Manchester United look set to have a big finish to the summer transfer window. After a number of months of relative inactivity, they are now looking to get a number of deals over the line before the end of the month.
The signing of Casemiro is all but wrapped up, having agreed a fee with Real Madrid and personal terms with the player. They are also reportedly close to signing Ajax winger Antony, with the Brazilian absent from their squad for this weekend's game against Sparta Rotterdam.
Those two deals could cost United in excess of £150million, a massive outlay at this stage of the window. However, not all are convinced that the moves will work.
Robbie Fowler not convinced by Erik ten Hag transfers
There is a sense of panic in these deals.
The move for Casemiro has seemingly come out of nowhere, with the potential £70million fee and five year contract a massive commitment for a player who is already 30-years old. As for Antony, Manchester United resisted meeting Ajax's asking price all summer only to now stump up the cash after their poor start to the campaign. The 22-year old has never hit double figures in league goals during his career.
Writing in his column in The Mirror, Robbie Fowler said that these moves seem to be a repeated of the club's past mistakes and could set them back even further as they seek to rebuild the team.
Panicking and looking to spend, what, £150m or so on a midfielder who is over 30 and a kid with a season and a half in the Dutch league under his belt, is trying to put the attic in before any bricks have gone up.
I don’t doubt the signings of Casemiro and Antony suddenly dominating the news cycle is a reaction to the planned protests at Old Trafford, and yeah, I understand that.
But such a knee-jerk response highlights everything wrong with them at the moment...
At the start of the window, it was all about ‘being sensible’, ‘building for the future’, ‘focusing on youth’ and ‘departing from the policies of the last few years’. Now after pressure from the fans, they’ve suddenly changed tack completely. Casemiro at 30, and with questions about his knee? C’mon. That’s hardly building for the future, and the fee is nonsense...
The best players don’t want to go to United. You won’t get an Erling Haaland or a Darwin Nunez, or a Jude Bellingham. You get a Real Madrid cast off like Casemiro, or an overpriced kid like Anthony. You either keep blindly spending like that, hoping the desperate gamble pays off...
Buying a £70m midfielder, and suggesting you’ll spend £80m on Anthony - when they insisted that was too much - sure appeases supporters. But only for a few weeks.
In the long term, it creates more headaches. It means the clearly defined parameters have been ripped up again. It means the foundations are as far away as ever from being laid.
It is clear that the Manchester United squad is desperately in need of an overhaul, but the fact that these deals were left until so late in the window points to the lack of strategy at the club.
It will be interesting to see if the new additions can turn around what already looks likely to be a very poor season.