The Transfer Window: Expectations and Reality

Transfer Rumours MU

A transfer window rolling by without Manchester United being linked to a whole host of names would be an extremely unusual one. Following this general trend, this summer also promises to throw up boundless speculation and get the fans excited and impatient for rumours to materialise and signings to be announced. The Red Devils have not been the most aggressive club around in terms of transfer strategy in the recent past, though Mourinho making four major acquisitions last term without dragging any of them close to the deadline would have surely come as welcome relief.

The Portuguese seems intent on adding to his squad, and quickly, this time as well. The purchase of Swedish centre-back Victor Lindelof from Benfica has been announced, subject to a medical and work permit being obtained. Rightfully, the United fans have been getting excited. The 22 year old has plenty of admirers, and his performances for both club and country have been very impressive. Winning the U21 World Cup in 2015, he was pivotal in preserving his team’s clean sheet against Portugal, with Sweden ultimately winning the game on penalties. Known as ‘Ice Man’ for his composure on the ball, his ability to read the game and take up excellent defensive positions are his key attributes. The most important though, also one that none of the current central defenders at the club possess, is the passing range and his capability to effectively to play out from the back. With Mourinho’s knack to get the best out of central defenders and a potential partnership with Eric Bailly in the pipeline, not many can blame the United faithful for envisaging a union along the lines of the famous ‘Vidic-Ferdinand’ camaraderie.

That said, there is definitely need for further strengthening the ranks. Talk of another central defender being targeted is rife, although if that was to happen one of the current crop would surely be let go. Moving upfield, the centre of the park is probably not the area requiring most immediate attention. Michael Carrick has been given a contract for another year, Marouane Fellaini seems to be a trusted option for the manager and now that Paul Pogba has had a season under his belt after returning from Juventus, many believe this is his year to shine. Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Daley Blind provide versatile options who can play at the back or in midfield. There have still been rumours linking a couple of central midfielders to the club, with Mournho probably eyeing one signing to add dynamism and competitiveness in that midfield. It is the forward areas that need the most chopping and changing though. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been released, and signing a number 9 is definitely top priority. Wide areas may require some tweaking too, but the presence of young and versatile players who could play wide or upfront does provide some leeway in that regard.

Out of the innumerable players who already have been linked or will be in the near future, here is a list of the few around whom the rumours have been gathering pace. If some of these were to come to fruition, it would mean a strong squad with enough depth and competition for places to ensure a successful season for Manchester United.

Alvaro Morata

Easily generating most of the hype around the club right now, the potential transfer of the talented Spaniard would be a major coup. At 24, Morata has already played at the highest level with Real Madrid and Juventus, and is no stranger to winning silverware. With only Lionel Messi possessing a better goals to minutes ratio in La Liga last term, Morata scored 20 goals in all competitions despite being utilised mostly from the bench by Zinedine Zidane. With a 70 million pounds move being mooted, the fact that his agent has publicly acknowledged the fact of interest from United and the ball now being in Real’s court, it does seem like this one could be completed soon. Announcement of his signature by the end of this week may seem too good to be true, yet positive news on this front might soon follow.

Fabinho

Fabio Henrique Tavares, or simply Fabinho, had an outstanding season with AS Monaco. Winning the French league and reaching the semifinal stage of the Champions League, he was one of the core of players whose performances exceeded expectation. Possessing the ability to play at right back or in defensive midfield, the Brazilian contributes mainly in the form of his energy, tackling and ability to destroy the game when required. Fairly good at linking up the play too, he would certainly improve the current United squad by adding considerable depth. Only time will tell how accurate the reports suggesting a 40 million pound move being completed and an announcement to be made in a couple of weeks when he returns from holiday are, yet the potential that this acquisition has cannot be underestimated.

Ivan Perisic

The Croat has been the bright spark in a rather dull season for Inter Milan. With the arrival of new coach Luciano Spalletti, this deal might be slightly delayed. However, with Inter needing at least 26 million pounds before June 30th to ensure adherence to Financial Fair Play Regualtions, a 35 million pound move might benefit all concerned. A flamboyant attacker who can play out wide as well as through the middle, Perisic registered 11 goals and 8 assists in a rather underwhelming Inter side. His creativity and work rate are said to have attracted Mourinho’s attention, and if Inter genuinely wish to buy James Rodriguez they would want to fund a considerable part of that outlay by selling Perisic. It remains to be seen how this one goes through, but an attacker who could supplement the goal tally could be a welcome addition at United.

Ross Barkley

A late name to emerge, and a surprise to be honest, the young Englishman definitely has the talent to make it at a top club. With rejection of a new contract at Everton and 12 months left on his current deal, fair few clubs would have taken notice of the situation. United have made an initial enquiry as per sources, though whether or not they follow up the same is only conjecture at this point in time.

Kylian Mbappe

The hottest property in world football at the moment, the 18 year old burst onto the scene with a stellar season with Monaco last term. The French team demanding 100 million pounds for someone who is still relatively inexperienced might be a bit too much, although breaking the bank has not deterred United in the past. It would make sense for Mbappe to continue with Monaco for at least another season considering the upcoming World Cup in 2018, and even the most optimistic fans would agree this signing seems far-fetched.

Along with the players as stated above, the likes of James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale, Michael Keane, Radja Nainggoalan and many others have been linked. Surely, many more names will be added to the fray as the window rolls on. Another couple of players will almost certainly be added as we move along, who they are and what impact they can make is surely an enthralling prospect.