At this point, Manchester United's transfer window is closer to a Madlibs rewrite than a new era.
The addition of Marko Arnautovic and Adrien Rabiot - the former already canceled and the latter potentially moving forward - to the Summer 2022-23 transfer gossip has put a Joker-esque comedic turn on Erik ten Hag's project.
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Consider the following:
New Manchester United boss (insert name here) has seen the club fail to land No. 1 target (insert name here) and is now being linked with a Champions League wantaway (insert name here) and a shocking budget target (insert name here) while struggling to offload disgruntled star (insert name here).
Yes, you can add Arnautovic and Rabiot to the long list of targets well below Manchester United's historic reputation, not unlike previous surprising signings Odion Ighalo and Daniel James and former surprising rumors like Julian Draxler and Sean Longstaff.
Rabi-oh-no(t): Why, Manchester United? Why?
While the Arnautovic potential signing was hilarious for any number of reasons, the Rabiot link could be the one that makes United fans wonder if anything is ever going to change at their club.
This isn't to say the 27-year-old Juventus midfielder isn't any good, but his personality is combustible and reputation hardly befitting a team yearning to find a reborn dedication under demanding and respected manager Erik ten Hag.
The ex-Ajax man has been widely linked with Frenkie de Jong but the Barca man seems in no hurry to join United. The leap from De Jong down to Rabiot skips entire tiers of quality including one that includes current United midfielder Fred and perhaps even Scott McTominay.
The Brazilian and Scot were both ostracized by Man United fans due to their performances against Brighton at the weekend, but please do in fact consider that Rabiot, Fred, and McTominay all are not scoring midfielders. And also consider that comparing the three does not exactly scream out, "Sign Rabiot!"
Rabiot vs McTominay vs Fred
(2021-22 seasons compared to Big 5 players at their positions)
Progressive carries: 74th - 75th - 67th
Progressive passes received: 72nd - 35th - 56th
Pressures: 83rd - 37th - 93rd
Tackles: 85th - 55th - 83rd
Interceptions: 29th - 68th - 72nd
Clearances: 40th - 92nd - 52nd
Aerials won: 81st - 88th - 17th
Consider that Bruno Fernandes is already a bit of a unicorn atop the midfield: The Portuguese has a better rating in progressive passes and is comparable in pressures, tackles, and interceptions while also chipping in shot-creating actions at an elite rate.
It just doesn't make sense to spend time talking to Rabiot's mom-agent while cleaning out both physical and emotional deadwood (Cristiano Ronaldo, etc) and trying to breathe life into the Old Trafford fire.
But you do you, United.
Fear not, faithful Red Devils supporters: Links to Sergei Milinkovic-Savic and Guido Rodriguez, however, make all the sense in the world as midfield alternatives.
What, exactly, is Manchester United doing? originally appeared on NBCSports.com