With much talk about potential new arrivals at the club, it's come up that a new transfer strategy has been put in place at United to prevent the signing of big names and a repeat of Alexis’ unsatisfactory move to the Theatre of Dreams in the winter transfer window of 2018. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the newly appointed manager had a talk with Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward. The manager has been reported arguing, that without significant investment and change of leadership, the 2019-20 season would be a repetition of the past 6 years and it would be unrealistic to expect a title challenging team within the next three years.
With problems not subsiding between the management, what does seem to change, in fact, are the names and number of United’s targets. Just as they seem focused on certain targets, others in the same position are brought up out of nowhere. The latest is Norwich City’s Max Aarons, as a possible alternative for Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka, the transfer of whom has still not been confirmed.
That brings us to the face that the focus now is clearly on young talent. The deal to sign Daniel James is a confirmation of what we already knew, that these are the type of young, raw and impactful players Solskjaer wants to build his new United around. Bruno Fernandes, Declan Rice, and Sean Longstaff all fit the same profile. He had discussed his vision after being made permanent manager last season. That's an improvement on the unorganized approach of transfers in recent seasons, which has left the club's fourth permanent manager in six years with a mess to clear up, an unbalanced squad, heavy in egos but light on commitment and desire, if the way they went back towards the end of last season is anything to learn from.
Even though they are following a new policy not followed by title challenging teams anywhere, one significant happening of the summer has been great differences between United’s valuation of targets, and that mentioned by the clubs. Even if United have been informed of a set asking price, they go on to make offers way below that. This has also to do with the fact that the size of the squad is too huge and some players have to be sold to make way for quality. With work machine, Ander Herrera leaving the team, there is a huge gap to be filled in the midfield.
But, for all the positions on the field that have to be corrected, there’s one position where Solskjaer has to compromise on his principles. The central defenders have been a problem for United since the partnership of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic was succeeded by Chris Smalling and Phil Jones. Not to say they don’t show glimpses of quality, but glimpses do not win you the league. It is especially a position where players mature in the latter half of their career. With good numbers and defensive sense from Victor Lindelof, a prospective partner in Harry Maguire or Kalidou Koulibaly is being thought of.