What the actual f*** are Man United playing at this summer?

Date published: Wednesday 19th June 2019 12:03 - Matthew Stead

Cracked window
‘WHY ARE WE WAITING?’ screams the headline to a two-page spread in the Daily Mirror discussing the transfer travails of Manchester United. They have made just one signing in eight days since the window opened; what the actual f*** are they playing at?

The sub-headline to David McDonnell’s piece reads: ‘Solskjaer may have promised a revolution.. (MC – there are only two dots, which somehow makes it even more hilarious) but just 12 days before pre-season training, United’s lack of signings has them heading for their worst window since 2013.’

2013? A reminder that only three of their seven signings from 2015/16 are still at the club, and they are the permanently available Matteo Darmian, back-up keeper Sergio Romero and the man who inspired this headline to a McDonnell article four years ago:

That was a pretty shit window.

And does Mediawatch really need to remind anyone of last summer, when Diogo Dalot, Fred and Lee Grant were the only new arrivals?

In fairness to McDonnell, he himself never suggests this window will be their worst in six years. That has very much been crowbarred in for reasons beyond our comprehension. But he does say ‘lessons do not appear to have been learned’ from 12 months ago. Because lessons absolutely have to be learned within just over a week of a two-month curriculum.

‘Before signing off for the summer, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he wanted all new signings on board and ready to start training when the squad returns on July 1.

‘Yet, with just 12 days to go until United’s players report for duty at the AON training complex, the only arrival so far is £15million winger Daniel James from Swansea.’

Well only Aston Villa, Southampton, West Ham and Wolves have actually bought more than one player so far. The transfer window opened literally last week; let’s give it more than eight days to fully judge their business.

‘Bids have been made – and rejected – and targets talked up, but United fans, who have become wearily accustomed to the club’s inertia in the transfer market, are suffering deja vu.

‘Contrast that with Real Madrid, whose response to finishing third in La Liga last season was to spend close to £300m on new signings in the past few weeks, including Chelsea forward Eden Hazard.’

Because Europa League competitors Manchester United, one of six big Premier League teams, are the exact same as Real Madrid, winners of three of the last four Champions League trophies and one of two huge La Liga clubs. They are shopping in the exact same market with the exact same limitations, the exact same needs and the exact same budget. They are funded precisely the same way, too.

They should definitely be compared and contrasted.

‘United’s failure to move swiftly in the transfer market has served to reinforce Solskjaer’s fears.’

It is mid-June. This article ‘has served to reinforce’ the fact that nothing is happening anywhere, never mind just at Old Trafford.


99 Problems
To read Neil Custis of The Sun suggest ‘one source’ has described the ‘atmosphere’ in United’s dressing room as ‘being as bad as at any time since the closing weeks of Jose Mourinho’s reign’ is rather confusing. And not just because nobody is actually in the dressing room over the summer. Sure, times change, but the same man said the same club were ‘back on track’ in February, having ‘been made into a team to be feared again’.

The ‘problems’ certainly ‘appear to have mounted’ since then, ‘with only one new player in and an inability to get others out’.

Again, they have made more signings than Arsenal, Brighton, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield United, Tottenham and Watford. That is literally half of the league. And only Chelsea have parted with more players.

‘Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left a dressing room he had initially united, divided once more, as he delivered a post-match blast after the Cardiff game warning that he was ready to get rid of half the team.

‘The problem is the whole team is still here.’

Did he actually tell ‘half the team’ they’d be leaving? Have you fallen for your own website’s guff?

And again, it’s been eight bloody days. Of course ‘the whole team is still here’; everyone’s on holiday, man.

‘These are all issues that will drag on through the tour unless things can be sorted out and soon.

‘The problem with that is the questions that will need to be asked by the following media pack will only test the patience of a manager who is desperate to revive the club’s fortunes.’

The story here is definitely how Solskjaer will respond to inquisitive journalists. Yep. That’s it.

‘What United need of course is a bunch of fresh, new hungry players.

‘But so far only winger Dan James from Swansea has arrived.

‘Solskjaer really does have some job on his hands.’

It’s. Been. Eight. Days. They’re hardly waiting until deadline day to sign Marouane Fellaini for an extra £4m. If Dan James is still their only signing at the start of August then line up all of the hats and we will gladly eat them.


Hello, Dean. You’re a stupid head
Besides, United will be fine when they appoint Dean Saunders as their new director of football.

He was in full force on talkSPORT on Wednesday morning, suggesting Paul Pogba should be fined two weeks’ wages for saying he is thinking of leaving because “it affects the share price” and “the subscriptions on Man United TV”.

The absolute best of luck with that.

But Saunders proved his business acumen by claiming that Pogba is in line for a £3.68m ‘loyalty bonus’ on June 31. Ed Woodward wishes he could negotiate such clauses to be paid on a date that doesn’t exist.


The sequel


Get your Phil
Writes Paul Jiggins in The Sun of Phil Foden starting for England U21s against France U21s on Tuesday night:

‘Boothroyd’s team selection, despite much speculation before kick off, threw up no real surprises.’

Try telling your various esteemed colleagues.


Phil your boots
Writes Paul Jiggins in The Sun of Phil Foden’s goal:

‘And that is probably the biggest shame of it all as it is arguably one of the best ever solo efforts scored in an England shirt.

‘Second only to John Barnes’ strike against Brazil in the Maracana in 1984.’

Mediawatch is not entirely sure where to begin. So it won’t even bother.


Just wanna get in touch with your feminine side
Writes Neil Moxley in the Daily Mirror:

‘Phil Neville is leading the Lionesses’ World Cup assault by getting in touch with his feminine side.

‘The England head coach presented his squad with commemorative gifts, organised bespoke photographs and gave them time to celebrate Father’s Day with their nearest and dearest.’

He’s pretty much got a vagina.


Recommended reading of the day
David Conn on Bury’s demise.

Miguel Delaney on Real Madrid.


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