Bertrand In? McTominay To Bayern? Man United's Bizarre Final Week Of The Window

Erik ten Hag's side face a strange next few days
10:04, 29 Aug 2023

Manchester United’s transfer window started well. Important buys were made with less fuss and hesitation than Old Trafford attendees are used to. Rather than drawn-out affairs that generate endless column inches and very little progress, the club were getting their business done surprisingly swiftly.

Chelsea’s Mason Mount could have been the subject of another Frenkie de Jong-type saga, but instead his signing was wrapped up before United’s pre-season obligations. The task of replacing David De Gea could have been troublesome, but Andre Onana signed from Inter Milan in a fairly straightforward fashion. The Red Devils also prised Atalanta wonderkid Rasmus Hojlund out of Italy with an efficiency we’re not used to seeing from their recruitment team.

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The flow of transfers has stopped now, though. For weeks we have been briefed that the club needed to sell players in order to fund further transfers. While the likes of Fred and Anthony Elanga have moved on, they haven’t brought enough funds to allow United to pursue their primary targets. Fiorentina midfielder Sofyan Amrabat is keen on a move to Old Trafford but the near-£30 million fee he commands just isn’t in the coffers as it stands.

This is why United are entering the strangest final week of the summer transfer window they have ever endured. The lack of available funds, coupled with a very real need to fill at least two positions, has led to Erik ten Hag’s side considering some unusual transfers.

First of all, the midfield situation. Amrabat is still the dream signing and there remains faint hope enough players can be moved on to allow it to happen. But failing the signing of their first choice, United are entertaining some unusual alternatives.

One of the more unexpected avenues involves Scott McTominay. The Scotland midfielder is reportedly the subject of interest from perennial Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. The German giants have apparently offered midfielder Ryan Gravenberch on loan in return for McTominay. While this would be a complicated deal to seal, particularly so late in the window, it is certainly one to watch.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is another being linked with an Old Trafford move. Ange Postecoglou’s side are open to letting him leave, though some would question why a club of United’s ambitions are after a player who is surplus to requirements at a rival. The Hojbjerg deal smacks of a bit of late-window desperation, particularly with their interest in Amrabat so public. But Ten Hag needs depth in his midfield, with Casemiro and Christian Eriksen both 31 years of age and the former prone to the occasional suspension. Hojbjerg could offer a cut-price option as United fight on four fronts this season.

Another area of concern as the Friday deadline approaches is left back. Ten Hag hadn’t expected to recruit one in this window but injuries to Tyrell Malacia and Luke Shaw have made it a necessity. The fact Shaw’s injury, expected to keep him out for weeks and possibly months, occurred so late in the window has led to some unusual transfer links.

Chelsea’s Marc Cucurella is a possibility on loan. The ex-Brighton & Hove Albion man struggled in his first season at Stamford Bridge, making him an unlikely United target. Another former Blue, Ryan Bertrand, has been discussed due to his availability as a free agent. Considering the fact he’s 34 and didn’t play a minute of football for Leicester City last season makes him less than ideal. There have also been links of varying veracity with Barcelona’s Marcos Alonso, Luke Thomas of Leicester City, Sergio Reguilon of Spurs and Lyon’s Nicolas Tagliafico, the latter of whom worked with Ten Hag at Ajax.

United do at least look to have sorted another problem position. With Dean Henderson close to a move to Crystal Palace, Altay Bayindir of Fenerbahce seems set to replace him as back-up keeper. His teammate Fred, who has just signed for the Turkish club from the Red Devils, let slip that Bayindir would be moving to his former club. 

A final week of the window that could see Ryan Bertrand join the club while Scott McTominay moves to Bayern Munich is not what any United fan expected. It sums up where the formerly-unstoppable Reds are at these days. Some problems are of their own making, like not shifting enough players to make room for the likes of Amrabat. Others less so, like the untimely injuries to Shaw and Malacia leading to some left back desperation in the market. But this is the hand United have been dealt. Now the world waits to see how they play it.

united to beat arsenal: 16/5*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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