Friday, December 8, 2023

The Man United boss wants to spoil Arsenal’s January transfer plans

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The three London clubs could face some competition for transfers over January, but it may now be unlikely.

Manchester United football director John Murtough has explained his upcoming plans for the January transfer window and potential investment in the playing squad in a call with shareholders. The Red Devils were the second-highest spenders in the Premier League during the summer, backing new manager Erik ten Hag.

Over £200million was spent by United, with only Chelsea having a higher expenditure during an entire squad rebuild. The likes of Casemiro, Antony and Lisandro Martinez have all helped the new head coach turn results around from a tough start into a slightly more positive outlook.

They currently sit fifth in the league, with the aim of at least making the Champions League once again this season. This may see them battle the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham once again, having already done so in previous seasons for a place in the top four.

There has already been plenty of competition between them in the transfer market too, with the Gunners looking to land Martinez but missing out. The Blues did similar, seemingly battling for the signature of Frenkie de Jong at Barcelona, though neither managed to secure a move.

With the January window only a few gameweeks away now, planning will be starting for many clubs as to which players are next through the door. Should any of the clubs be worried that they may face United in a transfer battle, they may be relieved by Murtough’s plans.

He said on a call to shareholders, via the Manchester Evening News: “During the summer, we made significant investment in the first team squad with the permanent addition of five regular starters, including a balance of experienced international players and younger, emerging talent. We also saw a higher-than-usual number of departures, and this was an equally important part of refreshing the squad after the disappointing 2021/22 season.

“We will continue to support Erik [ten Hag] in ensuring he has players with the right quality and characters to achieve success, while ensuring that investment remains consistent with our commitment to financial sustainability.

“Overall, we are ahead of schedule in our recruitment plans as envisaged at the start of the summer, and we do not anticipate the same level of activity in future windows. As always, our planning focuses on the summer window.”

It suggests that there may be less of a threat from the Red Devils in the upcoming January window at the very least, with such a focus on next summer. It could allow for either of Arsenal, Chelsea or Tottenham a free run at strengthening their squad at a key time in the season.

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