I reject your reality, I substitute my own !!
"Raphael Varane (£41 million)
The what would have been had it not been for injuries players Eric Bailly (£30 million)
One of the few players who had a brilliant start to his time at Old Trafford but injuries have got the best of him too often. The 28-year-old Ivory Coast international has been at Old Trafford for six seasons but has only made 70 appearances in the Premier League.
Bailly has struggled to establish himself at Old Trafford (Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Luke Shaw (£30 million)
Shaw joined United as the most expensive teenager in football in 2014.
The 26-year-old has been through a series of ups and downs (the worst parts including a horrible injury and a brittle relationship with Mourinho) that leave question marks in his career. The talent and potential were always there, recently shown in the 2020-21 season, but it is up to him now to remain consistent.
Radamel Falcao (loan)
Falcao looked a shadow of the spectacular striker United thought they signed from Monaco in 2014. He only scored four Premier League goals during his time at Old Trafford but the move had the feeling of being a failure before it even began, considering he had barely played since returning from his serious knee injury.
Alarm bells should have been ringing but United thought he was worth the risk. History now tells us he wasn’t.
The good but not used properly playersPaul Pogba (£89 million), Fred (£52 million) and Donny van de Beek (£39 million)
These three midfielders can be brought under the same umbrella. They displayed great talent in systems and roles that catered to their strengths — United bought them for everything they were good at then proceeded to abandon that. Pogba is not a lone defensive midfielder. Fred and Van de Beek were shackled behind the halfway line in a double pivot. Can Ten Hag get Fred and Van de Beek back to their best, now that Pogba has left?
Anthony Martial (£36 million)
Martial is one of the best examples of United’s failure to develop talented players. He joined the English club with the world at his feet in 2015 and was hailed as one of the best upcoming young talents in football.
His first touch was sleek, he could dribble past players before they would take notice. But he was mismanaged. If United had focused on improving his movement off the ball and tactical understanding, he might not have become a forward who could only perform in streaks.
Daley Blind (£14 million)
Blind was a master at breaking lines from deep. He worked at United when the rest of the team didn’t — allowing them to build out and exit their own half consistently. Unfortunately, Mourinho rolled around and his excellent traits in possession weren’t as important.
Juan Mata (£37 million)
Mata joined United aged 25, at the peak of his career, under Moyes in January 2014. The left-footed creative forward works best as a roaming No 10, but needed short, sharp combinations with a striker or winger to excel.
Throughout the multiple iterations of United’s rebuild, he was never given that.
The sensible transfersRaphael Varane (£41 million)
A centre-half wasn’t the highest priority, but you do not say no to a four-time Champions League winner that brings experience and, more importantly, recovery pace to put out fires in United’s back line. Injuries ruined his first season, so Ten Hag must hope he sees more of him than Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick did.
Victor Lindelof (£31 million)
Lindelof is probably the most “un-Mourinho” signing ever, given his lack of physicality and aerial dominance, but he is a good option to have in the squad when paired with a proactive centre-half, especially given his long-range passing and ability to delay tricky wingers well.
Sergio Romero (free)
Served United well as one of the best No 2 goalkeepers in the Premier League.
Amad Diallo (£37 million) and Facundo Pellistri (£9 million)
It remains to be seen what rewards these two youngsters reap for United, but they represent two rare occasions where the club has looked (and invested) towards the future instead of reactionary stop-gaps.
Odion Ighalo (loan)
As a player best known for mixed performances at Watford, fans weren’t excited the moment Ighalo joined. His addition appeared to be the epitome of applying a plaster to a broken leg, but that thought didn’t last long. Ighalo was decent. He brought the option United didn’t have — a striker from the bench, decent hold-up play, two-footed finishing, athleticism and goals (five in 23 games). But most positively, he showed a love for the badge that offered a pleasant surprise.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (free)
In a season Ibrahimovic turned 35, he still managed to score 28 goals across all competitions in 2016-17. Everything about him, especially the leadership he brought to the dressing room, meant that he was a good fit.
Many of the transfers United completed fall under a general theme of misuse and lack of clear planning.
Whatever it may be, there needs to be a better approach to identifying 1) the specific roles (not just positions) United need and 2) the players who fit those roles and can operate in United’s tactical structure.
It will be only then that United’s transfer record can improve.
*all figures taken from Transfermarkt
A centre-half wasn’t the highest priority, but you do not say no to a four-time Champions League winner that brings experience and, more importantly, recovery pace to put out fires in United’s back line. Injuries ruined his first season..."
Amad Diallo (£37 million)
Wow whaaaat? 37 million pounds??? And people shocked about what we paid for Vieira?