Grading all 4 United signings’ league campaigns

After a bumpy start to the campaign, Manchester United exceeded expectations in the Premier League this season.

A third-place finish and guaranteed Champions League Football will surely silence the majority of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s doubters.

In the post Fergie era, United have always financially backed their managers. Moyes, Van Gaal, and Mourinho all spent hundreds of millions trying to solve the Red Devils’ problems in the transfer market.

Solskjaer’s first two transfer windows have been no different, with the former United player splashing out £192 million on four new additions to the squad. Thus far, the general consensus is that Solskjaer’s signings have achieved some level of success.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done well this season but there’s a long way to go for United still. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY GETTY IMAGES VIA GOAL.

We’ll take a look at each signing and evaluate how they’ve performed in the league thus far, and what that means for the following campaign.

Harry Maguire (£78.3m) – B

United’s record English signing has faced much scrutiny since arriving, largely in part to his inflated price tag. Surpassing Van Dijk as the world’s most expensive defender will tend to put a pretty hefty target on your back.

However, Maguire has largely dealt with the criticism well. Although it’s only his first season, he’s already taken the captain’s armband off elder statesman David De Gea. He’s showcased leadership qualities at the back that have made him an important figure for England in recent years.

Leading a defence with the third-best xGA in the league, better than that of title winners Liverpool, is no small feat for Maguire. He’s played every single minute of United’s season, scoring one goal in a victory away to Chelsea.

Skipper Harry Maguire sent Manchester United into the FA Cup semi-finals as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men made hard work of their extra-time victory at 10-man Norwich. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY YAHOO! SPORTS.

Unfortunately, Maguire hasn’t been without fault. Individual errors and lapses in concentration have been somewhat of a concern, leading to crucial goals in games such as Crystal Palace and Tottenham.

As United’s young backline continues to grow together, their chemistry in positioning will surely improve. However, Maguire must make sure that conceding silly goals does not become a habit.

Maguire receives a “B” for a solid first season at the club. He was never going to live up to his incredibly inflated price tag, but he’s definitely improved United’s defence. If Solskjaer purchases a partner for him in the summer, he could reach greater heights.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£49.5m) – B+

Nearly £50 million is a high price to pay for a twenty-one-year-old right back. AWB has certainly risen to the challenge, however, and has been one of United’s most consistent performers of the season.

Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker hailed Aaron Wan-Bissaka as the best right-back in the Premier League, believing his all-round game is better than that of Liverpool rival Trent Alexander-Arnold. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY ACTION IMAGES VIA REUTERS.

Appearing in all league games but for three, AWB has brought stability to a position that has been a problem point for United in past seasons. He’s defensively rock-solid, ranking in the top ten across the competition in tackles, interceptions, and blocks.

More has been asked of Wan-Bissaka from an attacking sense. His awkward style on the ball belies the fact that he’s a former winger turned full-back. However, with four assists this term, he’s shown that he’s capable of getting involved in the final third.

Wan-Bissaka receives a “B+” for a good season in which he’s at least met and possibly exceeded expectations set for him by United fans. At his young age, if he continues to improve offensively, he could easily become world-class in his position.

Bruno Fernandes (£49.5m) – A

Manchester United’s Portuguese magnifico has been nothing short of a revelation since joining the club in January. Questions were asked if his talents would translate to the Premier League, and thus far he’s responded with gusto.

Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United
Bruno Fernandes got on the score-sheet again yesterday and was pivotal in United’s late charge for the top four. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY CBS SPORTS.

Eight goals and seven assists in just fourteen games since joining are numbers which speak for themselves. Without his contribution, there’s very little chance United would have recovered from a 14 point deficit to beat Leicester to the top 4.

It was fitting, therefore, that Bruno’s penalty won it for United on the final day against Leicester to secure a third-place finish. Already having twice been named player of the month, he likely would have been a cert for Team of the Season had he played the whole season with United.

Fernandes receives an “A” for a fantastic start to life at United thus far. He looks to be easily Solskjaer’s best signing, and someone the boss will look to build around for the future.

Daniel James (£15.3m) – B-

James is probably the toughest player out of this bunch to judge. On one hand, not much was expected of the bargain-buy from Championship dwellers Swansea, and he’s absolutely made an impact at points for United this season, most notably at the start of the season.

Manchester United youngster Daniel James dedicated his debut goal against Chelsea on Sunday to his late father. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MATTHEW ASHTON/ AMA/ GETTY IMAGES.

On the other hand, he’s not done enough to suggest that he could become a regular starter for United. He’s looked a useful squad option for United, but since his goals have dried up, he just hasn’t provided end product consistently enough for a top club like United.

If the rumours are to be believed, United are looking to bring Jadon Sancho to the club this summer. If that’s the case, James will be firmly relegated to the bench without a foreseeable way back. He’ll need to take his chances when they come if he wants to remain in Ole’s plans.

James receives a “B-” for a decent first campaign for Manchester United. He can be proud of the performances he’s put in as a young man in his first Premier League season. However, more work is to be done if he’s to prove he can stay at this level.

Will Chattin
Manchester United Central staff writer.
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