Man Utd's biggest transfer winners and losers after mixed window for Erik ten Hag
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Manchester United were one of the busier Premier League teams in the January transfer window. But who were the winners and losers among the club’s ranks after the winter spending?
Erik ten Hag’s side brought in a number of players in January, despite the club having to operate on a tight budget.
Crystal Palace goalkeeper Jack Butland was the first to arrive at Old Trafford, with ten Hag needing a a new back-up goalkeeper after Martin Dubravka was recalled by Newcastle.
Then, Wout Weghorst was signed on loan as a short-term replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who acrimoniously left United on the eve of the World Cup.
United’s incomings were expected to be complete after the Dutchman’s arrival, however an ankle injury suffered by Christian Eriksen forced the club back into the market.
On Deadline Day United wrapped up their business by signing Austrian midfielder Marcel Sabitzer from Bayern Munich on a loan until the summer.
But who are United’s winner and losers after the January window?
Man Utd winners
Marcus Rashford: The United attacker has been a key beneficiary of Ronaldo’s departure.
The England star has been in red hot form, netting ten times in his last ten games since the World Cup.
Meanwhile Weghorst’s arrival not only means Marcus Rashford can continue playing his preferred role cutting in from the left, but the Dutchman should also allow the entire United forward line to play further up the pitch.
In turn, Rashford could significantly add to his tally of 18 goals in the remainder of the season.
Wout Weghorst: Another beneficiary of Weghorst’s arrival is… well, Weghorst.
The Burnley misfit scored just twice in his 20 games for the Turf Moor club, as they were relegated to the Championship.
Weghorst was subsequently farmed out on loan to Besiktas in the close season where he scored nine times in 18 games.
His form in Turkey and decent showing at the World Cup, coupled with Ronaldo’s sudden Old Trafford exit, saw the stars align for the Netherlands international.
A year ago he was struggling to fill Chris Wood’s sizeable shoes; now he’s leading the line for United as a replacement for a five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: Aaron Wan-Bissaka has had a resurgence in form at just the right time. Before the World Cup the right-back had played just four minutes of football in all competitions and looked destined for a January exit.
Rumours were circling that Ten Hag wanted to bring in a new full-back, given the Dutchman’s lack of faith in Wan-Bissaka.
However an injury to first choice Diogo Dalot saw the 25-year-old start the club’s last six Premier League games and impress.
Given the United did not sign a new right-back as anticipated, Wan-Bissaka has the remainder of the season to prove he has a future at Old Trafford.
Man Utd losers
Harry Maguire: This is perhaps a controversial pick given it is February and Harry Maguire remains a United player.
Yet a footballer’s career is short and it’s difficult to envisage the United captain reclaiming his place in the starting line up ahead of Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martínez and Victor Lindelof.
Indeed, in early January even left back Luke Shaw was preferred to Maguire in central defence, as Martinez was eased back into the starting XI post World Cup.
The much derided England man had been linked with a move to Inter Milan in January, and it would be difficult to see how a change of scenery, away from the brutal British media, would not have been beneficial for the 29-year-old.
Scott McTominay: Newcastle were linked with McTominay during the January window, and all signs point towards the Magpies revisiting the deal in the summer.
However, if McTominay was uncertain about his status at Old Trafford before the January window, the club’s antics on the deadline day were particularly telling.
With Eriksen’s injury set to rule him out for three months, Ten Hag could have turned to the Dane’s deputies - McTominay and Fred - for the remainder of the season.
Instead, the club headed straight into talks with Bayern Munich over a move for Sabitzer, having also reportedly explored the possibility of signing Ryan Gravenberch, Houssem Aouar, Yannick Carrasco and Isco.
Shola Shoretire: Shola Shoretire was granted a loan to Bolton Wanderers to get some regular senior action.
However in his absence Kobbie Mainoo has received first team minutes.
Of course, a loan to League 1 will likely be beneficial to Shoretire in the long term, however it is equally possible that the 18-year-old, once dubbed the 'new Paul Scholes', could be pushed further down the United pecking order.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Manchester United, Erik Ten Hag, Marcus Rashford, Wout Weghorst, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Aaron Wan Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Scott Mctominay