Manchester United’s transfer targets show that club is living in the past


If Manchester United think they can purchase Romelu Lukaku and Sadio Mane they need a reality check

There was a time when Manchester United could buy any player they wanted in the Premier League. The club must learn that those days are gone. If rumors of their interest in Romelu Lukaku and Sadio Mane are true, the club is desperately out of touch with the reality of today’s Premier League.

There isn’t a team in the Premier League that wouldn’t love to purchase Lukaku and Mane in the January transfer window. Lukaku has been an absolute force up top for Everton and Mane has been one of the League’s most dangerous midfield attackers. It’s entirely logical for Manchester United to want to acquire both of these fine players. What’s not logical is for United’s decision makers to believe they have an actual chance to do so.

This isn’t the Premier League of the 199os where United could snap their fingers, pull out their check book and buy virtually any Premier League player their hearts desired. In today’s Premier League, each team actually has a chance to hold on to their biggest talents. Clubs like Everton and Southampton aren’t helpless to fight interest from United anymore. They can and will fight to keep hold of their brightest stars.

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Lukaku is a young striker that is playing at an incredibly high level. Why on Earth would Everton even dream of selling him at this point? It’s not as if he’s on the last year of his contract or is agitating for a move away. He’s the perfect player for Roberto Martinez to build his attack around. Selling him to United is the furthest thing from the Toffees’ mind right now. United can try to open talks with Everton over his transfer but it’d be wasted effort.

Mane’s situation at Southampton might be even more clear-cut. The club’s manager Ronald Koeman has come out publicly to say there’s no chance of a January move for his star attacker. Does United not have access to the same newspapers and websites that we do? He’s on record saying they wouldn’t even sell Mane for 100 million pounds. If Manchester United thinks they can buy Mane this window it’s a sign of their sheer delusion and arrogance.

Manchester United is still an attractive club that can turn players’ heads, but it doesn’t have the buying power it used to possess. The Premier League is set up with clubs on a much more even financial playing field than ever before. They are one of the Premier League’s richest clubs in terms of transfer fees and wages, but the gap isn’t what it used to be. Smaller clubs are able to compete with them financially now.

The prestige of United has also suffered since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure. The Moyes era was an abject failure and I don’t know that Louis Van Gaal’s tenure is going to be remembered much differently. High-profile stars in today’s Premier League are quickly becoming too young to remember United’s extended run of dominance. They are much more familiar with a Premier League that has a top four or top six; not just a top one.

Manchester United fans should fervently hope that their transfer policy is much different than what is being reported in the tabloids. If they honestly believe they can purchase Lukaku and Mane in the next transfer window (or two) then they are more out of touch with the reality of today’s Premier League than I originally thought. If they are that out of touch, it will take radical changes at all levels of the club to get them back on track.