Man Utd forced to loan Amrabat and Cucurella because of Ed Woodward mistakes?

Editor F365
Sofyan Amrabat and current Man Utd defender Harry Maguire
Sofyan Amrabat could be heading to Man Utd, while Harry Maguire could be leaving Old Trafford.

Manchester United are being forced to beg, steal and borrow players because they are stuck with high earners. But are Liverpool any better?

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Are Liverpool even trying to compete?
It’s looking likely that Liverpool now won’t be signing anymore players in this window, thereby confirming that the squad has just become weaker and weaker over time. Are we even trying to compete with Man City anymore? Those days are already becoming a distant memory.

Is Klopp happy with this situation do we think? For me it just seems like we’ll be a club happy to finish in the top 4. Much like Arsenal became under Wenger. We let Wjinaldum go far too easily in my opinion, since followed by Mane, Firmino, our club captain Henderson and an experienced defensive midfielder in Fabinho. Who was admittedly poor last season.

The Gakpo signing looks stranger as time has gone on, and who knows where Nunez quite fits in. It’s all become a bit demoralising, and confirms for me that the owners aren’t prepared to even try and compete with the likes of City anymore. Poor planning and a lack of clarity seems to have taken hold at the top.
David, Newport


Man Utd still meandering thanks to Edward Woodward
What started as a surprisingly efficient transfer window for Man Utd, is slowly meandering to the potential disaster that we have become used to over the last ten years…

Mike, Oxford addressed this as a lack of direction, resulting in an endless cycle of panic buys – and it is hard to argue. The evidence is compelling and right in front of our eyes (yet again).

In desperate need of a midfielder and a senior striker, we are currently jumping from Ryan Bertrand to Cucurella to Reguilon to Tagliafico to a mystery player no one has mentioned and now back to Cucurella to replace two injured left backs. All the while having Diogo Dalot and Alvaro Fernandez on hand and loaning out Brandon Williams. It’s not a great look.

I think the answer is a much simpler one, albeit a more difficult one to find a solution to – Ed Woodward. He is going to continue to hamstring Manchester United in the transfer market far beyond this summer.

United entered this window with a plan. They secured signatures of Onana, Mount and Hojlund in quick succession – the lads are even in on time for pre-season. Hurrah!

Sofian Amrabat is on the way too to provide much-needed cover and competition for Casemiro. Double hurrah!

But then. Ed Woodward. Ed Woodward and his ludicrous contracts. The reason we have to sell players for a pittance. If we can sell them at all.

Buyers were found for Fred, Donny van de Beek, Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly and Scott McTominay. Deadwood or squad players that ten Hag looked at and wanted to move on to bring better, more suitable players. Players like Todibo and Ambrabat. Kim Min-Jae was available (that would have been glorious).

But those buying clubs, quite rightly, don’t want to pay full whack for players on £150k plus a week when alternatives are available for probably half the outlay on wages. The net result is that, bar Fred, all of those players are still on the books. Even Fred went for a disgustingly low sum in this mental marketplace.

Amrabat is desperate to join United. United desperately need reinforcements to save having Christian Eriksen play 90 minutes twice a week. We can’t afford to buy him, so we’re now trying to loan him. All because we can’t shift players.

We have to take massive losses to even tempt a buyer, and then when one is found, we have to pay the players to leave.

Barring a takeover, which is less and less likely every day that goes by, this is an issue that will continue to haunt the club and act as an anchor to recruitment.

And now here we are. Again. Shopping in the bargain basement for loans.

I am not attaching any blame to Erik ten Hag for this. Arnold and Murtough slightly more so, but these players were given fat contracts by their predecessor. It’s not like they can hog tie Harry Maguire and drop him off outside the London Stadium is it?

I’m not all doom and gloom like everyone else seems to be about the prospects this season. Consolidation inside the Top 4 is still very much on the cards. Open season for banter there on what “success” looks like to me as a United fan now, but let’s be real. Only once in the ten years post-Fergie have United had back-to-back Top 4 finishes. The reality is that that would be a success for ten Hag.

But this increasingly frustrating transfer window is just yet another symptom of a decade-plus of mismanagement at the top.

The new manager and new recruitment team is slowly, very slowly, turning the ship around, but it might get worse before it gets better.

United fans just need to keep the faith. For the love of all that’s holy, do not turn on this manager, hang on, and pray for a takeover.
James, MUFC


I’m going to assume Mike from Oxford is not a United supporter, as he uses the term ‘they’ throughout his mail and not ‘we’ when discussing our transfer business. Regardless, to take Mike’s points in turn below (for my sins).

Apparently we are “declaring interest in seemingly every average player” we can think of”. Funny, I must have missed those announcements from the club; note to self, check Fred the Red has my correct email address.

According to Mike we purchased Mount to play DM and not, as most people understand, as competition for Bruno and Eriksen. Earth to Mike, Mount wasn’t bought to play DM.

No point addressing the DDG issue, you don’t pay a keeper those wages to sit on the bench. We let Henderson go because he doesn’t suit TH’s style of play. You know, that plan you’re criticising him of not having. Can’t answer for the Kovar transfer but you can bet your bottom dollar TH assessed him in great detail and didn’t fancy what he saw. But Erik, Mike knows better because he has wikipedia?

Thanks for stating the obvious Mike, that Hojlund is not currently banging in goals like Kane or Salah. How many goals did they score in a top league when they were 19/20? Not very many I would wager, because I have checked and they didn’t. Interestingly, Benzema did score a good amount the season he turned 20 in Ligue Un, so who knows. But let’s not write him off before he has kicked a ball eh?

For the love of god can we not get back into the Greenwood saga again? Thanks.

As for Maguire, who still might leave this window by the way, he’s not a defender who fits the style of football TH wants to play. But he hasn’t been “allowed to insist on staying”. The club have placed a value on him which they think is fair, for a player who will be very good for any team who do not play a high line.

Sure if this was a game of ‘Championship Manager’ we’d just laugh manically as we cancelled his contract and sent him out to pasture. But this is the real world, where players have value and if that value is not met then Maguire still has a use as a squad player. Lindelof, fine defender that he is, will be first reserve or potentially even first team.

Finally, Magic Mike tells us that our transfer targets are mid-table players. Ignoring that Mike doesn’t know who our actual transfer targets are, marvel at this list: Kalvin Phillips; Kovacic; Jack Grealish; Nathan Ake; Pedro Porro; Mahrez; John Stones and Leroy Sane. All bought by Pep from teams who could be considered mid-table teams when they joined City (not an intentional zing at Chelsea but funny all the same). The number of transfers between top teams is fewer than you would imagine. The right player is the right player, regardless of who they play for now.

In conclusion, give my head peace Mike! Let’s see who we actually get in and how our season actually goes before giving us a kicking for being in an “infinite loop”.
Garey Vance, MUFC


Not good, not bad, just oKai
The world sure is full of a lot of revisionism about Kai Havertz today, isn’t it? I know it sounds like a strange notion but is it just possible that there is a middle ground sometimes and that not everything has to be the BEST or WORST?

Was Kai Havertz a roaring success at Chelsea? No, he had some flashes of moments and a very favourable memory in a Champions League final but he was most definitely not the player he was in Germany. Was he a quote/unquote “bad” player though? Really? Yes he spent some time at Centre Forward and he looked lethargic at times but he ended with a 1 in 3 goal contributions rate. That’s not even that bad for a permanent striker.

Sorry to downgrade the red alert but this isn’t Alexis Sanchez to United, or Chelsea’s own Timo Werner, he’s just a rather overpriced OK player who has yet to be at his new club long enough for anyone to form an opinion.
AsWas Harold and the Hoolers
P.S. I know I’m reusing my OKai pun here but it’s my mailbox entry and that’s that


Ranking the really big-money transfers
Looking at your top 10 big spending transfers, it really stands out that there are not many enormous fees in there. So I looked at the top 25 most expensive transfers ever and grouped the players together.

Unqualified success (bargain)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Madrid)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juve)

Good (paid back the fee)
Gareth Bale
Kylian Mbappé

OK (but overpriced)
Gonzalo Higuaín
Jack Grealish

Bad (not worth the fee)
Romelu Lukaku (United)
Harry Maguire
Eden Hazard
Paul Pogba
Ousmane Dembélé
Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
Antoine Griezmann
João Félix
Philippe Coutinho

Too soon to tell (promising)
Jude Bellingham
Enzo Fernández

Too soon to tell (worrying)
Jadon Sancho

Too soon to tell (very few games played)
Moisés Caicedo
Declan Rice

It’s a pretty bleak picture. Some you may argue with (Ronaldo at Juve, Mbappe (too high), Neymar (too low), Grealish (too low), Bale (too high) but the general picture would be the same. What’s really striking is how many of these players, signed for enormous fees, are not just overpriced but actually played badly for their clubs. Even if they were signed for half or a third of the price, they still would not have been good.

Makes you think about clubs splashing enormous sums of money on players, when very few eighty million pound plus players have actually done well.
Mike, LFC, Dubai


Best goal by a meh player
Haven’t really nailed down my answer for Chris Illingworth, was Trevor Sinclair MEH?

But what I do know is the best penalty ever scored now belongs to Harry Wilson, he’s revived the thunderbastard but from 12 yards. Knew what he’d done immediately but by the time he got back to the centre circle this had dissipated to WTF!
Howard Jones


…My great goal meh player is Andrea Dossena, the Liverpool sub left back who was so meh no one bothered to call him Drossena. Until one week it all went incredibly right for him with a goal against Real Madrid and a peach of a lob over Van De Sar in a 4 – 1 demolition of United at Old Trafford. This being back when Liverpool tanking United at OT was a freak result and not a third gear stroll.

Funnily enough that was an era when Liverpool needed a left winger so Chelsea bought all the left wingers. More things change…
Alex, South London


…If we’re still doing this, IMHO two of the five or so greatest goals ever were scored by meh players:

Pajtim Kasami for Fulham against Crystal Palace
Bobby Zamora for QPR against West Brom
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA