Unlike previous summers since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, or more notably since the sacking of David Moyes, Manchester United’s transfers appear to be less driven by name or reputation and more so by the fit for the team.
25-year-old midfielder Fred signed on Tuesday, while 19-year-old full-back Diogo Dalot was announced on a five-year deal on Wednesday.
Man United’s FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea was uninspiring and disappointing. They’ve since made changes to both coaching and playing staff, and fans will hope they have a significant impact.
Unknown Dalot is exciting, and a change
Importantly, though, the signing of Dalot represents a change in transfer strategy at the club. While it’s not a complete departure from previous seasons, United have focused for the past three years on buying ready-made players, and usually big names.
Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly both come close to filling the category of player than United need to accompany the big-name signings, but Dalot does so to a larger extent.
Most United fans know nothing about Diogo Dalot, and many are still left trying to figure out the pronunciation of his surname. Da-lo, is what he told MUTV on Wednesday. But that is something that should be celebrated.
For every ready-made superstar Sir Alex Ferguson signings over the years, with Robin van Persie the final one after others like Dimitar Berbatov prior to him, there was always simultaneous signings of players with obvious talent but who needed time and work to reach the top.
Man United need mix of incomings to succeed
And it was those players, more often than not, who would be the finest players in Fergie’s great sides. Nemanja Vidic, Cristiano Ronaldo, Patrice Evra and Ruud van Nistelrooy are perhaps the best examples of players of such ilk.
Not every United signing can be world-class ready-made players, and nor should they be, from a financial or long-term perspective. Dalot is exactly the kind of player United need to accompany players like Alexis Sanchez, signed in a swap-deal in January. United’s incoming should always, and generally have always, been balanced between the academy graduates, ready-made stars and signings to be developed.
Even Real Madrid, famed for their Galacticos approach, bring in the relative unknowns, or at least the yet-to-be-stars. Sergio Ramos, Marco Asensio, Casemiro etc.
Fred, meanwhile, is hardly an unknown quantity in any sense, but he is not a ‘name’ like Pogba, Lukaku or Sanchez, or even Falcao or di Maria. And that’s quite refreshing for United fans.
Refreshing coaching additions
Meanwhile, what they’ll also hope is refreshing is three new coaches on manager Jose Mourinho’s staff after the departure of assistant Rui Faria. For anyone who believes Mourinho is stuck in his ways and a man of the past, though even his record at United dispels that, he’ll now be subject to daily interactions with three new influencers.
Of course, that could mean nothing, but Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna, both joining from other roles at the club, are two attack-focused figures with great interest in the academy. Stefano Rapetti, joining from Sampdoria, is more of an unknown. Mourinho could ignore them, but similarly, they could breathe fresh life into the coaching staff before it stagnates.