
Football games are won on the pitch and not on the negotiating table. United did not need to leave this deal until the last minute.
Why was the Telles deal not conducted in July when the transfer window opened, to allow him to acclimatise to Manchester and prepare to start the season with his new team.
United lost the opening game of the season against Palace and left-back Luke Shaw was partly culpable for the first goal.
Even when negotiations began around September 20, United could have signed Telles in time for him to make his debut in the Carabao Cup against Brighton.
This would have been the perfect preparation to take on Tottenham. Telles might be relieved to have missed that game, but United needed him.
Even though he is signed, there is no simple way for Telles to settle into the team at this point.
He has been on international duty with Brazil this week and will get a maximum of two training sessions with his new United teammates before facing Newcastle this Saturday, if selected.
It’s possible Solskjaer goes with a rested up Shaw instead, and then brings Telles off the bench.
Telles’ first start may end up being away at PSG, and then his first league start would be against Chelsea. It’s not ideal.
United can’t fairly expect to get a peak Alex Telles right away. The Brazilian will though have to jump straight in at the deep end.
Results mean money
United cannot even look at the situation and say, ‘well we saved £5 million so it was worth it’.
The team have dropped six points already in the Premier League from three games.
Newcastle are no pushovers this weekend either, having held Tottenham to a draw already this season, and then it’s Chelsea, Arsenal, and Everton while Telles tries to get up to speed.
If United miss out on the Champions League places this season by six points or less, then we will look back on these early games and view them as very costly.
We will never know if Telles would have made a difference ultimately, but we do know United would have stood a better chance, having a player who is now the club’s best left-back.
The Old Trafford bean counters will be happy with the short-term gains of the Telles negotiations, but until they put on-pitch success first, United won’t move forward long-term.
Failing to qualify for the Champions League next season would be very costly financially, and make transfer negotiations even harder next season, with certain players out of reach.
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