Man Utd is already playing catch-up to Liverpool seven weeks before the Premier League kicks off – Andy Dunn

Erling Haaland to the Etihad, Darwin Nunez and two more to Anfield but no sign of incoming transfer movement under Erik ten Hag yet as United’s recruitment department dithers again

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Man Utd’s 2022/23 Premier League Fixtures

The smart Alec response to people discussing the publication of next season’s football fixtures is pretty standard.

Oh, guess what? Everyone is going to play each other twice, who would have thought it? Those sarcastic types have a valid point but, occasionally, in terms of momentum, a schedule can matter.

Manchester United’s early run of fixtures looks reasonably well-balanced but games against the Big Six come inside the first 13 dates so it needs repeating that Erik ten Hag has to hit the ground running. So how come there appears to be next to nothing occurring on the recruitment front?

Ten Hag’s appointment was officially announced on April 21 but they had agreed to take over a while before then. Presumably, he has long since detailed who he wants and what positions he wants to strengthen.

But as Liverpool, apparently, concludes their summer business with the signing of Calvin Ramsay – who joins Fabio Carvalho and Darwin Nunez as a recent recruit – there has been nothing from United. Granted, the window has only been officially open for a week and does not close until September 1. But now Premier League clubs will have their players reporting for duty in less than three weeks’ time.

A lot of international transfers are not expected to go through until after July 1 but Manchester City have had Erling Haaland wrapped up for weeks. This is the same club, don’t forget who will also have Julian Alvarez as a ‘newcomer’ having been signed in January and loaned back to River Plate.

Edinson Cavani was one of four desperate deadline day signings for Manchester United back in 2020 and they cannot afford to have a repeat of those shenanigans


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This type of forward planning is just part of why Liverpool and City are the two Premier League powerhouses. Yet this type of forward planning is what has been notable by its absence at United for much of the past decade.

Remember the first post-Fergie summer when Marouane Fellaini was the only big signing? And that was on deadline day. That set the tone for many of the years that have followed.

In 2020, for example, when the deadline was in October, United again did business at the eleventh hour with Edinson Cavani, Amad Diallo, Facundo Pellistri and Alex Telles all joining within the final 24 hours of the window. They worked out well.

Telles started less than half of the United’s Premier League matches last season, Pellistri was on loan at Alaves, Diallo at Rangers and Cavani could barely be bothered to get his backside off the sofa. United have made a signing this summer… Andy O’Boyle, formerly the Premier League’s Head of Elite Performance, has joined as deputy football director.

The football director, John Murtough, has been in his role for a while but has now been given more power, it seems. He needs to use it, soon.

Ten Hag, Murtough and O’Boyle – along with chief executive Richard Arnold – might have several moves up their sleeve and be serenely confident they will pull them off. But this battered and bruised club’s form is that front hardly inspires. The fixtures may have been published but the season is still seven weeks away. But yet again, Manchester United are already playing catch-up.

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