Taking a look at Manchester United's recent transfer history, a clear pattern has emerged. It is a philosophy that is not only shaped by United's history of producing and developing young players but one that is a necessity going into a somewhat uncertain financial future.
In this article I will suggest the three positions that United will look to strengthen this summer with this philosophy in mind.
Two indisputable facts illustrate this transfer philosophy quite clearly: Firstly, no more than three first-team players have been signed at one time in a single transfer window. Secondly, not since the purchase of Dimitar Berbatov in the summer of 2008 has a considerable amount of money been spent on a player over the age of 26.
Both of these policies make great sense. Introducing too many new first-team players at the same time threatens the balance and chemistry of the team, and spending too much money on a player who has already peaked means that the player cannot be developed much further, lessening his value.
Some United fans persist in the belief that the owners of the club do not give the manager enough funds to compete for world football's top talent. Others argue that the manager is talking sense when he says there is "no value" in the current transfer market.
I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. With the signings of David de Gea, Ashley Young and Phil Jones costing over £50million last summer, it is clear that the board is giving the manager the money he needs. Yet it is common knowledge that the Glazer family has attached great debt to the club and that debt needs to be addressed by making acquisitions that will potentially earn the club money.
This means that instead of panic-buying and over-paying for second-rate options, United are targeting young players who are still expected to develop and who would reap great profits in the future if they reach their potential.
With this in mind, here are the three positions United need to address this summer...