Why Manchester United have not signed anyone in the transfer window yet

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With 10 days remaining in June, Manchester United have not yet bought or sold anyone. Liverpool, the benchmark for market maneuvers, have already concluded their business for incomings and are about to shift their sole significant outgoing in Sadio Mane.

United are not the only top-six Premier League club yet to strengthen their squad but after a “f —– g nightmare” of a season, in the words of chief executive Richard Arnold, their squad rebuild is not so much operating at a glacial pace as the glacier has not started to drift.

With no Champions League football to offer and no trophy since 2017, the club’s pull in the market is low and they are restricted to more specific profiles to target.

Also read: Ten Hag targeting five signings in the transfer window

In an impromptu conversation with supporters at a Cheshire pub on Saturday, Arnold stressed the football director John Murtough and his team are working “round the clock” preparing the groundwork for deals.

United sources say the club entered the summer transfer window with a clear plan they are not deviating from. There is an understandable desire to complete deals as soon as possible, particularly as United leave for their pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia two weeks on Friday.

United are unfavorably compared to Liverpool and Manchester City, their attacks already reinforced by players who were of interest to United. Liverpool acted with alacrity to sign Darwin Nunez as they were certain to get a fee for Mane from Bayern Munich and had to replace him. Although there was mutual agreement across the United board Erling Haaland would be ideal, they were resigned to him signing for either City or Real Madrid.

Despite standout signings made by their biggest rivals, United have pointed out they are less than two weeks into a 12-week window. The elongated June internationals have little bearing on a prospective signing’s start date as internationals are permitted three weeks’ holiday.

Club sources insist they will not be panicked by the incessant noise surrounding United’s apparent inactivity. United believe they had signed Frenkie de Jong in the first week of the window they would have yielded to Barcelona too willingly and reduced their capacity to strengthen other areas of the squad.

United have been accused of overpaying in the past and people at the club feel it is unfair for them to now cop criticism for negotiating hard for fair deals.

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In his chat that was surreptitiously recorded, Arnold admitted United had “burned through cash” with their atrocious hit-rate in the transfer market. The new United hierarchy are determined to spend more effectively.

The departures of the executive vice-chairman (who insisted he had nothing to do with recruitment and then attempted to claim the glory for Cristiano Ronaldo’s re-signing), the director of football negotiations, the head of global scouting, the chief scout and the interim-manager-cum-consultant within four months have also contributed to a June drought. United have not gone an entire June without a signing since 2010.

Barcelona will not accept a loss on the 25-year-old Netherlands international De Jong, signed for £ 65million three years ago and under contract until 2026. Mindful of United’s desperation to reinforce their midfield and Erik ten Hag’s plan to make De Jong the fulcrum of the team, as well as Barca’s need to ease their financial burden, they are holding out for an inflated fee United are reluctant to match.

United favored a one-at-a-time strategy in previous windows and may struggle to execute deals concurrently this summer. They are effectively starting from scratch, going off Ten Hag’s shortlist and disregarding most of the recommendations from the scouting department, in the process of being revamped again.

Ten Hag was first interviewed by United on March 21 and his appointment was not confirmed until April 21. United achieved their aim of hiring their new permanent manager before the end of last season but Ten Hag has entered an unstable structure.

Under previous leadership, United finalized their shortlist of summer targets in January. Due to the managerial change and exodus of senior staff members, that has effectively been scrapped as Murtough works off Ten Hag’s wish list, supported by the legal and finance departments.

The club’s non-internationals are scheduled to report for pre-season training at Carrington on Monday. Several have outstayed their welcomes yet will be reluctantly welcomed back. Most of United’s dead wood are on long contracts and high wages, insurmountable stumbling blocks to early departures.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams have been informed they are free to find a new club. Dean Henderson’s exit has been delayed until United have guaranteed back-up in place, the stocks of Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are so low interested clubs are not in a rush to test the waters as competition is not intense.

Anthony Martial flopped at Sevilla and has had two dismal seasons, so is not as in-demand as he was in 2018 when he wanted out and his re-sale value was far higher.

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