Ryan Gravenberch to Liverpool FC move flags up previous transfer mistake at Manchester United – Liam Wood

Having promptly snapped up Andre Onana, Mason Mount and Rasmus Hojlund for a combined 180million outlay, there has been a growing sense of frustration at Old Trafford in the final days of the summer transfer window. That can be summed up by an impending 34.2m switch close to completion down the road at Anfield.

Netherlands midfielder Ryan Gravenberch – on the radar for United this month – is due to sign for Liverpool and in doing so will follow international teammate Cody Gakpo in making that same decision. Had things turned out a bit differently, the double Dutchmen might have, instead, headlined the ongoing Erik ten Hag rebuild.

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Despite holding firm interest in Gakpo last summer, United maintain they were not side-stepped by Gakpo during the January transfer window when he, eventually, touched down in the Premier League for around 37m from PSV Eindhoven. That he would have been road-blocked by Marcus Rashford is a completely feasible concept.

Rashford had the season of his career under Ten Hag and shone brightly on the left-hand flank Gakpo also prefers. Gakpo soon went on to underline his potential as a centre-forward and No.10 with three goals at the winter World Cup and has even been deployed as a No.8 by Liverpool amid their midfield woes.

Of course, that is exactly what Gravenberch has been brought in to address, but United have had their own issues in the three areas where Gakpo has been utilised by Jurgen Klopp beyond his main position as an inverted forward on the left-hand side. United discovered that first-hand during last season&aposs 7-0 demolition.

While it is probably wise to scoot straight past that shattering March afternoon, Gakpo led the Liverpool line and helped himself to a double. United&aposs striker in that match – yet another Dutchman in Wout Weghorst who did sign for United in January – was unable to beat that tally in 31 appearances across his loan.

As they say, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but United must have had second thoughts about not returning to the market for Gakpo and what seems to be a snip at 37m when compared to deals that have been struck up by Premier League rivals since then. Will allowing Gravenberch to join Liverpool also come back to bite them?

The transfer window will soon close and although United got their hands on three players well in advance of the September 1 deadline, with Rasmus Hojlund joining Mason Mount and Andre Onana at Old Trafford, activity has stalled since Hojlund&aposs announcement.

A goalkeeper, a midfielder and a striker were Erik ten Hag&aposs priorities heading into the summer window, but injuries early on in the season mean United are in need of further reinforcements.

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It might not be until December until they find that out. United are pencilled in to return to the scene of their most criminal performance under Ten Hag midway through the festive month, although an initial date and time (3pm on Saturday, December 16) will, probably, be moved for television coverage.

In fact, that much is sure. However, there is less certainty in how these two great English footballing powerhouses will fare, in comparison, this season with Gravenberch creating another intriguing sub-plot.

United might have, resoundingly, lost their battle at Anfield last term, but they did win the war. A welcome return to the Champions League this campaign – where United have now discovered their opponents – can underline that while, simultaneously, flagging up a huge question mark over their transfer strategy.