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Manchester United spending must begin to yield silverware

Manchester United spending must begin to yield silverware

Manchester United have kicked off their summer recruitment plans with official confirmation of a deal for Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.

Following a transfer saga that dated back to last year, the gifted England winger now makes his expected return to home shores for a reported 73-million pounds. He will look to link up with Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial, Edinson Cavani, and Mason Greenwood as United’s credible forward options.

Further summer spending expected to follow United’s historic trends

If you thought Manchester United was done this summer, think again. After finishing second in the Premier League behind rivals Manchester City last season, while also falling at the last hurdle in a Europa League final loss to Villarreal, the Red Devils are within touching distance of netting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his first piece of silverware whilst patrolling the Old Trafford technical area.

Having already been linked with considerable interest in Real Madrid’s Raphaël Varane, the club has also not ruled out bringing in another center-back to improve the depth of quality in the first-team squad, even if Varane does eventually complete a move to the red half of Manchester.

Additionally, the recruitment of a central midfielder before the conclusion of the summer transfer window seems more of a when and not if scenario. With serious interest in Paul Pogba coming by way of Paris Saint-Germain, the departure of the mercurial French international would unquestionably trigger the club to undertake efforts to replace him.

Manchester United has been tipped as holding interest in a trio of central options in Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka, Stade Rennes’ French starlet Eduardo Camavinga, and Wolves maestro Ruben Neves.

Taking all possible business that could be concluded by the end of the window into account, United could easily eclipse the 150-million pound mark, and considering the figures and names that could follow in the wake of Jadon Sancho’s arrival, there are few that could argue with the notion that Solskjaer will simply have to deliver in the 2021-22 season.

Manchester United spend to win; they must now deliver results

When you have money to spend, you should be able to spend it. While football is not a level financial playing field, the realities of the Premier League when it comes to every level of the table are very much akin to an arms race. For Manchester United, a gargantuan global entity with resources that can sustain high levels of spending, it is no surprise that the club do just that.

Over the last three seasons, no club in European football has a higher net spend than the Red Devils’ 295-million Euro (252-million pounds), following the completion of the Jadon Sancho deal. This was added to business done for Harry Maguire (75m), Bruno Fernandes (54m), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (47m), Donny van de Beek (33m), Amad Diallo (18m), Daniel James (15m), Alex Telles (13m), Odion Ighalo (10m loan fee), and Facundo Pellistri (7m). Note: Figures are in pounds and sourced from Transfermarkt

In the same three-year period, United sold player assets for a combined 85m, with the vast majority of this figure coming from the deal that saw Romelu Lukaku head to Inter Milan for 63-million pounds.

Perhaps most impressively, Manchester United sits comfortably ahead of rivals Manchester City in the spending table across the last five years as well, boasting a net spend that is ~90-million more than their city counterparts; 434-million to 348-million.

To be clear, this is not a stick to beat the club with by any measure, at least when it comes to their spending power. A club of the size and financial muscle of United should be doing precisely that, but the reality is that more must be expected on the back of said spending habits.

Last season showed real promise for the club, despite finishing 12-points adrift of City in the league and falling short in a major European final against what some considered to be “lesser” opposition. But the acquisition of Sancho, and potential deals for Varane as well as a central midfielder – despite the possible loss of Paul Pogba – means that the club has to finally come good with tangible results to add to their trophy cabinet.

Should the Red Devils fail once more, then it is hard to see a scenario in which Solskjaer remains in charge as United – at least on paper – would certainly have a first-choice XI and squad more than capable of bringing silverware to Old Trafford for the first time since 2016-17.

This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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Premier League table
# Team MP D P
1 Chelsea FC 5 11 13
2 Liverpool FC 5 11 13
3 Manchester United 5 9 13
4 Brighton & Hove Albion 5 3 12
5 Manchester City 5 10 10
6 Everton FC 5 3 10
7 Tottenham Hotspur 5 -3 9
8 West Ham United 5 4 8
9 Brentford FC 5 3 8
10 Aston Villa 5 1 7
11 Watford FC 5 -2 6
12 Leicester City 5 -3 6
13 Arsenal FC 5 -7 6
14 Crystal Palace 5 -3 5
15 Southampton FC 5 -2 4
16 Wolverhampton Wanderers 5 -3 3
17 Leeds United 5 -7 3
18 Newcastle United 5 -7 2
19 Burnley FC 5 -6 1
20 Norwich City 5 -12 0
Premier League 21/22
Player Team Goals
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 5
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 5
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 5
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 4
Sarr, Ismaila Watford FC 4
Benrahma, Said West Ham United 3
Gray, Demarai Everton FC 3
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 3
Lukaku, Romelu Chelsea FC 3
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 3
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 3
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 3
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 3
Raphinha Leeds United 3
Greenwood, Mason Manchester United 3
Doucoure, Abdoulaye Everton FC 2
Saint-Maximin, Allan Newcastle United 2
Jesus, Gabriel Manchester City 2
Townsend, Andros Everton FC 2
Ings, Danny Aston Villa 2