Well, that was a something yesterday, wasn’t it?! While it was understandable to have low expectations for Manchester United this season, especially given what a disaster their summer transfer window has been, no one Saturday’s thrashing at Brentford coming! A side that was just promoted only a season ago ran up four goals on David de Gea and United by the time the match was just a half hour old.
Where do we go from here? Well, there is a ton of work to do in the transfer market, and only 18 days to get deals done. Let’s take a look at the whole big picture, and then we’ll dive into the latest rumors.
United finished last season with 58 points, which was their worst ever Premier League era season. Since then they have lost: Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard, Edinson Cavani, Juan Mata, Mason Greenwood (been indefinitely suspended since midseason, Dean Henderson (loan) and Alex Telles (loan).
So far, their only replacements have been: a central defender who might be more Eredivisie quality than Premier League, a back-up left back and a free transfer on a guy that rates as a great squad player, but not a true first teamer for a great team. They still haven’t their two biggest needs- central/defensive midfield and striker. Regarding the latter, thew newest name linked is Alvaro Mortata, 29, of Atletico Madrid. That is according to multiple outlets, including ESPN and The Athletic.
Morata, prior to joining Atletico, had a decent stint with Juventus. Yes, he was an expensive flop at Chelsea, and a misfit at Real Madrid, but if you look at how he plays internationally, well you can see that he’s still got it, and well, there are much worse fallback options out there.
We know that because United have been linked with such names in recent weeks- Marko Arnautovic anyone?
Another option, beyond Alvaro Morata, could be Austrian center forward Sasa Kalajdzic, of Stuttgart. Sky Sports has more, over at this link. The 25-year-old has been able to generate a decent return on investment, goal scoring wise. Plus, United don’t have to go far in order to get an in-depth scouting report and potential recommendation. Their newly former, interim manager Ralf Rangnick, is now the boss of the Austrian National Team.
Now I know you might be thinking- “Rangnick was a disaster, who cares what he thinks?”
Well, he was right when he said 1. the club needed as many as ten new players and 2. the rebuild required is “not cosmetic, but open heart surgery.”
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.
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