Everton’s 10-point deduction has sent shockwaves through the top flight, with clubs given a rude awakening that the Premier League are not here to be messed about.
League officials have been determined to put their foot down after being undermined amid the 2021 Super League breakaway saga and have come down hard on the Toffees for breaching profit and sustainability regulations.
United officials have painted a picture that suggests they too are worried about breaking Financial Fair Play rules, having been cautious not to splash the cash recklessly over the summer.
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It seems a number of new hierarchical personnel are set to arrive at the club under Sir Jim Ratcliffe with CEO Richard Arnold and John Murtough both set to leave. The replacements may do well conversing with the Premier League over FFP worries too, and stick to their guidance.
Everton breached the £105m deficit threshold - which can be offset by investments on community work, infrastructure and more - by £19.5m. United have spent a lot and lost a lot over the past two years, with huge amounts dished out for players.
Under Erik ten Hag alone, United have forked out more than £400m for players. This would not be an issue if the club were able to sell players for suitable fees but the failure to do so has been the bane of their transfer business.
Record signing Paul Pogba left for nothing in 2022 while fees spent on Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and David de Gea got no return. There is an easy way to combat United’s current FFP concerns - sell well.
That means looking at the surplus assets in the squad and shipping them off. In light of Everton’s sanction, the Glazers may be even more reluctant to overspend, so January could be even tighter than last year’s winter window.
But with United on the brink of their season being a failure, there may be a requirement to bring new faces in. Erik ten Hag will hope so, after bemoaning the lack of funds he had back in January.
Jadon Sancho is almost certain to leave in the new year, although probably on loan. It is therefore likely that United will have to subsidise at least part of his huge wages.
United are not going to get back the £73m they paid for him in 2021, but some sort of fee would go a long way. However, with clubs more cash-stricken in the new year, a permanent exit seems less likely.
One player who may well fit the profile for a mid-season switch is Donny van de Beek. The Dutchman cost United £35m but it is arguable whether he has lived up to half of that figure.
Donny van de Beek has made just two cameo appearances this season
(Image: 2023 Allstar)
He’s played just 21 minutes of football this season and only been included in four matchday squads, most of them coming amid the height of United’s injury crisis.
For both the player and the club, he simply must be moved on - for good this time. Van de Beek, previously loaned to Everton in 2021, still has more than 18 months on his contract so would be able to command some sort of fee. His exit would also free up some of the wage bill.
United need to take any small wins they can if they want to calm their FFP nerves. Right now, Van de Beek is offering nothing to the United squad - despite the injury crisis this season - and any return United can get would be a positive.
Perhaps United’s second half to their season is won and lost in January.
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