Manchester United had a productive summer transfer window in the end, after a slow start. Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen, Casemiro and Antony all arrived to bolster Erik ten Hag’s ranks. However, the Dutchman didn’t land Sergino Dest, Frenkie de Jong and Darwin Nunez – much to his frustration.
It’s an open secret that United wanted to sign De Jong from Barcelona.
They spent all summer pursuing a deal for the Netherlands international, emboldened by Ten Hag’s positive relationship with his former Ajax midfielder.
But when it became clear United wouldn’t be able to lure the 25-year-old away from the Nou Camp, they then opted to land Casemiro instead.
Ten Hag also wasn’t allowed to land Dest from Barcelona, while Nunez ended up moving to Liverpool from Benfica.
Now, Express Sport will take a look at how United would be lining up if they had been able to recruit all of their main objectives for the transfer window.
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Goalkeeper: De Gea
One constant at United is David De Gea.
The Spain international is the club’s longest-serving player, along with Phil Jones, having been at Old Trafford ever since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2011.
De Gea was backed this summer, with United choosing to loan out Dean Henderson.
He experienced a rocky start to the campaign, suffering in the early defeats to Brentford and Brighton.
Yet the 31-year-old has bounced back to rediscover his mojo, helping United win their last four Premier League matches.
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Defence: Dest, Varane, Martinez, Malacia
Martinez and Malacia both joined United this summer, with the pair arriving from Ajax and Feyenoord respectively.
They’ve started to look the real deal, too, drawing comparisons with cult heroes such as Gabriel Heinze and Patrice Evra.
United have seen Diogo Dalot shine this term but, if Ten Hag had got his way, Dest would have arrived.
The USA international was being eyed to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka, only for John Murtough to intervene and make it clear their current right-back wouldn’t be allowed to go.
Dest has since joined AC Milan on loan, with the 21-year-old featuring in his side’s 1-1 draw with Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday night.
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Midfield: De Jong, Eriksen, Fernandes
United signed Eriksen on a free transfer shortly after his Brentford contract expired.
And though they’ve recruited Casemiro to go alongside the Denmark international, Ten Hag would have preferred De Jong instead.
United spent three months working to land the Netherlands star but, when it became clear it would be too expensive and complex to broker, switched their attentions to Casemiro instead.
If De Jong had arrived, he’d be playing alongside Eriksen.
And Fernandes would then be used further ahead, in the No 10 position that he’s made his own in recent years.
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Forwards: Sancho, Nunez, Rashford
Ten Hag was delighted to secure a reunion with Antony, having previously managed the 22-year-old at Ajax.
However, before he pushed the Glazers into landing the veteran, he wanted to secure the signature of Nunez.
The Uruguay international made it clear, however, that he wanted Liverpool – who then snapped him up as a replacement for Sadio Mane.
If Nunez had joined United, he’d be playing down the middle.
And Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford would then go on the right and left side of the club’s attack.
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