Manchester United is staring down an economic crisis that can only be averted with a massive transfer windfall. Despite the club’s well-documented struggles to acquire top talent, its record of selling players has been even more abysmal in recent years. With the need for funds to sign new players becoming ever more urgent, it’s up to Man U to offload World Cup stars such as Dean Henderson, Alex Telles, Eric Bailly, Fred, Scott McTominay, Harry Maguire and Anthony Martial.
United have the star power to attract plenty of attention but must finally prove they have what it takes to seal deals at an optimal price point. It’s a make or break moment for the team as their future rests on the success of these sales. The time has come for Manchester United to show they can cash out big in order to bring in the resources necessary to mount a championship run.
This summer, Chelsea have raked in a whopping €138 million from offloading five players, including €65m for Kai Havertz alone – not bad considering his Premier League goal ratio is inferior to that of Anthony Martial’s. Elsewhere, Kalidou Koulibaly, Edouard Mendy, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and potentially Christian Pulisic could all be leaving with Lyon strongly linked for the latter, at a cost of €25 million.
In comparison, the Red Devils are barely bringing in any major sums – Dan James and Chris Smalling raised €25m and €12m respectively during the past four years, while experienced attacking duo Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matić and Ander Herrera were all let go on free transfers. The quartet might not be world beaters but together they are certainly worth more than the previously mentioned zilch.
Manchester United are at risk of repeating the same mistake in the transfer market – selling their youth academy graduates and senior players for vastly reduced prices. Take Zidane Iqbal, a young prospect who may not have the credentials to go far in the elite level; yet he was sold for a mere £1million. Comparably, Manchester City’s James Trafford, who has never played club football above League One, is set to join Burnley for no less than £15million.
In this turbulent and ever-changing market, buying clubs hold all the cards – interest, wages, and desperation can all dictate price. Meanwhile, rival teams from the top six are demonstrating their ability to cash in on their squads, cashing in millions along the way.
But this wasn’t always the case for Manchester United. In the past they had an edge when it came to demanding high prices for their youth academy graduates such as Kieran Richardson or Adnan Januzaj; while Sir Alex Ferguson had a knack for knowing when to sell their senior players. Now, however, the team’s sales strategy appears incoherent – the departure lounge is crowded but the list of destinations is short.