Panic on the streets of Manchester: United’s shambolic transfer window ends in flurry of misguided bids

Comment by Marios Papaloizou

Manchester United fans’ tumultuous summer has drawn to a close in farcical fashion as the club scampered around the footballing world on transfer deadline day desperately searching for reinforcements.

In stark contrast to the authoritarian Ferguson regime in which negotiations were conducted quietly and, often without any public knowledge, the Moyes era has begun with an uncharacteristic flurry of public pursuits.

The transfer window closed with United only having acquired the services of Marouane Fellaini for £27.5million – £4million more than his previous buy-out clause.

The fact that this deal could have been concluded two months ago for a significantly smaller fee is, worryingly, not the strangest piece of business that Moyes and new executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward have conducted this summer.

It was always going to be a difficult few months for Moyes after taking the reins at Old Trafford. However, a public declaration from the manager at the start of the summer assured fans that funds were available to sign players and that the club would be bringing in new talent.

During the Ferguson era there was a calm mood that saturated the club during the summer months. Any transfer speculation was generally quashed and deals were made privately.

However, after public pursuits of Thiago, Fabregas, Baines, Fellaini, and Herrera it is clear that United have a new and, so far unsuccessful, transfer policy.

The problem with United’s new approach is not necessarily that they have failed to acquire their targets – after all good players will always attract offers – the problem is that they have gone about their business both publicly and foolishly.

While it may be unfair to immediately compare Moyes with his illustrious predecessor one can be sure that any offer for Fabregas made during Ferguson’s tenure would have most likely gone under the radar.

Should Moyes start winning trophies with United then he may be able to conduct his transfer business in a more blasé fashion.

However, since the departure of Ferguson United run the risk of looking weak and this weakness is accentuated every time a player that the Reds are in for chooses another club or rejects United’s advances.

As the transfer window closed United had missed out on several players that they had bid for including Ander Herrera, Leighton Baines, Thiago Alcantara, Cesc Fabregas, Fabio Coentrao, and Sami Khedira.

Had these bids stayed quiet United would have presented a calm front as they unveiled Fellaini and Moyes’ claims that he was happy with his squad may have been believable.

As it stands United have come out of the transfer window looking like they bid for every player imaginable and came away with one signing that they overpaid for.

Both Moyes and Woodward should be afforded some room to learn; however, the unimaginable shambles that has been United’s transfer policy this summer needs to be immediately addressed or United run the risk of losing out on the world’s top talents.

Image courtesy of Sky Sports via YouTube, with thanks. 

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