Man Utd added Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo in what was an impressive summer of transfer business with Dan James heading out of Old Trafford whilst other fringe players stayed put
Manchester United have enjoyed, on paper at least, their best transfer window of the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era.
The Norwegian has built slowly at Old Trafford and delivered a second place finish last term.
In an effort to continue that forward trajectory the United board have spent more than £100m on three new faces – all of whom come with huge pedigree.
Solskjaer had key areas on the pitch he wanted addressing and – with the exception of central midfielder – he has done so.
The hope now will be that Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo were the right men to bring in.
United’s transfer dealings have, for the most part, been a success under the Norwegian.
We assess the business conducted on the red side of Manchester.
Raphael Varane – 9/10
The centre-half is the signing who has the least question marks around him – in fact he has almost none.
The only hanging doubt will be the classic “yes, but can he do it in England” question.
Almost certainly the answer will be yes and United were able to take advantage of his contract situation by signing him on the cheap.
Varane has four Champions League wins and a World Cup success, those sort of achievements don’t grace everyone’s CV.
A partner for Harry Maguire was a top priority and the Frenchman appears to be everything the United skipper isn’t, which could create the ideal combination.
Manchester United via Getty Imag)
Jadon Sancho – 8/10
A year later than planned but those at Old Trafford won’t care, especially given they managed to knock around £30m off the original asking price.
United’s negotiation skills would’ve come under fire had they failed to get this deal over the line for a second time.
So from a point of confidence, it was crucial they got this wrapped up.
A winger was also on Solskjaer’s wishlist and given his desire to add young, homegrown talent, Sancho is about the perfect fit.
His exploits in Germany suggest he is going to be a star and proving himself on the Champions League stage is another plus.
United’s investment in Sancho points to him playing week in, week out, which may create selection dillemmas.
But they are the types of problems a title winning coach needs to solve.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 7/10
Right, are we judging this romantically or logically?
Romantically it’s wow. The homecoming of a man who honed his skills in Manchester before going on to conquer the world, what more could you want?
If nothing else it’ll bring an initial buzz that will lift the whole club, and that can only be beneficial.
Ronaldo will bring a guarantee of goals, but that is all he guarantees. He guaranteed goals, 36 of them, for a Juventus side last year that went from first to fourth.
United were by no means goal shy last year for a start.
It can’t be overlooked how Ronaldo needs the team to play around him to thrive and just how will that adversely affect some of his team-mates?
This is a boom or bust signing. On one side his goals could result in silverware – job done.
Alternatively, whilst he scores goals, he hampers the development of Mason Greenwood and forces a change of style that has few, if any, long-term benefits.
Watch this space.
Dan James – 9/10
A rare move where everyone seems to be happy.
The player gets a move that will guarantee more game time, his new club get the player they were chasing back in 2019 and United sell-on for a profit.
James started United’s opener against Leeds, but with Sancho to come in and Rashford injured there was a sense that his minutes were going to decrease as the season wore on.
The Welshman started his time in red with a bang but has been unable to maintain that momentum.
Now seems about the right time to move on and United did the right thing in letting him go and not trying to prove they can make every piece of recruitment work.
The ones that stayed – 6/10
Talking of making recruitment work. Donny van de Beek. A genuine conundrum.
Many will feel, with interest this summer, that it would’ve been best for the club and the player to accept that this is maybe right man, wrong time.
Van de Beek is talented, but he’s never going to start ahead of Bruno Fernandes and the influx of attacking talent will make opportunities hard to come by.
It is a similar story with Jesse Lingard, despite Solskjaer’s determination to keep hold of him.
Games will come thick and fast – as may injuries – so if United find themselves depleted the likes of Lingard, Van de Beek, Diogo Dalot and co may suddenly enjoy greater involvement.
Should the team remain wholly fit though United may have too many faces and not enough spaces.