It was another busy summer at Manchester United with no fewer than 10 first-team players leaving the club while there were some notable new recruits in the shape of Andre Onana and Rasmus Hojlund.
United went into the window targeting a new goalkeeper, a midfielder and a striker and they were also looking to raise funds through sales.
The uncertainty surrounding the club’s ownership has made things difficult for Erik ten Hag, who has also had to comply with Financial Fair Play (FFP) restrictions.
We’ve graded United’s incomings and outgoings from the summer transfer window, taking into account the player’s quality and the transfer fees.
Note: For the outgoings, we’ve only included players who made a first-team appearance and were sold for a disclosed fee.
Mason Mount (£55m) – Grade C
While Christian Eriksen had a good debut season at United, Ten Hag wanted a more dynamic midfielder and made Mount his top target.
They ultimately paid Chelsea an initial £55million and an additional £5million for the 24-year-old, who would have been available on a free transfer in the summer of 2024.
Ten Hag has admired Mount since his loan spell at Vitesse Arnhem in 2017/18 and sees him as a modern midfielder, who is capable of carrying out specific tactical instructions and leading the press.
But the introduction of the England international has appeared to unbalance United’s midfield, with Casemiro left exposed against Wolves and Tottenham.
Andre Onana (£43.8m) – Grade A
Despite winning the Golden Glove in 2022/23, David de Gea was allowed to leave United upon the expiry of his £350,000-a-week contract and Ten Hag needed a new No.1.
Onana, who worked with Ten Hag at Ajax, starred for Inter Milan in the 2023 Champions League final and then joined United for an initial £43.8million.
He is also one of the best ball-playing goalkeepers in the world and will help change the way Ten Hag’s side build up from the back.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) June 29, 2023
Rasmus Hojlund (£64m) – Grade B
After scoring just 58 goals in 38 Premier League games in 2022/23, United prioritised signing a new striker in the summer window.
They decided not to pursue a costly deal for Harry Kane before signing Hojlund from Atalanta for an initial £64million and another £8million in potential add-ons.
Admittedly, it’s a huge amount of money for an inexperienced striker who is yet to reach double figures in any senior competition.
But the 20-year-old is regarded as one of the best young talents in the world, and he could be the long-term solution to their striking issues.
Altay Bayindir (£4.3m) – Grade C
After selling Dean Henderson to Crystal Palace, United brought in Bayindir from Fenerbahce to serve as Onana’s understudy.
The £4.3million deal may seem like good value for a back-up goalkeeper, but he’s struggled with injury problems in recent years and was heavily criticised for his error-prone performances in 2022/23.
Amid reports that Onana could go to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with Cameroon, United may have to rely on Bayindir in January and February 2024.
Sofyan Amrabat (loan) – Grade B
United’s over-reliance on Casemiro became apparent in the second half of last season and another holding player was on Ten Hag’s wish list throughout the summer.
Due to Financial Fair Play constraints, United weren’t able to meet Fiorentina’s £30million asking price for Amrabat.
The two sides eventually reached a compromise and United paid £8.5million to take the Morocco international on a season-long loan, with the deal including an option to make the move permanent next summer for £17.1million.
Amrabat was one of the standout performers at the 2022 World Cup and his combative style should add balance, as well as physicality, to United’s midfield.
The incredible Sofyan Amrabat 💪🇲🇦pic.twitter.com/nCIaWG0RHI
— utdreport (@utdreport) September 1, 2023
Sergio Reguilon (loan) – Grade D
At the very start of the transfer window, left-back was one position in United’s squad that was arguably oversubscribed.
But Alex Telles moved to Al-Nassr, Brandon Williams and Alvaro Fernandez left the club on loan and Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia have both picked up serious injuries.
United then devised a shortlist of several emergency options and looked at Marc Cucurella before signing Reguilon from Tottenham on a season-long loan deal.
While they were never going to be able to get a world-class player on loan, signing an injury-prone left-back who has looked defensively suspect in the Premier League doesn’t seem like a great move.
Jonny Evans (free) – Grade C
A few eyebrows were raised when United announced that they had re-signed Evans, who celebrated his 35th birthday earlier this year.
But he’s been brought in as the fifth-choice centre-back and can help in the cup competitions, allowing the likes of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez to have a rest during a busy fixture schedule.
The Northern Ireland international, who is approaching 500 career games at club level, will also bring invaluable experience to the dressing room.
“His attitude and work ethic are second to none and Erik and the coaching staff know he’s someone they can rely on whenever needed this season,” United’s Football Director John Murtough said.
David de Gea (free) – Grade A
While United were criticised for how they handled De Gea’s departure, Ten Hag’s decision to let the goalkeeper leave on a free was the right one.
By opting not to trigger the one-year extension in his £375,000-a-week contract, United saved themselves £19.5million in wages.
The fact that De Gea is still a free agent also suggests that United would have struggled to find a buyer for the 32-year-old.
Phil Jones (free) – Grade A
Jones endured an injury-plagued career at United and has made just five appearances in all competitions in the last three seasons.
When asked if he’d actually seen him train, Ten Hag explained: “Yes, 20 minutes, first training of the year!”
United rightfully felt that the 31-year-old centre-back was unsellable and let him leave for nothing, getting his £75,000-a-week wages off the books.
Axel Tuanzebe (free) – Grade C
Once regarded as a promising prospect at Old Trafford, Tuanzebe saw his progress hampered by a number of injury problems and was released in the summer.
The 25-year-old has since signed for Ipswich Town on a free transfer and United could have potentially received a small fee for him if they triggered the one-year extension in his contract.
Eric Bailly (free) – Grade B
Alongside Jones and Tuanzebe, Bailly also struggled with fitness issues throughout his United career and didn’t feature in Ten Hag’s plans.
He had one year left on his contract but United allowed the centre-back to join Besiktas on a free transfer in order to get his £80,000-a-week wages off the books.
Alex Telles (£4m) – Grade B
Telles spent the 2022/23 season on loan at Sevilla, but the Europa League winners had no intention of buying him permanently.
United initially struggled to offload the left-back but received a transfer fee of £4million plus add-ons from Saudi Pro League side Al Nassr.
Anthony Elanga (£15m) – Grade D
Admittedly, £15million for a winger with three Premier League goals to his name might initially seem like good business.
But the 21-year-old is a fully-fledged Sweden international and has shown he can perform at the highest level by scoring against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.
Elanga has already made an impressive impact at Nottingham Forest, registering an assist against Arsenal and scoring a winning goal against Chelsea.
💥⚽️ The winning goal from Anthony Elanga (21) vs Chelsea today! pic.twitter.com/C2F7UXZ6VV
— EuroFoot (@eurofootcom) September 2, 2023
Dean Henderson (£15m) – Grade D
After United revamped their goalkeeping department and signed Onana and Bayindir in the summer, Henderson was deemed surplus to requirements.
The England international is still regarded as one of the country’s finest goalkeepers, having enjoyed impressive loan spells at Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest.
While United initially set an asking price of around £25million, they accepted Crystal Palace’s offer of an initial £15million and a further £5million in add-ons.
In comparison, Manchester City received £19million for James Trafford, who spent last season on loan at League One side Bolton Wanderers.
Fred (£8.6m) – Grade C
Despite making 56 appearances for United last season, Fred was allowed to leave Old Trafford following the arrival of Mount.
United sold the midfielder to Turkish side Fenerbahce for an initial £8.6million, £43.4million less than what the club paid for him in 2018.
While United insist they got a good deal for a 30-year-old player who only had one year left on his contract, they were initially looking for £20million.
Ethan Laird (£750k) – Grade F
Laird sat behind Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot in the pecking order at United and was sold to Birmingham City in the summer for a measly £750,000.
While United negotiated a good sell-on clause as part of the deal, they should have got more money for a talented academy graduate.
The 22-year-old has made a promising start to the 2023/24 season, establishing himself as one of the best full-backs in the Championship.
Championship – Players with the most interceptions per 90 (2023/24):
1️⃣ Ethan Laird – 3.6 ⭐️
2️⃣ Flynn Downes – 3.5
3️⃣ Shaun Hutchinson – 2.8
4️⃣ Shea Charles – 2.7
5️⃣ Sam Field – 2.7
6️⃣ Oliver Cooper – 2.6
7️⃣ Wesley Hoedt – 2.6
8️⃣ Hayden Coulson – 2.4
9️⃣ Sean McLoughlin – 2.4… pic.twitter.com/hczkR8eQjv
— Between the Lines (@Between_TL) September 4, 2023
Zidane Iqbal – Grade D
Iqbal was expected to leave United on a season-long loan deal in the summer but joined Eredivisie side FC Utrecht in an £850,000 deal.
The very low fee raised some eyebrows as the midfielder had impressed in the Under-21s and also has three senior caps for Iraq.
But The Athletic claim that the sale did include a buy-back clause in addition to a hefty 40 per cent sell-on clause.