New Man Utd manager’s transfer priority is obvious amid ongoing £193m problem

Who will get the Manchester United job?

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Whether it is Zinedine Zidane, Erik Ten Hag, Mauricio Pochettino, Brendan Rodgers, or even Michael Carrick; the next Manchester United manager has a £193m sized problem waiting to embrace their arrival. Whoever fills the void previously departed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to brace themselves for an avalanche of meetings with many expensive and previously discarded transfers and their agents.

The Red Devils have tried to spend their way out of trouble since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, but their route back to glory is showing no signs of being carved by with a yearly flex of financial muscles.

Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Romelu Lukaku, Jadon Sancho, the list goes on.

Many big players, with big reputations, and even bigger wages have entered the Theatre and Dreams – unfortunately for United, their biggest issue at present is that many of those arrivals are still there.

During one of Solskjaer’s painful final weeks at Old Trafford, Alex Telles, Antony Martial, Donny van de Beek, Eric Bailly, Diogo Dalot, Juan Mata, Dean Henderson, and Jesse Lingard all claimed they were misled about their opportunities this season, according to ESPN.

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Excluding Lingard and Henderson who came through the United academy system, those players marooned in the Old Trafford wilderness cost the club £193m.

Four different managerial eras were responsible for their arrivals, as David Moyes signed Mata (£37m), Louis van Gaal brought in Martial (58m), Jose Mourinho invested in Bailly (£30m) and Dalot (£19m), and Solskjaer added van de Beek (£35m) and Telles (14m).

When a new United manager is brought in, conversations will inevitably gravitate towards the star-studded personnel who will kick start their own revolutions.

But no manager can expect a steady and successful spell at Old Trafford if it is constructed on the very wreckage departed by previous managers.


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The list of names understood to be the most frustrated do not include the first team stars whose performances have at timed defied belief.

Pep Guardiola set out his stall early on at Manchester City with almost £200m worth of new talent. Yet the Catalan also kick started a ruthless exodus of stars left behind by Manuel Pellegrini and Roberto Mancini.

Leroy Sane, Ilkay Gundogan, John Stones, Gabriel Jesus, Nolito, and Claudio Bravo came through the revolving door, while Eliaquim Mangala, Wilfried Bony, Joe Hart, Edin Dzeko, Sami Nasri, Stevan Jovetic, and Jason Denayer went out the other side.

Premier League champions, club legends, and previous marquee signings were either sold or loaned out to only never be seen in a Manchester City shirt again.

Jurgen Klopp did something similar in his first summer transfer window at Liverpool, as previous arrivals from the Rodgers era such as Christian Benteke, Lazar Markovic, Mamadou Sakho, and Mario Balotelli were swiftly moved on.

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And to make matters even better, the Reds even managed to sign Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Joel Matip, without their net spend tipping into the minuses.

Not since 2009 have United recorded a positive net spend at the end of a summer transfer window, and that was only because Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid for a then record £80m.

And with the Portuguese leading the United line once more, the untouchable Bruno Fernandes just behind him, and other monumental investments such as Jadon Sancho (£73m), Harry Maguire (£80m), and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£50m) those United players will only be misled again if they are promised opportunities again.

But many of those players on the scrapheap are paid very generously and departing Old Trafford would make little financial sense.

It is an expensive conundrum which has not, and will not, die with Solskjaer’s reign.

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