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Explained: Manchester United's Transfer Strategy Under New Regime

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Explained: Manchester United's Transfer Strategy Under New Regime

Manchester United's new strategy for transfers could be a positive for the club who have made so many mistakes in the market in recent years, but they will need to prove that this summer.

If you were to look back at the last nine years at Old Trafford and attempt to narrow down the failure to one cause, it would be quite a difficult task.

However, most would likely end up agreeing on one factor - United's activity in the transfer market.

Whether it was a lack of spending in key positions, such as a defensive midfielder or right-winger currently, or overpaying for deals that just didn't make sense.

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Ed Woodward was executive vice-chairman of the football club between 2012 and April 2022. He was labelled as one of the main reasons that the historic club fell so far after Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.

His lack of true ability in the role was most prominent when speaking on the signing of Bastian Schweinsteiger from Bayern Munich in 2015.

Bastian Schweinsteiger signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2015, (Alamy)
Bastian Schweinsteiger signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2015, (Alamy)

"When people see Schweinsteiger on the team-sheet, that's going to send shivers down their spine" is what Woodward proclaimed following the signing of the German midfielder.

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However, with less than 40 appearances for the club over two years, and a super-wage to go with his £20 million transfer, we can all say that it was a bad decision to sign the 30-year-old, who began to experience injury problems in the seasons prior to the move.

Hindsight, of course, is a wonderful thing, but these mistakes were too regular of a theme under Woodward's leadership. It was miss after miss in the transfer market, and it held the club back.

Many celebrated Woodward's departure from the club back in April. Since then, there have been major changes at the club, including the promotion of John Murtough and Darren Fletcher as the football director and technical director, respectively, both were new positions added at the club.

Murtough was said to be pivotal in the recruitment process for United's new manager. Many would say that he and the team made the correct choice in Erik ten Hag.

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Erik ten Hag and John Murtough at Old Trafford
Erik ten Hag and John Murtough at Old Trafford

Richard Arnold was the one to take over the reigns as the new CEO in place of Woodward, and his approach is one that many supporters would appreciate.

He has stepped back from the footballing side of operations and allowed Murtough to take control of that aspect. Rob Dawson of ESPN reported that sources say this change has made "clearer reporting lines" between scouts, head of scouting Steve Brown and Murtough, which has led to the entire process being "streamlined."

The new policy of recruitment now involves decision making being made between Murtough, Brown and Ten Hag, with each able to use a veto.

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Despite United's budget being described as "sizable" they will be responsible in their approach, with it being said that spending will be "disciplined". Something that is in place currently as United look to haggle prices with Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong.

It seems that the Spanish club are not able to keep the Dutch midfielder despite the up-turn in the financial situation at the club.

This gives United an upper hand in negotiations, but they need to tread carefully as they risk missing out on Ten Hag's favoured signing altogether if negotiations go south.

Erik ten Hag is keen to be reunited with former Ajax player Frenkie de Jong at Manchester United. (Alamy)
Erik ten Hag is keen to be reunited with former Ajax player Frenkie de Jong at Manchester United. (Alamy)
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Ultimately, there will need to be a balance found between Murtough and co in the transfer market, especially this summer.

We are a week into the window, but it feels like two months with the online reaction of Manchester United supporters, as they see rivals Liverpool and Manchester City strengthening already with the signings of Darwin Nunez and Erling Haaland.

The two clubs are already levels ahead of United, and investment is desperately needed to eventually pull United back into the conversation that they both currently are in; as the best clubs in Europe.

United cannot go back to previous habits of avoiding key positions and overpaying for players that aren't worth it. But, neither can they hold out and risk missing out on key targets that the manager needs in his attempted rebuild.

It's a fine line for Murtough and his team, and we will only know what side of that line they are on after 1 September, when the transfer market does eventually close for the summer.

Featured Image Credit: Manchester United

Topics: Manchester United, Manchester United Transfer News & Rumours, Transfers, Football, Erik Ten Hag, Darren Fletcher

Cain Smith
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