Since sacking David Moyes and finishing seventh in the Premier League last season, there has been a huge overhaul at Old Trafford, with plenty of ins and outs to try and get Manchester United back where they belong.
Louis van Gaal has come in and spent over £150 million, including £59 million on Angel Di Maria, in order to achieve what’s expected.
Since then United have managed to regain a place in the top four however they need to continue to improve the squad if they want to deliver a title and seriously compete if/when they return to the Champions League.
Rejected, Rejected, Rejected
Van Gaal has reportedly been active in this transfer window, with the obvious target being a new centre-back.
United are said to have submitted bids to clubs all over Europe already. Firstly they offered £27 million for defender Nicolas Otamendi. The club had the bid turned down and Valencia are believed to have asked for £35 million instead.
Another player is Paulo Dybala. The 21-year-old is currently at Serie A side Palermo. He is being compared to Sergio Aguero and has scored 10 goals in Palermo’s first season back in Serie A.
Palermo have claimed United have showed an interest but told them that he is worth at least £31 million. They are also planning on opening talks to extend the Argentine's contract, despite admitting they’ll be open to offers in the summer. Therefore his price will rise.
Finally PSG’s Marquinhos is attracting strong interest from Old Trafford. The 20-year-old Brazilian is one of Europe's best young centre backs and he’s been identified as a long term replacement to the already departed Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
United’s bid for him has been rocked after PSG quoted them a staggering £112 million. A talented player who is very highly thought of by his club, but it’s fair to say he isn’t worth near that figure.
So why are clubs asking for such ridiculous figures and why are all United’s bids being rejected? There are quite a few reasons as to why this is.
playing by the rules
Financial Fair Play rules have come into play recently. FFP affects how much a club can spend, and whether a club is in debt or not is irrelevant. It’s down to how much you earn.
United already have lucrative sponsorship deals with Chevrolet and Aon. They also earn the most in England in terms of their ticket sales. This is due to the fact that Old Trafford is the biggest stadium in the Premier League and it is sold out for every league game.
TV money is also improving every season. As United are on TV almost every week they obviously profit very well from TV money. So under FFP, United are the best equipped in the Premier League and yes, the fact is they are realistically the only club who could possibly afford Lionel Messi.
Finally, there is the small matter of the impending £750 million deal with Adidas; the most lucrative in football history. It’s safe to say there is absolutely no shortage of cash at Old Trafford.
The only thing that may halt the cash flow is if United fail to qualify for the Champions League again. Considering they currently sit in a Champions League place, it’s hard to believe that an experienced coach like Van Gaal, would let it slip.
All the clubs above know this. They know they can get more money out of United because they have it. What they also know is that their player isn’t the only one they are after. Another overhaul is expected either now or in the summer. Clubs want to put a stop to what’s being called the “Gaalacticos”.
It’s going to be interesting to see who United can land but there surely has to be a huge list of targets as they know they may not get their man.