It is an often repeated mantra that Manchester United don’t buy super stars, they make them.
Ronaldo, Vidic, Scholes, Giggs, Beckham, Solskjaer… the list goes on and on. But desperate times call for desperate measures and after a fragile start to the season and a second consecutive finish outside the top 4 a very real possibility, Ed Woodward ripped up the traditional United strategy and went big. In fact, the biggest British football has ever seen.
But in some quarters, this sudden outburst of spending is seen to be counterintuitive. In fact, it was Louis van Gaal himself who bemoaned the amount of attacking players United’s squad boasted. It was imbalanced and a tricky jigsaw to piece together. Yet, once again the Old Trafford executives have brought in two attacking players and further selection headaches for the Dutch manager to contend with.
So, for the first time in what seems like decades, United fans were left breathless by a summer transfer window. Either the Glazer family had just discovered the addictive drug of Football Manager, or they finally realised that Van Gaal’s squad needed a major injection of cash. Yet, for all the exhilarating action of the final weeks of the window, the previous months had offered little to suggest any excitement.
The early months of June and July began at a calm pace. Dead wood was shed as Alex Buttner was shown the exit and long term targets Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera, of fake lawyer fame, were quickly signed up, albeit for what seemed inflated prices. Nonetheless it was a strong and stable start. Ed Woodward, United’s much maligned head transfer honcho, had identified key areas for strengthening and had acted quickly to shore up defence and midfield.
It was almost the perfect story. Little lad growing up in Longsight, joins the the club he supports at eight years old, progresses through the academy and finally bursts into the first team at only 17. Everything followed the script wonderfully. All that was left was for Danny to cement his place in the first team and eventually retire at the club he had supported at eight years old.
Seeing Danny Welbeck leave Manchester United cuts deeper than Moira Stewart’s sacking from BBC News. As devastating as watching Ainsley Harriott smile at the camera or watching Youtube compilations of Steve Irwin.
No, no he’s not. That was a lie. Though some might be cynical enough to believe that the headline was used as a crude ploy to draw in readers they will be categorically and absolutely correct.
Tom Cleverley is not the saviour of Manchester United, Tom Cleverley was the kid that promised much and delivered almost nothing.
As the dust finally begins to settle on the schizophrenic hyperbole that is transfer deadline day, Manchester United appear to be a complete different proposition to what they were 10 days ago, let alone when compared to the team Louis Van Gaal took charge of in July.
If Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw were a promising first date back in June, Marcos Rojo the long overdue call for a second meeting and Angel Di Maria the – extremely expensive – first dinner out and Daley Blind the movie date that followed the meal, then the arrival of Radamel Falcao was undoubtedly the moment in which the girl United had not even dared to look at for fear of rejection invited the club back to her place.
After following United’s transfer business this summer, many fans might be wondering whether Edward Woodward is not the straight and narrow, suit wearing calculated CEO many thought, but actually United’s very own Jordan Belfort.
“A world-class midfielder and a world-class centre back, that’s all I need!”, Louis Van Gaal begged as Ed finished his line of cocaine using Danny Welbeck’s transfer request. For all of six seconds Ed was committed to making sensible decisions and acting on what the club really needed, but then the coke kicked in.
At the turn of the year, when the news broke that Manchester United were on the verge of making a club record signing, excitement was tantamount. Juan Mata had spent his first few years in the Premier League dazzling crowds with his typical Spanish style of classy, intricate football.
The perfect number ten.
However, in the short time that elapsed between him being named Chelsea’s Player of the Year and Jose Mourinho taking the reigns once again at Stamford Bridge, Mata very quickly fell out of favour.
There’s not really any other word to describe both the performance and the feelings that ensued following last night’s abomination. It initially brought back memories of a horrendous evening at Upton Park in the Carling Cup back in 2010 when we collapsed 4-0 that evening during a wretched display.
However, this was so much worse. So bad, it was practically beyond belief. We have been utterly humiliated by a club in the third tier of English football. It wasn’t even a contest.