Manchester United was one of the busier clubs in the January transfer window, with Erik ten Hag bringing in three new players. The Red Devils’ business is made all the more amazing by the fact that the club has worked on a shoestring budget, with loan arrangements being the best way to make the most of their money. Express Sport examines the club’s transfer activity as we appraise the newcomers.
United was able to add three new faces to Old Trafford, with each player filling a clear need within the club.
Ten Hag needed a new backup goalkeeper after Newcastle recalled Martin Dubravka, so Jack Butland was the first to arrive. It’s difficult to put too much stock in the position of the backup keeper because they’re used so infrequently, but the Englishman is a sturdy presence who is unlikely to let anyone down when he does pick up the gloves.
From here, United’s business becomes more intriguing, with crucial players signed to play key roles for the rest of the season. Wout Weghorst was the second player to arrive as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo on a short-term basis.
The Dutchman’s arrival aroused eyebrows due to his disastrous six-month time at Burnley last season, but it is a signing that makes more sense when examined closely. Despite his 6’6″ size, Weghorst is remarkably good at pressing and fits Ten Hag’s style of play.
He is also a very low risk because he is not under contract past the conclusion of the season when the club can pursue a high-profile long-term alternative. Furthermore, he will most likely spend the majority of his time at the club as a backup, with Anthony Martial ahead of him in the pecking order when completely fit.
Weghorst has already begun to repay Ten Hag’s faith in him, netting his first goal for the club in the League Cup semi-final victory over Nottingham Forest, and he will look to add to his total in the coming games.
United’s incomings were anticipated to be complete following the acquisition of the Dutchman, but Christian Eriksen’s ankle injury forced the club back into the market. The Dane will be away for at least the next three months, necessitating a last-minute need for reinforcements.
Marcel Sabitzer was ultimately chosen by the club. The Austrian was confirmed in the final hours of deadline day after joining on loan from Bayern Munich for the remainder of the season. It remains to be seen how influential he will be, but he fits a position that the club sorely needs to strengthen given their injury woes, and he is a big name to have arrived on deadline day.
The Red Devils, on the other hand, have been unable to clean off some of their deadwood this month. Brandon Williams and Phil Jones will stay at the club, but Axel Tuanzebe has left for Stoke. It is undoubtedly one area where United could have improved during the current transfer window.
Overall, United’s transfer window was a success, with Ten Hag making the most of restricted cash to acquire useful additions to his squad.