The major Chelsea transfer mistake Manchester United are in danger of copying this summer

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Manchester United are set for a hectic summer transfer window, with a number of departures expected

If Chelsea and Manchester United have proven anything over the past two years, it’s that money doesn’t guarantee success. Two of the Premier League’s biggest and most historically successful clubs are currently floating around in mid-table, leapfrogged by rivals with vastly inferior budgets but vastly superior strategies.

Having been taken over by Todd Boehly in May 2022, Chelsea have gone on to spend more than £1billion on transfers in just three windows. The Blues have signed enough players to create an entirely new matchday squad while offloading anyone on the fringes in a bid to keep within profitability and sustainability rules (PSR). Often, the departing player has not been too different from the one coming in to replace them.

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Manchester United are entering the new-ownership phase of their evolution, following confirmation earlier this year that Sir Jim Ratcliffe had bought a minority stake. The INEOS chief will have complete control of footballing operations and looks set to oversee a busy summer. The Telegraph reports that alongside the usual investment, United will listen to offers for almost all of their current first-team squad.

Certain young prospects, such as Kobbie Mainoo, Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Hojlund, are off strictly limits but what has been described as an ‘ultra-flexible approach’ could see a swathe of departures. Even Marcus Rashford is named in the report as someone who could leave, should an appropriate offer come in.

With the likelihood of no European football and finances already tight, following an expenditure of more than £400m under Erik ten Hag, United will need to raise funds and are planning an overhaul of the squad. New signings are wanted in just about every position, with particular focus on central defence and midfield. A new strike partner for Hojlund is also high on the list, given Antony Martial will leave as a free agent when his contract expires.

Reinforcements at full-back on both sides are needed, while Ten Hag will be keen to add more goal threat across the attacking unit. Depth is needed out wide and more energy needed from the bench. It’s a long shopping list.

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But while many United supporters might want to see a transfer window resembling a 10-year-old’s FIFA career mode save, real football tends to steer away from such major action and those in charge at Old Trafford need only look south to London for their warning. Chelsea’s three windows under Boehly have been nothing short of chaos, the fallout from which has seen a disjointed team struggling to find its identity and a fan base growing ever more frustrated.

To fund their recent shopping spree, Chelsea have sold off players at an alarming rate. Last summer saw seven players leaving for more than £100m, while the first summer of new ownership saw a number of fringe players moved on for nominal fees of free transfers. The turnover at Stamford Bridge has been massive, with a total of 26 permanent exits.

Many of those have gone on to excel with their respective new clubs, leaving Chelsea fans scratching their heads as to why they were let go. Kai Havertz is the most notable of those to find success elsewhere, but Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Antonio Rudiger have also proven more than capable at the top level.

And that high turnover of outgoings and incomings has seen any cohesion among the squad dissipate, with Mauricio Pochettino seemingly having to pick 11 individuals each week in the hope they can come together for 90 minutes plus added-time. There are some excellent players at Chelsea, but the formation of an excellent team is not so simple.

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Giving serious consideration to offers and actually sanctioning exits are two different matters altogether, and it is unlikely those in charge at United will go to such extremes. A lot of their current players are under-performing and so what prospective suitors deem a reasonable offer could easily be short of what is expected.

Exits will be numerous at United this summer, with Ratcliffe and his new hires keen to lower the age profile and bring more energy into the squad. Many of those over 30-years-old - Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Raphael Varane, Jonny Evans and others - are either set to see out their contracts or expected to be sold.

But it’s important those in charge at Old Trafford don’t get too carried away with the prospect of an overhaul. Well-run clubs don’t try to change everything in one window, and Ratcliffe has the opportunity to turn United into a well-run club again. Just don’t follow Chelsea’s example.