Manchester United transfer state of play: Maguire, midfielders and more activity

Ahead of Friday's transfer deadline, Andy Mitten provides the latest on the incomings and outgoings at Old Trafford

Harry Maguire had been subject of a potential move to West Ham but, for now, he is remaining at Manchester United. Getty
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The summer transfer window closes at 11pm UK time on Friday in England. At Manchester United, the club feel that they did their incoming business early in signing midfielder Mason Mount, goalkeeper Andre Onana and forward Rasmus Hojlund, who is expected to feature in games from now on having arrived with a back injury.

United spent £163 million ($205 million) before add-ons on that trio and the club are happy with where they are in the window. Experienced defender Jonny Evans, 35, is expected to sign a one-year deal.

It’s a long way from a decade ago when United chased players all summer and didn’t sign one until Marouane Fellaini completed a move from Everton minutes before the deadline. Then, United were champions. Now, United haven’t won the league since 2013.

There will be more activity this week. Goalkeeper Dean Henderson will join Crystal Palace. It was thought he would stay at United after a move to Nottingham Forest didn’t materialise by the start of August; United will replace Henderson with Altay Bayindir from Fenerbahce for a fee of €5 million ($5.4 million).

Injuries to the first and second-choice left backs, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia, have given Erik ten Hag and his staff a dilemma.

United are deciding whether the solution is an internal one with Diogo Dalot switching flanks, as he did against Nottingham Forest on Saturday. The other option is to use Alvaro Fernandez, a 20-year-old Spaniard, who impressed on loan at Championship side Preston North End last season and featured in the first team pre-season.

There has been no shortage of agents willing to link their left-backs with United. Sources at Barcelona said they would be extremely surprised if Marcos Alonso left the club to join United on loan.

Several players have left, through, either their contract expiring (David de Gea, Phil Jones, Axel Tuanzebe, Charlie Wellens, Di’Shon Bernard), a sale (Antony Elanga, Fred, Matej Kovar, Alex Telles, Zidane Iqbal, Ethan Laird, Charlie Savage, Nathan Bishop, Noam Emeran) or loan (Brandon Williams, Will Fish). In the case of Williams, United will heavily subsidise his wages.

United have brought in around £38 million (before add-ons) from the sales of Elanga, Fred, Telles and Kovar. Henderson, 26, will bring in another £15 million, plus £5 million in appearance related add-ons.

United and West Ham did agree a figure of £30 million for defender Harry Maguire earlier in the month, but personal terms were never agreed between the player and the London club. West Ham don’t have a player on close to Maguire’s wages and a settlement would have been needed between United and the defender. Maguire never spoke to West Ham manager David Moyes.

The Hammers have since been told that Maguire is staying at United and it’s understood that Ten Hag, who is the main driver in this transfer window, wants him to stay. He has always said Maguire is an important part of the squad. United have also blocked a loan move for Maguire to West Ham.

Everton also recently tried to take Maguire on loan and Fulham have shown interest, but United are not interested in letting the defender leave on a temporary basis. Maguire, like many others at United, is on a wage that only the top Premier League clubs can afford.

Though they have financial fair play issues, one of the clubs who could afford him is Newcastle United. The Magpies suffered an injury to central defender Sven Botman on Sunday, and Dan Ashworth, Newcastle’s sporting director, has long rated Maguire from the England set up. That said, there has been no approach for the defender from Newcastle.

More players may still depart. Scott McTominay is a player United could receive considerable funds for and West Ham were interested at the start of August, yet he’s also valued at United. He’s not started any of their opening three league games, playing just two minutes against Wolves and seven against Nottingham Forest. Yet injuries to Mason Mount and Kobbie Mainoo mean United are light in midfield.

Whether Uruguayan forward Facundo Pellistri goes on loan remains in the balance. United know the 21-year-old needs matches, but he’s also been exciting in his fleeting performances for Ten Hag’s side, and the pair have been in constant communication for months. Other younger players including Hannibal Mejbri and Teden Mengi could be considered for loan moves.

United are looking for solutions for Mason Greenwood, while Donny van de Beek and Eric Bailly would also be allowed to go. The problem, as ever, is their high wages. United would rather sell players than loan them out, especially if they have to subsidise their salaries, though they know a player’s value will increase if he’s playing regularly in a top league. That doesn’t always work out, as United experienced when Antony Martial went to Sevilla last year.

United are constrained by the Premier League profit and sustainability standards but if there are more departures, they would go back into the market and try to sign a midfielder, but there have been no offers for any midfield players so far.

Updated: August 29, 2023, 12:29 PM