The winter transfer window has ended in a relatively uneventful manner for Man Utd as the side strives to compete for the Premier League title. Despite being in the hot seat and the top spot for much of the period, the Red Devils chose not to make any new investments.
In fact, the bulk of the transfer activity for the window involved loan departures in what could become some vital pieces of business given the larger picture. It is of some merit to go over each player that was purchased, released, and loaned out by the Red Devils.
In terms of arrivals, United only had one name to relish and that too was an aftermath of the summer transfers. In Amad Diallo’s acquisition from Atalanta, Ole Gunnar Solskjær has captured an important trump card.
The 18-year-old is by no means an immediate solution to the side’s absence of an authentic right-forward. However, that specific personnel hole has not plagued them too heavily so far this season. As such, United will instead expect the Ivorian, who has already been performing well in the youth ranks, to show sporadic bouts of brilliance in the senior team.
It is with regard to exits that the side has made some intriguing choices with a mixture of releases and fresh loan moves painting the trend this time around.
The Argentine’s future at Manchester United has been a foregone conclusion for a while now. As such, it came as no surprise that the side has sanctioned the defender’s transfer to Boca Juniors. The 27-year-old has had his heyday at Old Trafford and will now be better off with his future closer to his hometown. Moreover, the club will be happy to not have his sizable wage bill on their hands anymore.
The only complete sale that Manchester United sanctioned in this window and one that did catch a few by surprise. The 23-year-old was courted well by Bayer Leverkusen, who are attempting to engineer a top run in the Bundesliga on their own. It will certainly be interesting to see if the Red Devils come to look back at this exit in a rueful manner down the years. For the time being, however, the transfer fee in the region of £1.5 million is certainly some spare change for the club.
A deal that has been on the cards for a while now. The fact that Jesse Lingard was kept in the senior squad for this long has truly surprised pundits across the spectrum, given just how inconsistent he was at times. However, the loan move to West Ham United could permit him to try and regain some of that promise and glitter he had possessed in the past. Further, given how the Hammers have had a splendid season so far, the Englishman could just post a surprise or two.
The bigger question is whether this truly is the curtain-fall on Lingard’s long stint at Old Trafford.
In light of the several fresh loan moves sanctioned, the club also saw the culmination of a dream. Ighalo had a splendid time at the club of his wishes even if his on-pitch impact was sparse. The arrival of Edinson Cavani all but siphoned away the Nigerian’s hope for impact, which was quite strong in the initial post-lockdown months.
Nevertheless, he has moved on quickly and has already signed for Saudi Arabian club Al-Shabab.
Back from his loan spell with Werder Bremen, where the pacey Dutchman showed great promise, United did not waste much time in sending Chong to another part of Europe. The remainder of the season will see the 21-year-old winger ply his trade for Belgian table-toppers Club Brugge KV. This spells well for the starlet’s development, even if his immediate English future remains at large.
The loan departure that will certainly disappoint a few fans. While it is understandable that the 19-year-old will be better off garnering senior game time in the La Liga with Alaves, it does sting to not see him make a proper senior impact since his summer arrival. Regardless, the experience of trying to avoid relegation is bound to be a decent one for the teenager prior to trying his hand at taming the English game.
The 19-year-old’s tryst with Watford, where he was on loan, came to an end as a result of this window. Instead, the midfielder was loaned out quickly, joining Nottingham Forest in the Championship. The on and off loan trysts of his nature do indicate a far from stable youth system but nonetheless, the promising teenager could see some development just yet.
Another 19-year-old to be loaned out, Laird went a peg lower and joined MK Dons in their League 2 journey. The right-bag has been touted for much promise when in the youth ranks of United and as such this was another move that fans will view with bated breath given the potential the flanks may hold for his calibre.
All in all, fans will be hoping that the side’s more conservative view of spending in this window does not come to haunt them in a potential title stalemate towards the end of the season. The squad as it stands is clearly holistic in its potential, but there is no denying that Solskjær and company do come to rely a little too much on too few of their star players.