Manchester United's Sensible Soccer: Transfer Window Shows Progress Under Ten Hag

The summer has lacked chaos and fanfare at Old Trafford
17:01, 19 Jul 2023

Manchester United are enjoying a strangely sensible summer. It may not seem like it on social media, where absolute chaos is constantly raining down - especially when it comes to the proposed takeover - but on the pitch, things are steadily moving in the right direction. 

This summer they don’t seem to be getting involved in long-winded dramatic transfers. Mason Mount is the headline arrival so far and he came with relatively little fuss, even after an intense negotiation on price with Chelsea. He’s a player who Erik ten Hag has prioritised, one who will no doubt improve their starting XI, and a midfielder at 24 who can serve the club for the next five years. 

Elsewhere, the big news comes in goal as long-term servant David de Gea has been replaced by Andre Onana as the Dutch boss once again shows his ruthless side. De Gea simply doesn’t fit the way Ten Hag wants to play and despite his 12 years at the club it’s about time they both parted ways. United will be better for it, and that is the main focus for the manager and his staff. 


This summer has also seen Marcus Rashford sign a new long-term deal at the club, and protecting their most valuable asset shouldn’t be overlooked. Rashford was one of the finest players in the Premier League last term and it would cost a huge amount of money to attempt to replace him, so tying him down for the long term was a priority. 

The rest of the summer looks fairly calm for United. Getting rid of Harry Maguire would be preferable, while signing a striker, likely to be Atalanta’s Rasmus Højlund is now a priority. Ten Hag will get his man, of that there is little doubt, and he will arrive with promise but without the grand expectation to solve all their problems. 


It’s a completely different feeling to the one that has surrounded the club in past summers. Last year, Antony, Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez all signed for major fees, with big things particularly expected of the Brazilian winger. The season before that it was Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo who joined a team that was expected to challenge for the Premier League title. They didn’t. 

Before then, Alexis Sanchez, Paul Pogba, Memphis Depay and Angel Di Maria have carried the huge weight of being the megastar arrival at Old Trafford. All four failed to deliver what was expected of them, and all four left the club without making a serious impact. Ronaldo’s return was a disaster and Sancho has been hit and miss, but there’s a feeling that since Ten Hag arrived the recruitment has dramatically improved. 

Casemiro has changed the way United play, and Onana is likely to do the same, elevating them to a position where they can realistically challenge for the title. More importantly, this summer at Old Trafford doesn’t feel like a rush around Home Bargains on Christmas Eve, picking up any old scraps you can get your hands on. It’s measured and United so far haven’t overspent, which is a rarity in itself. 

There’s a long way to go in this window, and United may still go off the rails, but that seems unlikely at this point. With Ten Hag in charge, recruitment has been steady and sensible. It’s a refreshing change from the chaos of the last decade, and it should pay off on the pitch.

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