EXCLUSIVE: talkSPORT’s Anil Kandola discusses Manchester United’s transfer window

Anil Kandola is a journalist for talkSPORT and contributor to The Content podcast. Kandola is widely regarded as one of the best journalists when it comes to the transfer window, and he took the time to go through the latest stories and rumours surrounding Manchester United in this exclusive interview.

The search for a new striker

Rasmus Højlund

“I was told quite early on – it wasn’t just when the summer started – that Manchester United were desperate to have two strikers in the door. Obviously, the uncertainty around Mason Greenwood played a big part in it, whether or not he’s going to come back, as well as Anthony Martial’s lack of fitness.

So, I think Erik Ten Hag, even though he’s probably going to sign one striker, in an ideal world, will want two. Obviously, as you said, Højlund is a massive name that’s been linked with Man Utd constantly and I’ve heard that, in terms of any personal terms, if the player wants to join Man Utd then it’s all pretty much sorted out in regards to him coming to Old Trafford.

“The massive issue really is the price tag as his current club are looking for something probably around £30 – £40 million more than what Manchester United’s value [him at] or what is viably realistic either, so yeah, I think Højlund probably will get done. He’s a player that is not exactly in his prime, he’s still very young, he’s only really been on the scene in football for two or three years at the most.

However, this is probably a Man Utd player, potentially anyway, that they don’t normally go for as they go for the 30+ age, which isn’t actually that old – but in football terms you’re basically retired. It will certainly be a positive signing if it does happen as I think it’ll show Man Utd are moving in the right direction in terms of the players they are bringing in.”

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Randal Kolo Muani

“If we turn our attention to Kolo Muani, this is a young lad – he’s twenty-four years old, and he was so, so good last season. I think he got forty goal contributions, assists and goals combined, in about forty-six or forty-seven appearances last season so, you know, his numbers do speak volumes but his situation is really interesting. Although there’s definite interest from Man Utd, there haven’t been talks, I’ve been told, between the two parties as it is quite a difficult one for him at this moment in time as he is at Eintracht Frankfurt at the moment and has only been there a season.

“He was signed on a free transfer, in the summer previously, from FC Nantes so he’s signed on a free contract and they’ve only had him a year, so even though they know they’ll get some decent money for him, they are quite reluctant to let him go. Ideally, Frankfurt want to keep him for one more season before letting him go because, as I said, he was brilliant last season, he was really contributing every week for them so they looked like a pretty good outfit with him spearheading the attack up front.

“This is obviously an interesting one as well in terms of the price tag, again. When it’s Manchester United, unfortunately from a Man Utd fan perspective anyway, everyone seems to think the club’s got a lot of money so they think ‘ok, we may as well add another £30 million to just test the waters.’

“Yeah, it’s an interesting one because the price tag Frankfurt are looking for is around €100 million, which around the £80 million mark. However, there is a possibility of an avenue Man Utd can go down where they pay £50 million this summer as almost a down payment if you like, and then pay the rest in due course in terms of the next season or following season.

“I mean, even Bruno Fernandes was full of high praise for him by saying they first came about him in the World Cup when they saw him play, as I think he had a few appearances as well there. So, he’s got a massive future, he’s a great striker, very versatile but I do think, again, the price tag may be an issue.

“But, one thing I would consider, in this situation, is obviously the two strikers we’ve just named there are of interest to Man Utd. Man Utd, in an ideal world, would get them both in and with a new ownership, they’d both probably be in the door by now, but I would suggest to keep in mind that with the Mason Mount signing, United were reportedly interested in Caicedo and then they got Mason Mount – so this pattern of playing off both scenarios could happen again, I’m not sure if United prefer Højlund or Kolo Muani but they probably will use one another to almost threaten the one they really want by saying to the selling club ‘if you don’t give us the player that we want, we’re just going to take that money and put it elsewhere’ to entice the player to come out and pressure their end.

“So, for once, Man United appear to be quite savvy in their approach to a transfer target. It’s not a ‘genius’ tactic, but they’re trying to make some certain movements in the market, so that’s really interesting, and this brings me on to the Iranian striker, Taremi.”

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Mehdi Taremi

“This one again, I know we were just saying a little bit about how Man United have moved on in their transfer policies and budgets, stuff like that – whereas this would just be the most typical Manchester United signing. He’s thirty, I think, although he did do quite well for Porto last season with just over thirty goals and he scored the two goals for Iran when England played them in the World Cup, in the opening game for both respective sides.

So, he’s not exactly a small fry, in terms of being a rubbish player or anything like that, he’s a good player who would bring some goals to Man United – and it’s worth mentioning they could probably get him for less than £20 million so it’ll be a good price to bring in a striker of that ilk, in terms of experience and finishing.

“But, again I go back to it, this is exactly where Man United have been going wrong over the last few years, you know, and that’s no disrespect to him because I’m sure he would come in and score goals. However at the end of the day, United do not need to be signing the strikers of that age; like Cavani, like Ronaldo, like Ighalo, Ibrahimović – all these types of players, who I don’t think hardly of them did badly, but they didn’t exactly do brilliantly either.

“I think, again, this is something that is quite frustrating if I’m being perfectly honest and obviously the discussion we’re having now is because his agent put a picture up at Old Trafford and stuff like that. I was actually told by one of my sources, who suggested it would only be a possibility if United end up managing to mess up a deal for the likes of Højlund and, if it was to happen, it would be around late August.

“So, again, this would just show you it is a panic buy and that there is not much thought or planning put in – meaning it is one that is short-term and you won’t hear much about, but it could potentially happen if Man United’s other options fall through or they’re typical Man United and they mess them up.

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Harry Kane

“Finally, one that everyone wants to discuss and mention; Harry Kane. I would be absolutely baffled if he even leaves Tottenham, never mind to Manchester United, as I just don’t see it happening. Touching on what we talked about there a minute ago, where the buying club puts a little bit of pressure on the player so the player starts to be a bit more vocal about wanting to move now, Harry Kane isn’t that – for good or bad. This is just not in his nature, so I do think he’ll probably see out the rest of his contract and then, obviously, will be a free agent next summer where he has the pick of any club he wants to go to because Daniel Levy won’t be involved anymore.

“So, like I said, out of all the names we’ve discussed I think the most surprising one to come through the door, unfortunately anyway, is Harry Kane.

Could United make a decent offer towards the tail end of the transfer window?

“Without a doubt, and the the thing that does make me laugh a little bit is with PSG regarding Kylian Mbappe, as there’s a lot of stuff going round about him and how a player of that stature and that ability is going to go for free in the following season – and I just think it stares you in the face how stubborn Daniel Levy can be.

“I think, rather than selling to an English club and making some money off the greatest player that ever played for Tottenham, definitely since Daniel Levy has been at the club – never mind in history as he’s their all-time top goalscorer, it baffles me that he’d be so stubborn as to let the best part of £100 million go to waste.

“On top of this, the reason for doing so is just because he wants to keep him for one more year or to stop him joining a team in the Premier League. I understand this to a certain extent, but at the end of the day if you basically give Harry Kane a free shot at any club he wants to go, which is essentially what’s going to happen next year, you know he’s going to stay in the Premier League. So, you can’t stop the inevitable from happening anyway and there are a couple of reports suggesting that the Bayern stuff is a bit of a red herring, as they’re just sounding out the waters, like you said, maybe for next season so they can say ‘look we even tried to sign you last year, we’re super desperate to get you’ and all of that stuff.

“Still, like I said earlier, out of all the names we’ve discussed I’d be surprised if Harry Kane turned up.”

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Another midfield addition?

Roméo Lavia

“We’ll start with Lavia, as he’s been gaining a lot of interest in the last couple of weeks with Southampton going down, you know, it was almost inevitable really that he’s going to move on and rightly so because he‘s a brilliant player and probably one for the future as well. In terms of Man United’s perspective, I don’t think, or would be very surprised, if they do go in for him for two reasons; one is that Liverpool look set to sign him and two, that he’s never played for Erik Ten Hag before. Ten Hag doesn’t want to sign anyone unless he’s had them in their previous careers, unfortunately.

“He’s a brilliant player, let’s not make two ways about it but in terms of Manchester United going in for a bid, the only way I could see that is if someone like Amrabat falls through. Also, you’ve got to understand that Mason Mount, for whatever your own personal opinion on him is, is the player that Ten Hag has gone for in that midfield place so whoever does come in would have to, at the minimum, start on the bench in the first few games and months.

“I just don’t think Lavia is like that, in terms of where he is in his career at the moment and he’ll look at the someone like Liverpool who, whether we like it or not as United fans, is just as big a club as Man United. Also, he knows he’ll get a lot more game time because they haven’t got anyone in his position and they’re desperate for players like him, so I think mostly if and when he does move, it will be to Liverpool.”

Sofyan Amrabat

“Sofyan Amrabaat, on the other hand, I was talking about him again on talkSPORT and the links, from what I have been hearing, are more than genuine; the player is desperate for the move to Old Trafford and he feels this is the time for him to make a big Premier League move.

“As you said, I don’t need to sit here and tell you how good he’s been for both his club and country over the last couple of years. You know, he really came to the forefront at the World Cup but then just kept the consistency levels up and, as I said it again live, he’d bring so much to Man United as he’s the perfect signing.

“I know that seems strong, considering United need a few players, but when I mean perfect signing I mean he could virtually go to any club in Europe and still would do a job because he’s versatile; he can play as a single holding midfielder, he can play in a double role and I think is passing ability goes under the radar so much. His ability to spray the ball, switch the passes, make through balls to break the lines, all that kind of stuff he;s really, really good at.

“Look, he also provides squad depth as well which Man United have been so desperate for and the big issue or worry for last season, besides the away form, was that one injury to a Casemiro or to a Rashford and we could see the whole season crashing before us – the same with Martinez at the back as well. So, if that was unfortunate enough to happen to Casemiro, considering his red card record as well, he’s going to miss a few games one way or another so bring someone in like Amrabat would be amazing!

“But, again, it comes back down to the finances. Unfortunately, Man United are going to prioritise a goalkeeper first – and then they’ll prioritise a striker before worrying about someone like an Amrabat. Again, it’s a little bit of a concern because if Man United do spend the best part of £100 million or over that on Højlund and Onana, for instance, they’re going to have to sell players before bringing any in.

“Fred is looking most likely to be the one who goes first, which we’ll discuss later, so they need to sell and they need to sell quickly just to get the funds ready for someone like an Amrabat, but look he’d be brilliant wouldn’t he? Also, I think he’d be available for less than £30 million as well which, again, isn’t a lot of money for someone who’s going to bring squad depth and has European and international experience so for me it’s a no brainer.”

Is there a ‘Plan B’ if United don’t sign Amrabat?

“I think he is the plan B as I think Man United were desperate to get Rabiot [from Juventus] on a free transfer, which makes the bosses upstairs in the offices much happier than putting £20-£25 million down for a player. Look, Man United made a bit of a risk, really, letting Sabitzer go because he would be £20-£25 million and looked at someone like Rabiot who, arguably, has more experience on the big stage and a more successful career, it’s probably fair to say, who was available on a free transfer.

“Rabiot’s got a bit of steel about him, he’s got something in his game that has a bit of a bite, should we say, but he decided to decline Manchester United for one reason or another. Man United shifted their focus massively onto Rabiot once they realised and came to the conclusion that they didn’t want Sabitzer, but that fell through and now they’re at the same price tag again of a £20-25 million pound player and Amrabat, potentially, is that.

“I mean, if Amrabat is your third or fourth choice then I’m not being funny but that’s not too bad is it? I could certainly think of worse, especially with the track record of Man United signings over the last few years or so.”

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What’s happening at the back?

André Onana – a matter of when, not if

“I think the one word I’d use to describe the situation is ‘imminent’. I think this is, from what I understand anyway, advanced as personal terms are agreed and Onana is really desperate to make the move to Manchester United. Onana sees it as a project that he can really be a part of, he’s a big personality who is not afraid to voice his opinions and I think he will be absolutely brilliant with the way Erik Ten Hag wants to play.

“But, from everything I’ve been hearing, it’s been totally positive and then De Gea’s contract has expired so Manchester United, at the moment, don’t really have a first team goalkeeper. So I think Onana needs to come in as he’s a lot more suited to the way Ten Hag wants to play. I think this is the guy as he’s obviously played under Ten Hag before, the style of play and the way he likes to play the game blossomed under Ten Hag all those years ago now.

“I believe he’s going to come with a point to prove as the drugs ban he went through, after he took the wrong medication, has really put a spark amongst the fire inside of him and he’s playing as if he’s making up for lost time. He’s emerged as one of the top ‘keepers in Europe and I was speaking to a European football expert a couple of days ago who was saying to me that he would not be surprised, or he does not see any reason why, that in a season or two Onana can be regarded as in the same breath as the likes of Allison or Ederson because he’s genuinely that good.

“Even his shot-stopping, stuff like that, has improved so much over the last couple of seasons so I mean if there is any player on the whole of the planet right now that I feel is most likely to join Manchester United then it’s Onana.”

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Zion Suzuki – the new number two?

“Unlike Onana, there’s more to do with this deal but it is true. Let me put it this way, if Man United manage to sign both of these goalkeepers, the goalkeeper situation is sorted for the next decade. They are both brilliant goalkeepers, they love to play with their feet, they want to start the attacks and it’s the modern era now. The ‘Route One’ lifestyle is long gone and you almost don’t look like you know what you’re doing if you play that kind of football anymore.

“But, that’s just the way things go, and to traditional fans like myself it’s a bit of shame to think that someone like De Gea hasn’t really got a place anymore in the Premier League, which is crazy! I always think that the first and foremost thing you want is your goalkeeper to be a good shot-stopper but, you know, I think several keepers have shown that you don’t really need to be like that as long as you can play it out from the back.

“Instead, goalkeepers now act as that first line of defence so the defence can push up over the halfway line. You know, I think it will all change so much and I was watching the Man United pre-season game the other day, as I caught some of the highlights, and the pressing from the front was unbelievably good. I know it was a pre-season game, I know it was Leeds United, but the way that they just swarmed all the opposition players was impressive. That’s now possible with goalkeepers like the ones Man United are linked with because, they’re so far out, the lines can gradually just move forward.

“So look, I think it’s very exciting. These are certainly two goalkeepers that really do fit the bill for the way Erik Ten Hag wants to play and, yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if both of them came in this summer – Onana seems to be the most likely anyway. He’s a big name, it’s good to have players like that and I think, to be honest about Man United’s budget, the goalkeeper position was the only place where he [Ten Hag] could make a real statement with the budget that they have dedicated to it.”

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What went wrong with Kim Min-jae?

“With Kim Min-Jae, there was concrete interest, he was very open to the move to Manchester United and I liken it to the Cody Gakpo situation. Gakpo also agreed everything with Man United, he was a player that really wanted to come to Old Trafford – but United were dragging their heels as they were umming and ahhing over the price tag, then a team just comes in and says ‘look, we’ll pay the money you want’ and bang, it happens.

“So yeah, Kim Min-Jae would have been an absolutely superb signing as he was, for me, the best defender in Serie A last season but, you know, we’ll move on from that as that’s not going to happen. I think it’s really interesting again, unfortunately, for some people it might sound like a bit of a cop-out, which it probably is from Manchester United’s point of view, but it’s finances.

Man United need to sell players if they want to sign any new ones and look, we both know, in an ideal world we’d have a replacement for Casemiro, and we’d have a spare centre-half who comes in through the door. Man United need a goalkeeper and they need a striker and they need them done very, very quickly as they’re the two most important positions on the pitch. So, I think they’re going to have to be addressed and then if Man United do have some time they may, potentially, explore a centre-half.

“I do desperately think they need one if Maguire goes and I think this will massively be a situation that is like a domino effect. So look, at the end of the day, it’s very clear that Harry Maguire is surplus to requirements. Erik Ten Hag doesn’t have any plans for him at Old Trafford, but then there’s no point signing a centre-half if Maguire is still on the wage list or if he’s still at the club and, whether we like it or not, he’s going to have a part to play if he’s there anyway in terms of the games and all the matches Man United will have.

“I think the door will definitely open once Maguire is sold and then they think ‘okay, right, we actually genuinely need a fourth centre-half now’, potentially someone from the academy. But I’ll revert back to it, it’s going to have to rely on how many sales and how much money they can accumulate before they start thinking about a centre-half.

“In an ideal world, I think Erik Ten Hag would love a centre-half through the door but right now they have to prioritise, unfortunately, and I don’t think it’s a position at the top of that list.”

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The outgoings

The middle of the park

“How much time have you got!? Look, jokes aside, I think out of all of them at this stage I’d probably say Fred‘s the most likely to leave in terms of as quick as possible and I’ve been hearing around the £20 million mark is the price tag.

“Fulham are interested, very interested. Obviously, a London club which for someone like Fred, who’s come from Brazil originally, is always attractive and a move to London is always attractive for any football player. He’ll go into there and he won’t be someone who’s just questioning his position or role in the team and he knows he’s going to play every week so, you know, that’s a massive sell for players. Both teams feel like £20 million is quite fair for him, even though I think the club could probably get a bit more for him…somewhere around £28-£30 million mark maybe.

“Scott McTominay, obviously, has had some interest from Newcastle but they’ve signed a couple of midfield additions now and it looks increasingly unlikely which, to be honest, I’m not so against that. At this stage, he’s the only other more traditional holding midfielder other than Casemiro, so you need a body in that position if Casemiro doesn’t play.

“Donny van de Beek, I believe he’s been on a separate training regime and Man United are going to be open to listening to offers for him. He’ll probably be going out the door as well.”

Defensive departures

“Harry Maguire, from what I’ve been hearing anyway, he’s very reluctant to leave. I think the phrase I was told, not just about Harry Maguire but a couple of others as well, is that they’re dragging their heels as they don’t want to leave Manchester United. I said this on talkSPORT, from a financial perspective you can completely understand it, can’t you, as no one else is going to give them the best part of £250,000 a week – and rightly so as they’re not good enough.

“So yeah, again, it’s going to be really hard for Manchester United to ship these players cause they’re on such astronomical wages and, realistically, would anyone leave or go on a pay-cut? I don’t really think a lot of players really would, never mind players that barely play as it is anyway.”

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Forwards on the way out?

“I think a really interesting one is Jadon Sancho. I think, at this stage, Man United aren’t exactly desperate to sell him. I think Ten Hag is open to giving him one more season, or till January at the very minimum, to prove that he has got a part to play in this squad but I think if the right offer came in for Jadon Sancho, I don’t think Erik Ten Hag would hesitate to allow that move to happen. They obviously paid around £75 million, I think, for him so off the top of my head I’d say if an offer around £40 million was to come in, I think they’d sell him.

“At the end of the day, I think this is a good thing. I know it seems, to some fans or individuals, that having loads of these players with their futures uncertain isn’t great, but I think that’s good! I think they’re all going to play with a point to prove if they stay at Manchester United and they know that they’re fighting for their careers at Old Trafford. So, the Sancho one is one to watch but also, potentially, one for next summer as well.

“In terms of Anthony Martial, United fans won’t be happy with what I say. You can’t deny his talent. On his day he’s brilliant for Man United and if he was a fully fit Martial last season, I’d probably go so far as to say that Man United would have legitimately found themselves in the title race. I think he’s that good. I think he’s really effective when he’s on the ball and going for it but there’s quite a few layers here.

“Firstly, I’ll start off by saying that whatever anyone personally thinks, Martial, from my understanding, is going nowhere. Sorry to a lot of United fans to be the bearer of bad news – but at this stage, from what I’ve been told, I don’t really think it’s likely that that situation is going to change, so Martial is going to be staying. Look, at the end of the day like you said, the wages are a massive thing but I don’t actually think that wages is the big thing for Anthony Martial at Man United. Obviously, it plays a part and he’s happy thinking ‘I don’t even have to play and I’m getting this much money’ but I don’t think it’s actually about that.

“What I think the big thing with Martial is, I think it’s his mental state. I think this is a situation with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer because he played him so bloody much and he burnt him out, resulting in injury after injury. I think, psychologically, this damaged him quite a bit, to the extent where he’s now hesitant to give it 100% because he’s now thinking that if he does, will he get injured?

“So, when you think of it in that way, you are more susceptive to injuries because you’ll do things that you wouldn’t normally do if you were playing with 100% confidence. It is massively frustrating, if you’re following Manchester United, because when he’s on the ball and he’s really firing, he’s brilliant. He can finish, he’s ice cold and I’d even go so far to say, at the club at the moment, he’s Man United’s best finisher so you know that if he’s in front of goal with one chance, he’s more or less going to finish it. But, you know, it’s been quite a while since we’ve seen that, it’s been quite frustrating but, especially if you’re not a fan of Martial due to him not being an option and always injured, he isn’t going anywhere.”

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Academy sales

“Elanga and Hannibal are two others the club are willing to listen to offers for. Someone was telling me, with regards to Hannibal, that there would be a sell-on clause there, so if they are putting things like that it’s good. I mean, it conflicts the fanbase cause at the end of the day they’re academy products.

“I think Mark Goldbridge, he got a bit of stick for saying that if you want to keep players like that, then you might as well have ‘Glazers In’ t-shirt, or something and I wonder why he got it. However, I think there’s a bit of a basis there as we can’t just hold onto these players because we’re Man United and they’re academy projects and stuff like that. I think more so with Elanga than Hannibal, he’s had his opportunity and scored a brilliant goal against Atlético away, a season or two ago, but he just hasn’t really kicked on has he?

“He’s someone that will make way and, hopefully, get somewhere close to the £10 million mark. As you say, he’s an international, he’s still very young and he grew up in Manchester United, so it’s not exactly like he’s lacking experience in the big stages as he’s played Champions League football.

“If the right money comes in, I think both of them will be on their way from Manchester United, and I’m fine with that because if they’re not going to get sustainable game time, they’re not going to bring anything to Ten Hag’s project, then if they can bring some money in then let them go.”

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The ownership situation

What’s happening with the Qatari bids?

“It’s been massively frustrating. It’s a scenario I can sum up by saying ‘so close, yet so far’. I genuinely believe that the Qatari bid is at an advanced stage, it’s not something that they’re still miles apart in their valuation. Even if they bid £10 billion, you know the Glazers will say ‘oh come on, put another billion in’ so it’s never going to be a scenario where the Glazers are going to be happy with the price.

“From what I’ve been told, and my understanding, is that all of the Glazer family have to agree and all of them want to sell – besides Joel and Avram, they’re the ones who are reluctant, which probably doesn’t come as a surprise. I was also told, unfortunately, that the Glazers are exploring, with their lawyers, what would be the scenario if they did go with Ratcliffe’s bid and did stay in.

“They’re exploring, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll stay or that they’re going down that route because they want to. I think they’re doing it to buy themselves more time, in terms of maybe squeeze out a few £100 million more from the Qataris, because they know Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s bid isn’t going anywhere in terms of improving or anything.

“It’s a situation really where Manchester United fans are just going to have to stay calm in all of this, it’s so frustrating and I can completely understand. Especially, as you said, how many people and how many platforms, outlets and everything like that are reporting on it but it’s certainly a situation that is going to ramble on.

“I wouldn’t put a time frame on it, I think the one thing that we’ve learnt in this whole takeover is that these ‘soft’ deadlines mean absolutely nothing. We were told a deadline in the turn of December and now we’re in the middle of the summer, already half a year on, so it’s going to be frustrating but, look, I stand by all the information I’ve been told over the last few months that the Qataris will come in. I have the faith that the Qataris will come in, I am firmly in that camp.

“I’m a football fan, I’m not a politician, so I’m looking at it from the benefit of what will put my club in the best position to return back to the glory days and that’s the Qatari takeover. A takeover that’s looking to improve the facilities, Old Trafford, to back the manager, to make it a community scenario like they’ve done at the Etihad with their respective owners as they’ve built a complex there.”

‘Within two weeks, they could get the ball rolling’

“But yeah, I don’t think it’s going to be a situation that ends quickly but the one glimmer of hope that I will give you is that the Qataris, I was told many, many months ago, that they’ve done their due-diligence, they’ve spoke to relevant organisations such as the FA , the Premier League and UEFA as well. At the start of the Qatari links, everyone was saying ‘well, if they’re involved with PSG then that’s a conflict of interest’ yet, funnily enough, no one says that about Nice and if they were in the Champions League, then what would happen!?

“So, the one thing I would have optimism about is they’ve done all that stuff and if their bid was to be accepted, let’s say in a dream scenario, today – then within two weeks they could get the ball rolling. There are reports saying it will take months which is, for me anyway, not true from what I’ve been told and I’ll stand by my sources that they’ve done all that stuff. So. it will only take a 14 – 21 day maximum period to get everything cleared and done for them to start doing things, in terms of buying players or plans for the infrastructure and stuff.

“I know a lot of fans are worrying about how long it would take for the Qataris to actually have control but from what my understanding is that it would only take a couple of weeks if and when, hopefully anyway, their bid is accepted. Another thing as well is if they clear the debt, that adds that to the Financial Fair Play budget. So, even if they just cleared the debt, that would still provide money and, as you say, they could potentially give another £200 million towards signings and BANG it would go through.

“Another thing as well, with the Qataris, is they’re not going to be emotional, they’re not going to think ‘oh, well Maguire is the captain so we won’t sell‘. They’ll get rid of him if they or the manager want to, they won’t care about how much they’ll get for him. They’ll just say ‘if you want him off the book, we’ll sell him, we don’t care’ and that’s the type of infrastructure you need at Man United to get the squad where it need to be.

“The right manager is in place, the fanbase is already there, the global market is already there, so unlike City and Newcastle, and Chelsea to some degree, not much tinkering from them will need to take place in terms of moulding the club, all it needs is care and attention… something it’s lacked for too long.”

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‘Sir Jim Ratcliffe will be worse than the Glazers’

“So, I think for the benefit of Man United, the Qatari takeover is the favourable one and if you want a headline I’d probably put ‘Sir Jim Ratcliffe will be the Glazers 2.0’. In fact I’ll go one better than that and say ‘Sir Jim Ratcliffe will be worse than the Glazers’. The reason why I say that is because, look at the end of the day, someone who claims to be a Manchester United fan and would keep the Glazers in with his bid speaks volumes.

“There was no mention, look how long this process has gone on, there’s no mention of how he’s going to back the manager and what he’s going to do to improve the infrastructure. He hasn’t said absolutely anything about how he’s going to raise the extra £1.2-1.5 billion to eventually buy the Glazers out and, with all due respect, why would the Glazers sell in that scenario; he’ll get a chunk of it now, Man United hopefully will become more successful on the pitch and the Glazers will get more money.

“I just don’t understand where he’s going to go with this bid and the reason why he’d be worse than the Glazersis because for naive fans like me and you, we’d actually have hope. There’d be a new owner in, we’d have hope things will change and this might be a new era – however, that will be worse because, as I say, it’ll bring hope to Man United fans that it’s going to change, but it won’t.

“Nothing will change under the ownership of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, he’s done it for a vanity project, he’s done it to say ‘well, I own Manchester United’ and, to be honest, we don’t want that. We want, and look at the end of the day there’s an argument to say that anyone who buys a club is for a vanity project, but you look at the two respective bids; Sir Jim Ratcliffe has always talked about himself and how much it would mean to him to own Manchester United yet the Qataris are the opposite. Their [bid] has been about how much the club would benefit from having them, if that makes sense.

“So, I think it would be a travesty, to be honest, if Sir Jim took over and on equal measures if the Glazers stayed, so I think the only way out for Manchester United at this stage is to get the Qataris in and really back the manager to make them into a proper force again.”


I would like to thank Anil for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do this exclusive interview. You can listen to him and get his expert insight regarding the transfer window on ‘The Transfer Insiders’ with Rory Jennings and Ade Oladipo from 8pm-10pm on talkSPORT or talkSPORT2.