Jason Wilcox will face a familiar transfer problem at Manchester United with no obvious solution

A recruiting figure elsewhere in the Premier League has succinctly summed up the problem Jason Wilcox will face when he tries to sign for Manchester United this summer. “When United call, they get £40m for a player available for £10m.”

Old Trafford’s recruitment chiefs will understand that assessment. Those who work at the club have long referred to what is called the “Unit Tax”. As soon as they ask about a player, the price goes up, just because they’re Manchester United.

They met him in Erik ten Hag’s first window when director of football John Murtough inquired about a young player he knew another club was close to a deal for £15m. It will be £28m please. “You’re Manchester United, you’ve got a lot of money,” Murtough was told.

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The irony here is, of course, that they don’t. Anyway, not from the point of view of the transfer budget. They are sailing close to the wind when it comes to the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability (PSR) rules and, having missed out on Champions League football, will see their war chest shrink even further.

That reality is unlikely to stop clubs from trying to cash in on United. A history of overpaying for transfers contributed to that fee, let’s not forget. Real Madrid and Ajax were delighted with the £70m and £85m they got for Casemiro and Antony a couple of years ago.

That’s a perception that United’s new management team needs to change. Despite the stagnation on the pitch, they remain a giant of a football club in the minds of all their rivals and one that has the financial resources to push. It has to change because at the moment it is not the case. Financial rules set by UEFA and the Premier League mean clubs cannot spend so freely now, even if they wanted to.

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