Manchester United is focusing on bringing in at least three new players before the transfer deadline to bring an end to a season that is already in trouble.
However, unloading existing players has become just as difficult for United as convincing new faces to join Erik ten Hag’s dreadful squad, which presently lies bottom of the Premier League. United aim to get rid of at least six players before the deadline in a fortnight’s time: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, James Garner, and Brandon Williams.
However, there have been no buyers for United’s cast-offs thus far, with many on such high wages or simply not deemed good enough for rival clubs to take them on.
Although United sold Andreas Pereira to Fulham for £8.5 million and loaned Alex Telles to Sevilla for the season, moving additional players to raise finances is proving difficult. Bailly, who didn’t even make the nine-man bench for Hag’s first two United games, has been told he may leave, but no team has made a solid bid for the 28-year-old defender so far.
West Ham, Marseille, and Monaco have all expressed interest in the Ivory Coast international, but with two years remaining on a £100,000-per-week contract, Bailly’s wages are becoming a stumbling block. Those clubs interested in Bailly want to loan him out, with United continuing to pay a large portion of his salary. It’s a similar story with the majority of the guys United wants to get rid of.
United, on the other hand, wants a permanent sale to generate funds to reinvest in the players. Hag needs to bolster his team after losing to Brighton and Brentford in his first two games in charge. Bailly’s plight exemplifies United’s lack of effective leadership, which has resulted in the club awarding costly, long-term contracts to players who have scarcely played in recent seasons.
In the case of Bailly, he signed a contract deal in April 2021 that will keep him at United until 2023, with a one-year extension option. However, after signing his new contract, Bailly has made just eight Premier League appearances and has not played competitively for United since December of last year.
It’s a familiar narrative for Jones, who signed a new contract extension until 2023 in February 2019, with an option for another year, but has only made 21 appearances since. Wan-Bissaka, who was signed from Crystal Palace for £50 million in 2019 by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has been ordered by ten Hag to find a new club.
While United struggles to get players to come to Old Trafford, getting them out the door is proving just as difficult, symptomatic of a club in decline with no defined direction.