Video: Sancho, Woodward and the Glazers - how Manchester United's transfer window might end

Our chief Man United correspondent Samuel Luckhurst answered supporters' questions in a wide-ranging live webchat - here's what happ...

Our chief Man United correspondent Samuel Luckhurst answered supporters' questions in a wide-ranging live webchat - here's what happened

Q: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United, the three richest and most valuable clubs in the world over the past decade - none of them are spending, so why all the criticism on Manchester United? Should this not maybe be a warning to the entire world of football that financial things aren’t so black and white at the moment?

Samuel Luckhurst: It is a fair and valid question, and one that might get mentioned in Ed Woodward's investors' call later this month (due to be the week after next). Ultimately, the big two in Spain do not receive as much income from TV money and they have also embarked on significant splurges in recent years. Barca signed three players for nine-figure fees and Madrid spent well over £200m last year. Barcelona are a basketcase of a club with the biggest wage bill in football and need to offload some of their luxuries. Madrid, like every club, have been hit by the pandemic and are prepared to wait a year. Next year, Mbappe and Pogba will have a year left on their contracts, so it is logical to move then rather than this summer.

United are unfairly judged through the prism of Chelsea's unprecedented spending. United were never going to spend over £200m. But, at the time of writing, their spending is their lowest since the summer they spent €9m on Bebe (with €3m of that going to Jorge Mendes). Their intention is to make three signings every summer and they haven't done that (yet). There is still time - and there is money there - but they have gone about it the wrong way (again).

Q: Any chance of a new Director of Football to take over player acquisition?

SL: I'm confident I'll live to see the day United appoint a DoF but I think those of us who cover the club can be forgiven for feeling fobbed off. United communicated in March 2019 they were close to filling the role and here we are, 19 months later, and there is still no DoF. United have still talked about the role and stressed it would not just be about doing transfers.

The feeling is Woodward doesn't want to relinquish too much control because he likes doing what he does, even though the word last year was he has nothing to do with recruitment (I no longer believe that), He was pleased about a piece on the MEN that suggested he was United's de facto DoF and there are perks that come with that image. The reality is he's not competent at executing transfers and United need someone else.

Q: Why have United left it so late in the transfer window again to put in a bid for Sancho? Are United going to go back in with a second bid?

SL: They don't want to meet Dortmund's €120m valuation so, by delaying making an offer until the last week, are trying to panic Dortmund - who have suffered their own significant losses because of the pandemic - into folding and accepting a bid. But Dortmund aren't budging and, from what I've been told by those who have worked with them, are principled enough that when they say 'no' they mean it.

Q: It seems like Ed Woodward and Matt Judge are immune from criticism within the club and it seems very unlikely the Glazers will make a change. Why are the Glazers so content with this constant failure?

SL: Because Woodward makes money for them. The Glazers have not contributed a single cent to United. They siphon off the club to make as much money as possible and nobody at United can credibly claim they actually care about how the club is performing. They only care about how much money they are making. So they might be unhappy about the lack of outgoings.

Q: Do you think United are content with CL money and have no ambitions to progress further? Very much like Arsenal of the past. Also the sponsorship deals allow the club to miss the CL one season without it being detrimental to their revenue stream. The cynic in me thinks they will only care to invest next season after me miss out on CL next season so they revenue stream isn't hurt.

SL: You've hit the nail on the head. They have become Wenger's Arsenal, post-2005. That's extremely disheartening for supporters but the club is in a sorry state and many fans feared this when the takeover happened in 2005. Just recall how modern Old Trafford used to be and how unimpressive it is now. The stadium, the squad, the academy: all of them have been neglected at various stages.

Q: Is there any hope within Old Trafford that there would be Sancho bid be made? Or is it Sarr or Dembele? Also Telles off the table?

SL: If United want Telles badly enough they can sign him. Quite why they're going for a player who was pitched to them by my colleague is anyone's guess, though. It does not make much sense to dedicate time to pursuing a left-back in Portugal who is out of contract next year. On the right wing, United have said it's their priority. If they don't sign one then Woodward should walk.

Q: If we knew that BVB won't negotiate why did we wait for so long? We could have signed alternatives in August itself. Why drag it to October?

SL: This is why United are likely to look daft on Monday. If they don't sign Sancho, questions will be asked as to why they spent the whole of the window trying when, in early August, Dortmund were adamant he was going nowhere. They should have taken a leaf out of Bayern's book and how they reacted to not signing Sane last year. Then again, Bayern is a football club run by football people.

Watch The Video Below 

Watch Video 

MANCHESTER UNITED WRITERS DISCUSS THE POTENTIAL SIGNING OF ALEX TELLES

Q: What do you expect to happen in the next few days?

SL: Best case scenario is United make two signings. I really would not be surprised if they don't make any, though.

Q: I don’t understand the philosophy of haggling over 8 million for Telles when you receive 15 mil for Champions League qualification. Why risk not qualifying?

SL: The less United spend whilst qualifying for the Champions League, the better it is for the Glazers. United have an excellent midfield, the best Spanish and English 'keepers, an exciting front three, a talisman in Fernandes and had the third-best defence in the league last season. That'll be their spin on the lack of incomings. It's rather undermined the Sancho pursuit and other approaches.

Q: Do you think if United don't make the signings Ole wanted, Woodward would walk out? I'm just not wanting a similar situation as to when Jose was in charge, wanted players but not backed by the board then made to walk at Christmas, I hope Ole can improve on what he's started.

SL: No. Woodward could do without the hassle of running United: he's into his eighth year as exec vice-chairman, had the trauma of the attack on his house and is villified on social media daily. He's made his millions and could make millions more in another role. But he'll forever be known as the footballing equivalent of the captain of the Titanic: the man who sunk United. He wants to change that

Q: Sancho or fully fit Dembele?

SL: Sancho. Dembele, even when fully fit, is spineless (remember his cameo against Liverpool in 2019).

Q: I believe it's the one and only chance to get Sancho this summer. Dortmund won't sell him in January and certainly next summer. United will again hide behind COVID as fans aren't allowed in UK and also others clubs will be in for him. What do you think of this?

SL: I still think they could get him next summer. The trouble is they might not be in the Champions League and might have a new manager, and it's then down to him on whether they go for Sancho.

Q: How much worse do United's results and performances need to get before Ole inevitably gets the chop?

SL: It's not just results-based. The mood around the club would be factored into it and that's Solskjaer's get-out. He's not confrontational and is popular with the players, who felt they were treading on eggshells around Mourinho. That said, if United are in an identical situation to when they were when Mourinho was sacked in 2018 then it's an easy decision. And Pochettino is still available.

Q: The transfer business of Wolves and Leeds shames the business of United. Do the Glazers ignore the bad press? I can't see how they cannot hear the discontent, how they can be proud of the performances. How long before the sponsors dry up, why will the sponsors want to give money to be on the shirts of a team with no ambition of being champions?

SL: The Glazers just ignore the press. And the supporters. They don't communicate with either.

Q: I feel Ole is the one that will be made the scapegoat in the end. We won’t sign anyone and by Christmas once our squad needs to be used and rotated the players coming in won’t be good enough as we all know, and the fans will turn on Ole instead of pointing the blame at the Glazers and Woodward.

SL: Solskjaer is a problem but not the problem. He's done a reasonable job and the trajectory, up until now, has been reasonably positive. He definitely has merits as a United manager, though I still don't see him as a potential title-winning United manager. I'd be happily proven wrong. Maybe he could be the DoF.

Q: Do you think that the press puts enough pressure on Woodward and co? Or they are also immune to it? And what about the supporters' trust? We never see them come out with statements on how the club is run?

SL: Probing questions were asked today and have been previously. I think some on Twitter are jealous of our privileges and their default setting is to blame us for supposedly not asking testing questions or being stooges or puppets. One clown had a go at a colleague whilst driving that pointless 'unfollow' movement and his avatar was of him playing at Old Trafford on a sponsors' pitch day!

Q: Why did Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo receive new contracts?

SL: Woodward touched upon this in his UWS interview without actually answering it. The answer is most likely that because the deal-makers have little or no football knowledge they just cocked it up again.

Q: Surely at this point it would be easier to bring back Memphis than try someone else. or for that matter why not Zaha who is playing well in the Premier League and we'd get a cut of any payment made to palace? if finance is the driving factor.

SL: We were talking about this around the Palace game. They missed a trick not inserting a buy-back clause in the Zaha deal. They also have a buy-back clause on Januzaj, as well as Memphis. They could do with one of them now.

COMMENTS

BLOGGER: 1
  1. He has to start believing on his players, those on the bench too.

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