18-22 years old: wrong transfer strategy?

Smores

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There's only really three approaches to building a squad.

You buy peak players and hope for short term success. They block youngsters game time and then you have to replace them all at once.

You buy young players and let them peak together. When they peak they block game time for next lot of youngsters and you have to replace them all at once when they age. Back to square one.

Or rather than listening to ideological fans you do the thing most sensible top clubs actually do and you build up a mixture. Where you have gaps from ageing players you fill it with talented youth.

That has to be per area of the pitch too so you don't end up with your entire defence going at once. We've got Maguire, Lindelof, Bailly all within 12 months and two young CBs who'll soon leave if they're excluded. It's far from ideal.
 

noodlehair

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I think it's fine as a strategy as long as you also have a strategy to keep the players together so they can develop as a team. So basically you are only signing 18-22 year olds to build a platform to develop a team. Eventually you'll move on to signing players based less on age and more on areas of quality where you're lacking a bit.

You also have to be able to sign the right players to fit the mould and actually be willing to pay for them, which is where we fall down as we could definitely have signed Haaland who would have been a good fit, probably could have signed Bellingham and now appear to be dragging our heels yet again over Sancho. It's not like we had no control over where these players ended up. We just decided they were part of our strategy but then decided to put up barriers over bringing them to the club.

There's not much point having a plan of any kind if limiting what you want to invest in it makes implementing it effectively impossible.

Sancho is massively overpriced for what he is. I'm not even sure you could justify putting him in our starting line up, but either he's part of the strategy or he isn't. If he is it's never exactly been a secret that it would take a massive transfer fee to get him. Haaland was available for a ridiculously cheap price and we stalled over him wanting a release clause, which isn't something you can even hold any cards over when you struggle to qualify for the CL most years. Honeslty I think Ole has a clue but the club is still chasing it's own tail. We seem to want to get back to the top and act like we are already there at the same time.
 

sammsky1

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I think it's fine as a strategy as long as you also have a strategy to keep the players together so they can develop as a team. So basically you are only signing 18-22 year olds to build a platform to develop a team. Eventually you'll move on to signing players based less on age and more on areas of quality where you're lacking a bit.
You also have to be able to sign the right players to fit the mould and actually be willing to pay for them, which is where we fall down as we could definitely have signed Haaland who would have been a good fit, probably could have signed Bellingham and now appear to be dragging our heels yet again over Sancho. It's not like we had no control over where these players ended up. We just decided they were part of our strategy but then decided to put up barriers over bringing them to the club.
There's not much point having a plan of any kind if limiting what you want to invest in it makes implementing it effectively impossible.
Sancho is massively overpriced for what he is. I'm not even sure you could justify putting him in our starting line up, but either he's part of the strategy or he isn't. If he is it's never exactly been a secret that it would take a massive transfer fee to get him. Haaland was available for a ridiculously cheap price and we stalled over him wanting a release clause, which isn't something you can even hold any cards over when you struggle to qualify for the CL most years. Honeslty I think Ole has a clue but the club is still chasing it's own tail. We seem to want to get back to the top and act like we are already there at the same time.
I think this is the point I'm trying to make in the OP. The point of a strategy is making sure that's what you do, come that may. There is no point in having this as a stated strategy, if you pull out of signing the obvious players when the opportunity presents for whatever reasons. PSG, Barcelona and Athletico did what was required to acquire Mbappe, Dembele and Felix. Ditto Dortmund which is why seeing their player list is so annoying.

We seem to be doing very well at age 15-18 and also age 22-25. But 18-22 (ie bringing in players from outside on first major professional contract) seems difficult.

SAF was of course a master of this, but only after he has established a team capable of winning or competing for the league. I remember him talking about having the right blend of junior, emerging and experienced talents in a squad, and always ensuring those ratios were maintained. But he was able to do that because new players entered a squad culture that knew how to become champions.

TLDR: We don't yet have a true strategy!
 

noodlehair

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I think this is the point I'm trying to make in the OP. The point of a strategy is making sure that's what you do, come that may. There is no point in having this as a stated strategy, if you pull out of signing the obvious players when the opportunity presents for whatever reasons. PSG, Barcelona and Athletico did what was required to acquire Mbappe, Dembele and Felix. Ditto Dortmund which is why seeing their player list is so annoying.

We seem to be doing very well at age 15-18 and also age 22-25. But 18-22 (ie bringing in players from outside on first major professional contract) seems difficult.

SAF was of course a master of this, but only after he has established a team capable of winning or competing for the league. I remember him talking about having the right blend of junior, emerging and experienced talents in a squad, and always ensuring those ratios were maintained. But he was able to do that because new players entered a squad culture that knew how to become champions.

TLDR: We don't yet have a true strategy!
I think the club just wants to have it's cake and eat it unfortunately.

When the best you can manage over 4/5 years is an occasional top four finish and the odd domestic cup, then you have to accept that you can't go into signing negotiations with clubs/agents acting like you don't need the player. If you do, the player will almost invariably have other equally attractive options who will be more accomodating to them, and half the time the club also wont need to sell them.

The Haaland thing I still can't get my head around at all. He wanted a release clause...at the time we were a 6th placed Europa League team. Why wouldn't he want a release clause? Why would he accept not having one when numerous other clubs already in the CL wouldn't even question it. The way to go about it is to sign the player and then convince them to stay by showing they don't have to leave to achieve what they want to. Not to refuse to sign them unless they blindly throw their career into your hands despite the fact you're currently closer to a 10th placed team than a 1st placed one.

I think we have a strategy. I think the strategy comes from the management i.e. Ole and co, and whether they are good enough or not to implement it the strategy itself seems fine. The problem is it's then down to Woodward and co to bring the players in and Woodward I can only assume from the past 6 years operates in some kind of fantasy land.
 

Snuffkin

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Ole has been good in the transfer market. His philosophy is to sign players who actually would quite like to play for the club. His predecessors would have been scrambling to sign james and bale. If haaland wanted a getout clause then I believe ole did the right thing to let him rot as he would have done a Tevez. Anyway his dad was a nob.
 

Sky1981

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Problem is the piece of shit superagents get hold of these kids when they're 16/17 and make it financially unfeasible for big clubs to take the same sort of risks on young players they might have done a decade ago.

Their careers are mapped out to maximise the number of big career moves and thus maximise their agents' income.

If you have to be pay upwards of £20m, £30m etc to some scumbag superagent, in addition to the actual transfer fee, just to sign a player, you're going to want that player to be the finished article.
They wouldn't be there in the first place without superagents.

Unless clubs go old fashionway of sending hundreds of scouts all over europe (an operation that cost lots of funs) good luck with finding them.

Would clubs wants to get their hands dirty? Sending scouts early on? Taking chances and financed every prospect that may or may not make it. For every 1 sancho there are hundreds of prospects that didnt turn out well.
 

Sky1981

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Ole has been good in the transfer market. His philosophy is to sign players who actually would quite like to play for the club. His predecessors would have been scrambling to sign james and bale. If haaland wanted a getout clause then I believe ole did the right thing to let him rot as he would have done a Tevez. Anyway his dad was a nob.
It's a dilemma when you're not on good position.

We need prime players to compete for titles. Those with that kind of skillset aren't going to choose a midtable at that time team. They have competitions from other big clubs.

There's always pros and cons.

The co96 was an anomaly, you cant bank your transfer strategy based on a one in a million
 

Snuffkin

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The co96 was an anomaly, you cant bank your transfer strategy based on a one in a million
The class of 96 is a myth- Neville and butt were carried by scholes, becks and Giggs who was playing way before them anyway.
So beckham a southerner and Scholes came through whoopiedo. We always bought sometimes badly. But with the exception of Gordon Strachan they all wanted to come. In those days we couldn't get foreign players because of the rules in Europe and financial reasons but the likes of kanchelskis were happy ton be at utd. Ole needs the players who see the worth of Manchester United and given the world wide, life long incentives, those players tend not to be basket cases.
 

Sky1981

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The class of 96 is a myth- Neville and butt were carried by scholes, becks and Giggs who was playing way before them anyway.
So beckham a southerner and Scholes came through whoopiedo. We always bought sometimes badly. But with the exception of Gordon Strachan they all wanted to come. In those days we couldn't get foreign players because of the rules in Europe and financial reasons but the likes of kanchelskis were happy ton be at utd. Ole needs the players who see the worth of Manchester United and given the world wide, life long incentives, those players tend not to be basket cases.
They want to come because we're the cream of the crop. We paid over the odds for keane, cantona too.

Sure we have enough lure to make players like maguire dreams of playing for us. But among the biggest fish like ronaldo, messi, Lewandowski etc we're far from their top destination.

Nothing personal. It's just business. We need to be flexible. Fergie wasn't afraid of splashing the cash to bolster his weak spot. We shouldnt be too sacrosanct in buying 26 prime players ready to start. Nor buying 30+ stop gap.

It should be a combination of the aboves, not persisting blindly with only one approach.
 

sammsky1

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They want to come because we're the cream of the crop. We paid over the odds for keane, cantona too.

Sure we have enough lure to make players like maguire dreams of playing for us. But among the biggest fish like ronaldo, messi, Lewandowski etc we're far from their top destination.

Nothing personal. It's just business. We need to be flexible. Fergie wasn't afraid of splashing the cash to bolster his weak spot. We shouldnt be too sacrosanct in buying 26 prime players ready to start. Nor buying 30+ stop gap.

It should be a combination of the aboves, not persisting blindly with only one approach.
Agree with a lot of what you say ... but Cantona @ £1.2m was considered an absolute shocking bargain, even in those days.