Man Utd set for ‘another barren transfer window’ in January

Date published: Thursday 5th September 2019 2:44

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De Gea can go – but won’t in January
I agree with Adeel that it probably is time to look at alternative goalkeeping options. If De Gea hasn’t signed his extremely lucrative contract offer by now then he’s clearly got reservations about staying, so why keep him around? It would be unwise to convince him to stay even without the ludicrously lucrative terms. My issue with him isn’t that he’s not doing the extra stuff that Ederson and Alisson receive such high praise for, but that he’s not even doing the basics right any more; what used to be routine saves for him are now ending up as goals conceded. His distribution has never been amazing but he always made up for it by being a solid shot stopper – he’s not been anything like solid for a good long while now.

So, given the contract terms supposedly on offer and his form over the last 18 months, I think it would be a mistake to keep him at this stage; if being our highest earner (well, that’s actually playing for the club) isn’t enough for him then he should be moved on. The only issue that I can see with Adeel’s plan is that we are unlikely to get any fee for him now.

Realistically, any club that wants to buy him is probably going to be based outside of England so, assuming he doesn’t sign this new deal, he will be eligible to agree pre-contract terms with any European teams from January. If you’re PSG, Juve, Real Madrid – whoever – why would you pay a fee for a player that you can get on a free at the end of the season? And, if you’re De Gea, why wouldn’t you just bide your time for another half-season, knowing you can get more favourable terms if the buying club doesn’t have to pay a transfer fee too?

Yet again, as with the Herrera situation, we have dithered around to the point that it’s going to end up costing us a potentially decent transfer fee. Granted we’ve had well more than our money’s worth out of De Gea, and we didn’t pay all that much for him (around £19m), so it’s not quite as bad as Herrera, but strong leadership at the club would have seen him shipped off this summer with his new deal remaining unsigned. I wouldn’t say I or the Manchester United fans are turning on him as such, but I think now is the time for pragmatism not sentimentality.

Also, while we’re on the subject of transfers: don’t expect United to be particularly active in January. The only way we’ll bring anyone in is if any of our top targets are available and attainable; unless Sancho or Maddison become available, which they won’t, then it’ll likely be another barren window. There’s some logic to this – going for quick fixes rarely pays off in the long term – but it definitely seems like it’s them or nothing right now, with the likelihood pointing more towards nothing.
Ted, Manchester


Selling David the Gea to go
Excuse the horrible headline (been reading too much mediawatch and, therefore, The Sun), but I fear Adeel is far too late in his willingness to sell De Gea. For all parties he should have gone the summer transfer window of 2018.

I’m not sure if I’m looking through the rectrospectoscope, but I felt his performances were tailing off towards the end of the 2017/18 season and he certainly had a disastrous Euro 2018 for Spain (and is no longer their automatic number one). It has always been clear he wants away, with Real Madrid his preferred destination, and this may have been the ideal time to sell for all involved. United would have received an enormous fee, Real Madrid were looking for a goalkeeper (bought Courtois instead), and De Gea would have been unchallenged as their number one.

He’s subsequently had a woeful 2018/19, by his own very high standards, and looks to be continuing in the same vein this season. Nobody is going to pay big bucks for a player who might be on the decline with only one year left on his contract.

I suspect Real Madrid have a cast iron option to sign him in the summer of 2020 anyway, having only signed Areola on loan, but could also stick with Courtois (who, admittedly, hasn’t been playing to his own high standards since his move).

Real Madrid are in the driving seat on this one and may even pass him over altogether, United lose their number one for free anyway to another club, and De Gea doesn’t get his dream move.
Craig in Sydney


I will ask a singular (but two-parted) question in response to Adeel’s suggestion that United should sell Dave in January – where would he go and why would anyone buy a keeper in the middle of the season?

Off the top of my head, there are few clubs that DDG/any player would consider a step up – PSG, Real, Barca, Atletico, Bayern, Juve (ignoring Liverpool and City, for both obvious reasons and the fact that they don’t need him). The others like Dortmund, Inter, AC aren’t really a step up in terms of team stature, although arguably 2/3 of those would take him in a heartbeat (AC’s Gigi Bananarama has a higher ceiling from what I know of him (cheers Football Manager)).

So, this takes me on to my next point – why would any team take a keeper in mid-season? All of the above have settled keepers, and not one would be usurped by Dave, not in his current (18 month-long) form anyway. I can see Courtois and Neuer being replaced soonish, although Real seemed to have placed their eggs in a Thibaut-shaped basket by selling Navas, but definitely not in January. Plus why would you spend £40(?)m on Dave in mid-season, disrupt your current keeper and backline when you could just wait and get him on a free in the summer?

Regardless, we all know United love making a loss on players so why would they try and make a profit?
Joe (tongue in cheek since 93), Lowestoft Town


Pogba out? What’s the alternative?
A few people have been writing in recently saying that Pogba is a liability and he should be sold. Fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But one thing they don’t go on to say is how United will replace him.

I’m not asking them to name a specific player, but simply put, how will United create any chances without him in the side? Worse than that, which central midfielder of the current squad will be able to pass it forwards to a teammate from the middle of the pitch? At present, I’m not sure that United have one. We all know Ed won’t be able to find and purchase one.

I too have eyes and I can see that Pogba is the most technically capable player United have and possibly the only one who can play a through ball. If he was to leave, United would truly become a mid table team.


Can City afford to blood youth in bid for Champions League?
In response to Alay, N15 Gooner in Thursday morning’s mailbox. I hope this doesn’t come off as a tribal defence of my club, because you asked a very fair question.

Everyone loves to see a local young player come through at their own club. It’s basically one of the greatest joys you can have following a football club. But I think it’s simply unrealistic to think that any club can expect to have multiple such players in a 25-man first-team squad if they are genuinely aiming to win the Champions League.

I say this as someone who comes not just from the same city as Phil Foden, but the same part of the same city. It would be amazing to see him becoming a first-team regular in a successful City team. But if that does happen – still a big if – it will be a once-in-a-generation occurrence.

City have said for years that their plan is to have two world-class players in every position (obviously that’s a luxury we can afford, while others can’t.) In reality, hardly any player just coming out of a youth team is going to be world class… without wanting to re-open the tiresome debate about what ‘world class’ means.

This isn’t actually a problem. The big clubs have always sourced their players primarily by buying them from clubs at lower levels. Not only does this mean those players have had a chance to play regularly as they develop, but also that money is transferred down the football ladder. While imperfect, isn’t that a much better system than having big clubs hoover up all the promising twelve-year-olds they can find on the off-chance that a handful of them will become good enough to get into their first team?
Richard, MCFC


Roy Keane has never minced his words…
Interesting reading what Keane said about Fergie in that interview, but I feel you missed the main point that was raised.

In the same interview he described Jon Walters (a man who lost his brother and newborn baby in 2018) as spending too much time on TV ‘crying about his family situation’.

Great footballer – reprehensible human being.

As a United fan, reading yet another chapter in the ever on-going feud between Keane and Sir Alex makes very uncomfortable reading indeed.

It’s like walking the impossible tightrope of peace between your mum and girlfriend’s relationship where you have no idea which side to come down on if asked.

Please stop it gentlemen.
Andy Race


Even the football journalism police need policing
I feel that, in a way, F365 is a little like the police force of football journalism in England. You tend to identify the appalling, unprofessional and ignorant through Mediawatch, calling out those instances of glaring omission or wilful untruth, and provide a more sane, sensible take on the topic with far less hyperbole, more actual fact and only a small amount of sensationalism for sweetness. Like the police however, F365 is painfully underfunded for such a gargantuan task, with a seemingly endless supply of drivel reported from the tabloids, tv and web. Astonishingly, F365 also have no actual power to capture journalistic ne’er-do-wells and are more just recording and reporting incidents for posterity. Ironically, my research shows police do have the power to imprison naughty individuals, yet lack the interest or competence to catch them.

However, who polices the police? (and I mean F365 who I have anointed the police force of football journalism) The band The Police? Strangely, no. In fact, nobody does. So I will. And that ladies and gentlemen, brings me to Seb Stafford-Bloor.

I like Seb. We’re not friends or anything. We’ve never met. He’s got a double barrelled name, I don’t, but generally I think his articles, like most on F365, are good. But todays about the England midfield is not great. It’s just a bad premise for an argument. Let me explain…

England have historically underperformed at major tournaments. But most recently we actually did very well, reaching the semi-finals and going out in extra time. Yes there were issues, and we didn’t necessarily play the toughest teams, but regardless, we got to the semi’s with a half-decent team and that should be considered a success. So, if you are going to start a piece stating that we should play an untried, untested, inexperienced midfield three, you might want to go easy on your criticism of the existing, successful one.

Now, England isn’t renowned for being reserved when assessing its youthful prospects. Rashford was the next Shearer, Wilshere was the next Gazza, Rooney was the next Pele, Andy Carroll was the next Crouch, we get all giddy and bold and make some unrealistic assumptions about a players quality before really having the evidence to make such claims. Declan Rice could be the next Jack Rodwell, I certainly don’t see enough yet to talk about giving him the mantle of the England midfield for the next decade. Harry Winks has done absolutely nothing of note, and in a full strength Spurs side, might not even play. Mason has played 4 games in the Prem.

Seb also discusses technique, this mysterious trait that slips in out of players grasp, as their form ebbs and wanes. The stark reality is that Jordan Henderson, Deli Alli and Jesse Lingard are all technically gifted players. Certainly from the evidence so far, as gifted as Rice and Winks, otherwise Harry would probably be a European Cup winner and Jenderson would be all sad and telling his mates how he had this amazing cup lifting routine all planned, and it would have looked awesome, but he lost so he didn’t get to do it.

Possession. International football is about the team who controls possession. 90% of the time that’s right, Seb. Obviously the World Cup final and semi final that wasn’t the case, France ceding possession to both Croatia and Belgium and still winning but I take your point. There is of course a strong argument that domestic football is also about controlling possession, where City and Liverpool tend to have the highest percentage possession rates in the league…

A balance is required in midfield but do Winks, Mount and Rice have that? Certainly not in terms of experience, there they are all woefully short. Defensively? Winks is not renowned for his defensive ability, Mount certainly has nothing substantial in his locker and the defensive midfielder in the three plays for West Ham who had the 8th worst defence in the league. The existing defensive midfielder is captain of the team that conceded the fewest in the league. Attack? Well Declan has 2 goals, 0 assists (and 1 big chance created which is stupendously poor work) from 65 appearances. Winks has 3 goals and 2 assists from 88 appearances in the Prem and Mason has played 4 games and got 2 goals, which is actually very impressive.

All in all I don’t think there is much of a case for these three players, certainly not right now, and the argument and article around their inclusion was pretty weak. Otherwise you’re all doing a really great job. Keep up the good work. Otherwise I might knock down your door with a battering ram and arrest you all.

I won’t. And couldn’t even if I wanted to. Also I don’t have the time to actually monitor all of your output. I’m understaffed, just like the real police…
Ed Ern


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