Showing posts with label Andre Onana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Andre Onana. Show all posts

Decent transfer window despite restrcitions from FFP

Manchester United's greatest captain of 21st century, Roy Keane demanded they sign Harry Kane and Declan Rice. Erik ten Hag and the club were very clear that they wanted more than that starting from changing the goalkeeper. United completed their major first team reinforcements by 1st week of August: Mason Mount, Andre Onana, Rasmus Hojlund. This was a major departure from the way they conducted their transfers before. Mount and Onana were part of pre-season tour of America where they lost majority of their games, and Hojlund carrying a minor back injury was a doubt to be fit for opening game of the new English Premier League season.

To balance the books due to Financial Fair Play rules United had to raise funds by selling players before they could make any further incoming transfers. Every club in Europe knew this desperate position of United, once mighty club reduced to accepting low bids from 3rd tier clubs in part due to their poor recruitment over the years. Mark Ogden wrote a brilliant piece about this in ESPN "fact that he (Erik ten Hag) has written off 20 first-team players since taking charge just 15 months ago highlights how poor the club's squad had become". David de Gea, Donny van de Beek, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Axel Tuanzebe haven't found a club yet.

This gap in valuations of players from club like Manchester United and their worth as seen by clubs was always going to delay the agreement over transfer fee. This situation was compounded by clubs farcical handling of Mason Greenwood internal investigation. Countdown presenter and long term United fan Rachel Riley threatened to boycott the club. Entire club lacked focus and promptly lost to Spurs 0-2 with utterly dispirited performance. Thus far the biggest blunder of chief executive Richard Arnold.

In keeping with habit of Erik ten Hag to retain the same starting XI that surrendered to Spurs and make improvements in effectiveness of gameplay with same XI, United came-back from 0-2 down to win 3-2 at home in their next game against Wolves. Then deadline day loomed. United were kept waiting for 4-days by Crystal Palace to conclude the deal for Dean Henderson for 15 million initial fee with 5 million in add-ons. This led to a frantic day of dealings to complete the signing of Altay Bayindir, Sergio Reguilon, Johnny Evans and Sofiyan Amrabat. Due to this delay United were forced to not commit to Marc Cucurella from Chelsea who could have been an upgrade to Luke Shaw and instead had to opt for Reguilon. The one deal all United fans were crying out for was that of Sofyan Amrabat and it was completed not as a direct buy but on loan due to insufficient funds. Salute to Morrocan's patience to wait till last minute of transfer window after contacts were made with his team in June itself. Seven incomings in one transfer window is decent return overall.

Barnay Roonay criticised Manchester United transfer activity on the 10th anniversary of 1st transfer window of post Ferguson era when Fellaini was brought on deadline day as most players deserted United and without David Gill, United had no plan to tackle that. This window isn't the same and instead he could have highlighted the plight of Manchester United famed for promoting their academy players to be forced to sell them in record numbers to raise funds: Charlie Savage, Anthony Elanga, Zidane Iqbal, Ethan Laird, Di'Shon Bernard, Matej Kovar, Noam Emeran, Teden Mengi, Logan Pye. Listed are only the 9 of 15 academy players moved on. Sir Alex Ferguson would often introduce young players at full back positions late in 2nd half after contracting their midfield, United of 2023 chose to loan out Alvaro Fernandez and get Sergio Reguilon on loan after injury to two left-backs Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia. 23.5 million as per transfermarkt raised by selling Elanga, Kovar, Iqbal of total 55.24 million i.e., 42.54%. Inability to sell Harry Maguire was the only negative of transfer window as United needed a new partner to Lisandro Martinez since Varane is often injured and Lindelof like Henning Berg is effective but not convincing.

All focus will be on Rasmus Hojlund when he makes the much-awaited debut. Return of Cristiano Ronaldo disrupted the away record under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and it has got worse since then. Industry of Hojlund will be key to press from high up and be first line of defense. Ronaldo signing was necessitated to protect his legacy of his first stint with United and not let him join City. United have retained 19-year old striker Joe Hugill as backup option! United needed the numbers (7) to reinforce the squad after writing off close to 20 players. Second season is more difficult than first but Erik ten Hag has got his players unlike Jose Mourinho so he should be able to slowly improvise team at his disposal to eke out good results eventually.

Steady progress under Erik ten Hag amidst uncertainity over club ownership

Erik ten Hag clearly over achieved in his first season as manager of Manchester United by finishing third, winning a trophy, reaching finals of the FA Cup and an extended run in Europa League filled the club’s coffers. United were also helped by the self-implosion of rivals Liverpool and Chelsea last season, who in turn have spent big in the summer. While City were imperious, Arsenal have spent big on Rice, Timber, Havertz, Raya. Competition just got even difficult this season. New rule proposed by FA to consider exact time of ball being in play to calculate stoppage time will mean more lengthier ending to both halves thus sapping up energy of players further, ultimately resulting them in playing 3-5 more matches per season.

Erik ten Hag got his man in Andre Onana to replace United's player of last decade David de Gea. Onana will be able to start attacks, come forward lot more to be like sweeper keeper and this risk taking will inevitably result in few errors leading to cede advantage. ten Hag has changed a very reliable goalkeeper after just one season like Guardiola did at City with Joe Hart. Like Guardiola, for ten Hag also this would be the hardest decision he has had to take. Beware Claudio Bravo the replacement of Joe Hart cost City the title! Onana will need time to settle in to pacey Premier League but he has already worked Erik ten Hag at Ajax will mean he knows what the gaffer wants. Already in pre-season he conceded a goal when opposition team chipped the ball over him to score. Schmeichel, van der Saar and de Gea have been three outstanding keepers for the club in last 30 years and will take enormous effort to try to match their accomplishments.

United stuck to their guns in negotiations with Chelsea for Mason Mount and finally got their man on 4th bid. Mount will eventually replace Eriksen who seemed off-pace after his return from injury last season. Also, there is more goals in Mount which will reduce the burden on strikers. His movement alongside right inside channel will mean new avenue of attack, leading to creation of more chances. This is an excellent acquisition by United. To top it Erik ten Hag decided to hand him the iconic #7 jersey, hoping this does not weigh him down. United do need to have a backup for Casemiro as they have looked most vulnerable in his absence. Sofiyan Amrabat is being mentioned as a possible addition, will be a good boost.

United did not pursue Harry Kane due to difficulties in negotiations with Spurs and this transfer could have protracted all summer thus disrupting the focus. Instead signed a potential in Rasmus Hojlund who just turned 20 this February for a significant investment. This is a welcome change from signing older forwards from Falcao to Weghorst. Last such signing was Anthony Martial and Hojlund will not end up like him due the coach that Erik ten Hag is. Hojlund has more physical presence, runs in the channels, holds the ball better than Martial. These attributes bode well for him, thus the expectation for him in initial years at United has to be lower.

Bruno Fernandes has officially become the new club captain and Marcus Rashford signed a new deal to extend his association with club he joined as a kid. United have done well to agree sale of Telles(€4m), Elanga(€15m), Kovar(€9m), Fred(€15m), Iqbal(€1m), undisclosed fee from Savage, Bishop, earning from transfer of Chong(€1m) to Luton Town. Approximately €45m with futures of few players yet to be decided like Maguire, van de Beek, Henderson, McTominay, Martial etc is indeed good business. Would have liked Kovar to be number two keeper with Heaton but United have got first right on his next move and proceeds from sale to any other club. 'McFred' era is finally over. Credit to Fred to have always put in 100% effort.

Following the strategic review of the club by Glazers last November to initiate a potential sale, and conclusion of few rounds of bidding no definitive response has come forth from Glazers. MUST and 1958 group both have planned protests for the season opener against Wolves. MUST statement reads "The Club feels like it is being held hostage by the Glazer family". Despite this uncertainty of takeover, backlash over Greenwood future, FFP rules that limit spending, United have done two other positive things: Agreeing a long term £900million deal to extend the partnership with Adidas two years in advance which might help to infuse some more funds for this summer’s transfer if contract duration can be prolonged, and created a players lounge area to give instructions to players before matches after similar requests from van Gaal and Mourinho were declined earlier. Club under Richard Arnold, John Murtough and Erik ten Hag have been working within the system to gain maximum for the club which fans can relate to with appreciation. Having got a good foundation last season here is hoping United to close the gap with City and Arsenal even further.

Garnacho, Hojlund, Mainoo

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