Manchester United must launch inquest into Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka transfers

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This cannot keep happening. It’s an insult to Manchester United. While there were several concerning elements to Ralf Rangnick’s side’s embarrassing Etihad performance, there is one glaring, perplexing alarm bell that just keeps on ringing: Harry Maguire.

When a player is low on confidence, a pile on does not always feel necessary, particularly when the player has given so much for his country at international level.

But for United, Maguire looks a whole different proposition. A clumsy, unpredictable, erratic novice. Yet somehow, he is the club’s captain.

To think there are figures in the Old Trafford boardroom that were happy to sanction £80million to push through a deal after being held to ransom by Leicester is borderline unforgivable.

There must now be an inquest because if United are to eventually dethrone Manchester City and Liverpool – they cannot repeat these mistakes.

Take a look at both of United’s rivals and all of their recent signings seem to have fit like a glove.

Take Liverpool’s January arrival Luis Diaz for example. He’s looked right at home from the get-go. That’s what excellent recruitment looks like.

It’s something that Rangnick has noticed himself: “If I look at their [Man City and Liverpool’s] transfer success, they haven’t had many players who after one or two years somebody would have said, ‘maybe that wasn’t the right signing’. They’re pretty successful, both clubs.”

Gary Neville hit the nail on the head at the end of the 2018/19 season – when he declared that he didn’t even know who makes the signings at United.

That statement in itself is telling, it’s unthinkable that a club the size of United could be so incompetent in the transfer market.

Maguire was nutmegged for City’s first two goals in the derby before later being booked for hammering Kevin De Bruyne with a late challenge.

The contrast in quality between the two captains was quite simply frightening – a depiction of the gulf in class between the two sides.

That was also the case at full-back as Joao Cancelo turned in another dazzling performance for the defending champions.

He is Pep Guardiola’s playmaker as an inverted left-back and unbelievably – on the basis of the current exchange rate – Cancelo cost just £3m more than Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

That is deeply concerning and once again, indicative of United’s calamitous transfer strategy.

With the greatest of respect, Wan-Bissaka struggles to even provide support in attack and in defence, he is prone to switching off despite his excellent tackling ability.

For a £50m full-back, you would be expecting the full package. Not a player with huge startling flaws in his game.

While they weren’t the only ones, you would expect more from two players that cost a combined £130m.

There must be hope that Director of Football John Murtough can deliver in the transfer market for the new manager – otherwise, this could be a far bigger job than anyone expects.

United must now use their noisy neighbours and 4-1 humbling at the Etihad as a learning curve and line in the sand. This cannot go on.

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