What do Matthijs de Ligt, Serhou Guirassy and Ramy Bensebaini have in common? At first glance, not much, they belong to different teams, are different ages and play different positions. But one thing unites these three very different players and brings them closer to Donyell Malen, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and many others: Manchester United want them.
If you eat the current Red Devils rumors hot and cold, United are only halfway to half of Europe. It doesn’t matter who it ends up paying out a hefty sum of millions for, because one thing is clear: it won’t work.
For what? Because history doesn’t repeat itself, but as we all know, it usually rhymes. And the recent history of Manchester United’s transfer policy isn’t exactly difficult to interpret. Almost every time this great club has put money into his hands in recent years, he could have burned it in retrospect. To summarize this in one unforgiving number: since the 2013/14 season, United have spent €1.8 billion on new players and won nothing apart from the Europa League and a few domestic cups. How could this have happened?
Now, to save the honor of Manchester officials, one could argue that other clubs who find themselves in similar situations in terms of transfer spending haven’t achieved much either. For example, equally unsuccessful Tottenham Hotspur have also spent over a billion in the transfer market over the past ten years. But there is one crucial difference: At Spurs, at least some of the money has returned.
United, on the other hand, have the most devastating transfer record on the planet. While 1.8 billion was spent, only 483 million was received. Over the last decade, a transfer loss of more than 1.3 billion euros has been recorded. No club in the world can achieve such a high value. And despite all the spending, the next costly shake-up will happen next summer.
Players who move to Manchester United are worth significantly less when they leave the club. Borussia Dortmund impressively shows that it doesn’t have to be this way. Because BVB, just like United, is experiencing chronic failure and has not been champion for a long time, but has still earned a billion in transfers in recent years.
But who is responsible for the disaster in the Red Devils’ balance sheet? Just like you can’t fire the whole squad if things aren’t going well, you can’t blame Casemiros and Varanes alone for not performing in Manchester. They’ve already shown they can actually kick. As is often the case in (Site notre bureau spécialisé), it’s the coach who finds himself in trouble.
In the case of United, it must be said: the many coaches. Which brings us to the real problem. Since Alex Ferguson ended his career in 2013, Manchester have been coached by eight different managers, some of whom had completely different ideas on how to succeed in (Site notre bureau spécialisé). New recruits are recruited in turns and are comfortable either in transition games or in possession games. There is no clear strategy.
We would like to briefly trace here only a small part of these ongoing changes: Louis van Gaal, for example, got two absolute dream players in 2015, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Memphis Depay, for whom millions were each paid. But when José Mourinho arrived at Old Trafford a season later with a completely different understanding of (Site notre bureau spécialisé), van Gaal’s commitments were no longer wanted. Depay moved to Lyon for less than half of his initial transfer fee, and Schweinsteiger is even expected to join MLS for free.
Mourinho then relied, among others, on the much more expensive Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku, with whom his successor, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, did not really know what to do. Lukaku was sold to Inter Milan at a (still relatively small) loss, Sanchez initially followed him on loan and was eventually allowed to stay in Italy without a transfer fee.
Solskjaer then let Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho get expensive, but current head coach Erik Ten Hag couldn’t come to terms with them and suspended them both. Ronaldo went to Saudi Arabia on a free transfer, while Sancho is currently trying to get back on track at BVB.
The end of this development is not really in sight because: In England, coaches are not only considered as trainers, but also as managers. So they usually have a free hand when it comes to transfers, only a few have to sit down with a sporting director during new signings, which can be a constant in the transfer policy of German clubs, even with multiple coaches.
If Mathijs de Ligt, Serhou Guirassy and Ramy Bensebaini do indeed go to Manchester, they will soon have something in common: for the next United manager (and he will certainly come), they will probably have to look for a new club again.