Manchester United can make statement signing without entering transfer market – Liam Corless
Manchester United have already made one big blunder this year that might ultimately end up costing them tens of millions of pounds to rectify.
The departure of Ander Herrera is not as big a blow to United’s on-field prospects as some might have you believe but the fact that he was allowed to exit on a free after his contract expired is criminal.
United were confident Herrera would stay as recently as March but Paris Saint-Germain had already touched base by then and the Basque’s head was turned.
Ed Woodward dragged his heels and United were ultimately made to pay.
A midfield replacement of Herrera’s quality, unless Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes there is a ready-made one in the academy, will cost United north of £30million.
That is money that could have been spent elsewhere had Herrera been tied down to a long-term contract before he entered the final year of his deal.
You would think, then, that Woodward would have learnt his lesson and moved to secure United’s valuable assets to prevent a repeat of the Herrera saga next summer.
As of yet, he hasn’t, and on July 1 David de Gea and Eric Bailly will enter the final year of their contracts.
Bailly has not exactly justified a new deal with his performances over the previous two seasons but the Ivorian is young and talented, thus remains an attractive proposition to potential suitors. Arsenal and Real Madrid have both been mooted as potential destinations for the 25-year-old.
His future is an issue United need to resolve but the priority for Woodward should be to convince De Gea to sign a new contract.
United’s No.1 has just endured his worst season since his debut campaign in 2011-12 but he remains a world-class goalkeeper and one of only two elite players in Solskjaer‘s squad.
Paris Saint-Germain have been sniffing around as they look for a long-term replacement for Gianlugi Buffon but it would not reflect well on United for them to lose another player to the Ligue 1 champions.
The size of the rebuild on the manager’s hands is already sizeable enough without the added task of finding an adequate replacement for De Gea being thrown into the mix.
United are willing to make De Gea the highest-paid goalkeeper in the world on £300,000 a week but he wants to be the club’s top earner and with justification.
No other player in this squad has rescued United as often over the previous six seasons as De Gea has, and what a statement it would be for United to commit the Spaniard to a new deal despite their lack of Champions League football next season.