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Man Utd’s unfathomable transfer policy must share blame for Solskjaer failings

In terms of wages and agents’ commissions, some of the figures you hear in relation to the Edinson Cavani signing are truly eye-watering.

Whatever numbers you believe, one thing is for sure, Cavani was anything but a free transfer.

Yet a month after the Uruguayan pitched up at Old Trafford, he has yet to start a game.

Is he still world-class? Is he still hungry? Is he suitable for the Premier League?

You only find out by giving him a fair crack. Otherwise, it very quickly starts to look as though the manager did not really want him in the first place.

Solskjaer’s watched his side lose 2-1 to Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday

It very quickly starts to look like another indictment of the Manchester United recruitment department, the mysterious Manchester United recruitment department.

There was a strong rumour of a very functional one when the club signed players such as Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James and Bruno Fernandes.

But once the job of qualification for the Champions League was done, the plot appears to have been lost.

No sooner had Frank Lampard secured a top four finish for Chelsea, Roman Abramovich was working his way through his manager’s wish list. To considerable effect.

Cavani’s four United appearances have all come from the bench

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Apart from Declan Rice, perhaps, Lampard must have been close to getting everyone he wanted.

Solskjaer wanted Jadon Sancho but got Donny van de Beek and Cavani. Neither have started a Premier League match.

Sancho remains at Dortmund, alongside Erling Haaland and Jude Bellingham, another two players who have been at the top of Solskjaer’s list of targets at one point or other.

Again, the tales you hear of United’s failure to secure the signature of Haaland – when he left both Molde and Red Bull Salzburg – make you wonder if United’s transfer set-up is fit for purpose.

It was clearly not fit for Solskjaer’s purpose last window.

The decision to hand Henderson a lucrative new deal is especially confusing

Alex Telles and Facundo Pellistri were also signed. Telles has missed games through Covid-19 and it is too early to make judgements on his suitability but Pellistri has officially been consigned to the under-23 team.

If the hiring policy in the last transfer window all seemed a little haphazard, that’s probably because it was.

The new contract for Dean Henderson remains something of a mystery.

If they needed a few extra quid to get the Sancho deal over the line, why not sell Henderson?

It is quite abundantly clear Solskjaer is not going to drop David de Gea for a Premier League match as long as the Spaniard is at the club.

He has to try and keep Henderson sweet with the odd cup and Champions League game but Solskjaer already had a perfectly capable number two goalkeeper.

For all parties, Henderson sat on a bench makes no sense.

It is hard to see the logic in it.

But that is not unusual at Old Trafford.

Spend an age and a fortune getting a deal for Cavani over the line – even though he had been available for so long – and then do not give him a place in the starting team? No logic at all.

With Mauricio Pochettino available and clearly up for it, Solskjaer’s position is clearly under threat.

In fact, thanks in no small part to an unfathomable transfer policy – win, lose or draw at Everton – it looks pretty untenable.

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