Faced with a tight budget, Manchester United need to act fast to have any hope of signing their top targets this transfer window.
Having already spent £60 million on Mason Mount, the Red Devils face the task of stretching their already limited transfer budget in an attempt to bag both Inter Milan goalkeeper Andre Onana and a capable striker before the new season gets underway.
It is an uphill battle and United can only achieve this feat if they improve in an area where they have lagged behind their Premier League rivals for years – sales.
To date, United are the only club in the traditional “big six” that have not raked in £100 million on more in a single transfer window.
But while the problem is clear, the most pressing question remains – how do the Red Devils put an end to their poor sales performance?
A good place to begin the investigation would be to assess the actions of those clubs that have excelled in sales and understand what they do differently.
Having earned £1.16 billion in transfer fees since 2013-14, Chelsea are a prime example of a club that knows how to effectively raise funds.
In fact, the Blues have already generated £193 million in transfer revenues this summer alone, parting ways with Kalidou Koulibaly, Mateo Kovacic, Edouard Mendy, Kai Havertz and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in addition to Mount.
By offloading players that the club viewed as non-essential, Chelsea managed to raise the funds needed to acquire attackers Christopher Nkunku and Nicolas Jackson.
Although the Blues are notorious for blowing large sums on players who fail to make an impact at Stamford Bridge such as Romelu Lukaku, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Koulibaly, they are quick to read the writing on the wall, disposing of these assets in preparation for what they hope to be more effective purchases.
Manchester City have also attained success in the sales department, following a similar business model to that of Chelsea.
Last summer, City offloaded a host of players including Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko, resulting in a sales revenue of €162.17 million.
This income helped City to bring in the likes of Manuel Akanji, Julian Alvarez, and most importantly, Erling Haaland, who led them to the treble and scored a record-breaking 36 Premier League goals last season.
By taking note of Chelsea’s and City’s sales attitudes, it’s possible to identify two areas where United need to desperately improve.
Firstly, the Red Devils must improve at identifying ineffective players and ensure that they no longer provide them with unlimited chances to turn around their careers at Old Trafford.
Eric Bailly is one such player. While an undoubtedly talented defender, the injury-plagued Bailly has never fulfilled his potential in a United shirt.
As The Peoples Person reported, the Red Devils seem to have finally acknowledged the fact that Bailly’s time at Old Trafford must come to an end, however, this realization has come far too late.
The player’s market value has tanked over the years, with the Red Devils reportedly willing to accept just £2 million or a player they lured to the club for £30 million.
United face the same issue with Harry Maguire.
Having paid a mammoth £80 million plus add-ons to lure Maguire away from Leicester City back in 2019, United are now looking to offload the out-of-favour club captain.
Not only will Maguire not manage to fetch a transfer fee worth the amount that was spent to bring him in, but the player’s wage rise may reportedly make it more difficult to sell him this summer.
The second issue that United need to address is their timing when it comes to getting deals done.
Until the end of his United contract, Pogba remained a high-value, first-team player – the problem was that United remained inactive, and rather than attempting to cut their losses and sell a dissatisfied Pogba before his contract ran out, they simply allowed him to leave as a free agent.
Should the Red Devils have any hope of signing their priority transfers and cutting unnecessary expenses, they must become more merciless when it comes to offloading players without a future at the club the moment that the writing is on the wall.