Manchester United are making the same mistakes in the transfer window

The desecration of Manchester United has been so violent that the sole shred of good news their supporters have had this week is the club will not be signing Marko Arnautovic.

Erik ten Hag bristled at questions about Cristiano Ronaldo at Carrington on Friday so much so he literally pointed out an issue with the coverage. This Friday, Ten Hag should expect a grilling.

United, holding out for the “right players” according to Ten Hag last week, bid for the 33-year-old former Shanghai Port forward Arnautovic this week.

There was movement with Arnautovic before Ten Hag reiterated United needed the “right players”, something he first said in Perth almost three weeks ago. Sources confirmed United’s bid for Arnautovic was on Ten Hag’s recommendation.

At least Adrien Rabiot has no connection with Dutch football, has played at an elite level and is a France international. He also has a battle-axe of a mother and was the enfant terrible of Paris Saint-Germain before he ran down his contract there three years ago.

John Murtough, at Carrington on Friday, is leading negotiations with Veronique Rabiot, whose English is limited. Her other son is involved in negotiations to act as translator.

Veronique has confronted Laurent Blanc in a car park and the Pogba family in the past. She is a woman who maybe requires no translation.

United are also considering a bid for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic of Lazio, a player they deemed “too expensive” in 2018. Like Rabiot, Milinkovic-Savic is 27-years-old and Lazio have been seeking a buyer for some time. Fortunately for them, United are as in need of reinforcements as they were on deadline day in 2013.

At least someone at United has ended the insular strategy of targeting only those with Eredivisie experience. City’s one signing from that league during the 14-year Abu Dhabi ownership was PSV Eindhoven left-back Angelino, a product of City’s academy whose buy-back clause they exercised.

manchester united are making the same mistakes in the transfer window

Angelino came back to haunt United with Leipzig when they knocked them out of the Champions League

Angelino started in City’s worst defeats of the 2019-20 season to Liverpool and United – the only campaign in the last five when they failed to win the title – and he was sold to RB Leipzig in the January. City’s hands were burned but they quickly washed them of Angelino.

The agent Elvis Basanovic met Murtough three weeks ago, boarded a private jet the next week and this week has transferred Benjamin Sesko from Red Bull Salzburg to RB Leipzig, a career path many took before him. Elvis has left United all shook up.

Sesko said: “The club’s philosophy and playing style is a perfect fit for me. The city and infrastructure at RB Leipzig, as well as the many good discussions with the club, convinced me that this move is absolutely the right decision.”

The only one-upmanship United arguably have on Leipzig is Manchester city centre. The ‘philosophy’ and infrastructure appear at times non-existent, the playing style yet to be defined and moving there is seldom the right decision for a player.

What is tragicomic about United’s interest in Sesko is all they needed to do was log into Instagram. Basanovic was whipping up a market through frenzied posts and attracting United’s interest smoked out another club more beneficial for Sesko’s career path. Job done.

United got used like that in the early years of Ed Woodward’s stewardship and now it is happening on Richard Arnold’s watch. He talked a good game in those pub talk clips but actions speak louder than words and United are in danger of acting amateurishly once more.

Whether it is pursuing a Barcelona midfielder in inauspicious circumstances, agents taking them for a ride, the inability to recruit priority targets or the Supermarket Sweep dash, it is all very familiar.

Dozens of supporters emailed Arnold threatening to cancel their season ticket and sporting and integrity grounds if the club bought Arnautovic, citing an allegation of racial abuse against the Austrian.

Supporters separate to the group who organised Saturday’s tame protest at Old Trafford are discussing an alternative protest around the Liverpool home game on August 22. Arnold headed off a few fans in bucolic Cheshire but would be powerless against thousands walking down the Warwick Road.

Figures at United legislated the interest in Sesko due to their failure to unearth callow strikers on the market. Two years ago, United invested £46million in forwards Amad and Facundo Pellistri on deadline day. Amad has started twice in the Premier League and Pellistri is still yet to make his competitive debut.

There has been a more conscious effort to increase recruitment at teenage level in the last two years, although certain moves were triggered by Brexit and the obstacles to signing overseas players aged between 18 and 20. Hence why Alejandro Garnacho, Alvaro Fernandez and Marc Jurado arrived from Spain in the summer of 2020.

United moved for Moises Caicedo in January 2021, balked at the agent interference and he has bossed their midfield in Brighton’s most famous wins over United three months apart.

Starting McTominay and Fred warrants a grilling.

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