Man Utd transfer window performance: Questionable signings and loads of missed targets in dreadful summer at Old Trafford

Posted by

It was another transfer window to forget for Manchester United.

While some big names did eventually come in, this is much more a story of missed targets and a total lack of vision, coherence and competence at one of the world’s biggest clubs.

MORE: Manchester United ready to pay £90million for transfer of Real Madrid star

Read on for our analysis of Man Utd’s transfer window in full…

Players in

Donny van de Beek – A player who should still end up being a good signing, but not exactly one that ever looked like making sense as a priority for the Red Devils. United will no doubt have been impressed with what Donny van de Beek produced in his time at Ajax, but it’s hard to see how he can fit in to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s midfield when Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes are already there playing similar roles. This is evidenced from the fact that the Netherlands international hasn’t started much games for the club so far. A strange signing, and one you could easily see being either a big hit or a major flop, it’s just too early to tell.

Edinson Cavani – A world class striker…maybe three years ago, and one who’s never really tested himself at the highest level. It’s one thing scoring a ton of goals with Neymar alongside you in Ligue 1, but something quite different coming to this dysfunctional United side at the age of 33 after barely playing for the last six months. A risky signing that may well pay off but which could just as easily end up looking very silly very soon.

Alex Telles – Perhaps the most solid piece of business Man Utd did this year, with Alex Telles impressing at Porto and looking a clear upgrade on what the club previously had in the left-back position. That said, some might wonder how their top left-back target was a player who joined for as little as £13.6m (fee via BBC Sport) and who few other top clubs seemed to be chasing.

Facundo Pellistri – Finally, an exciting signing for the future, but 18-year-old Uruguayan winger Facundo Pellistri does little for MUFC’s current woes, so fans aren’t likely to be that overwhelmed by this arrival any time soon.

Players out

Alexis Sanchez – He’s finally gone! After a season out on loan at Inter Milan, Alexis Sanchez made his move to the San Siro permanent this summer, and fans will be glad to see the back of one of their biggest flops of recent times.

Chris Smalling – A player unlikely to be needed much at Old Trafford, Chris Smalling also made his loan to Serie A side Roma permanent by the end of this transfer window. In contrast to Sanchez, however, the England international actually had a decent season in Italy last term and some might well feel he’d have been worth keeping around as a squad player given that United failed to sign a centre-back to fix their defensive woes this summer.

Diogo Dalot – A promising young player whose career has stalled, Diogo Dalot has gone on loan to AC Milan and United will hope this can either give him the opportunity to learn and improve, or just put him in the shop window for a permanent sale next year.

Andreas Pereira – Like Dalot, Andreas Pereira doesn’t seem to be on the right path at Man Utd, so his loan to Lazio will probably be the precursor to a permanent exit before too long.

James Garner – Unlike the pair above, James Garner has time to develop and become a first-teamer for Solskjaer, who clearly trusts his academy. A loan to Watford this season looks a good stepping stone for a talented young midfielder on his way to the senior side.


Remarkably, Jesse Lingard and Phil Jones are still Manchester United players in the year 2020. Fans will probably not be too optimistic about the club’s chances of selling these flops any time soon, so they’re presumably set to continue doing precious little whilst eating into the wage bill.

Elsewhere, MUFC could probably have done with shifting the likes of Juan Mata, Daniel James, Marcos Rojo and Sergio Romero as well, with funds from their sales likely to be been sufficient to help the club land at least one or two more players that they so badly needed.

Missed targets

And on to those players now…just to be warned, United fans, it makes for pretty grim reading. According to ESPN, Ed Woodward and co. failed to deliver a single one of Solskjaer’s targets…

Jadon Sancho – Widely linked with United all summer, Jadon Sancho would have been perfect to give this side that little bit of extra spark in attack. In the end, no winger came at all, in what has to go down as a huge failure by everyone involved at the club. The Athletic have explained how MUFC messed this up with their approach that angered Borussia Dortmund, and, to add insult to injury, the Independent now claim rivals Liverpool will probably be ahead of the running for his signature next summer.

Manchester United missed out on top target Jadon Sancho

Jack Grealish – ESPN also list Jack Grealish as a Man Utd target that wasn’t delivered, and after his recent masterclass for Aston Villa in their 7-2 thrashing of Liverpool, it seems safe to say that was another bad idea.

Dayot Upamecano – Another target mentioned in ESPN’s report, Dayot Upamecano has shone for RB Leipzig and is surely one of the top young centre-back, in other words: exactly the player United need. This could’ve changed the club’s season and is sure to be a failed deal they live to regret.

Nathan Ake – Apparently also a defensive target for Solskjaer, according to ESPN, Nathan Ake ended up joining Manchester City instead. In fairness, he’s not started that well so it might not be a big miss by United on this occasion. You’d imagine he’ll perform better than Lindelof and Bailly over the course of the season, though.

Ousmane Dembele – Another player strongly linked with United towards the end of the window was Barcelona misfit Ousmane Dembele. Sport claim he was very close to a move to Old Trafford, and he could have made a decent Plan B after missing out on Sancho, but again it wasn’t to be.

Ismaila Sarr – A player United could technically still sign due to the EFL transfer deadline still being a few days away, Ismaila Sarr has been linked as a target for United by Goal, but they note that a move is now unlikely as it’s too late to register him in their Champions League squad. Slow claps all round.

More Stories Alex Telles Dayot Upamecano Donny van de Beek Edinson Cavani Jack Grealish Jadon Sancho Nathan Ake Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Ousmane Dembele