Manchester United: A transfer window that promised so much, provided so little

Everyone knows that terrible feeling. You wake up in a groggy haze as you realise just how heavy a night you had. Snapshots of embarrassing events from the night before shoot through your mind and then you roll over in fear of what you ended up bringing home.

That’s how many Manchester United fans will have awoken yesterday following a transfer window fiasco.

All summer they will have been strutting around the exclusive VIP transfer big-hitters bar transfer club with the confidence of a chiselled Adonis after being linked with the veritable supermodels of world football – Fabregas, Bale and prodigal son Ronaldo. Instead, closing time rolled around with Assistant Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward and new Manager David Moyes scrambling to the bar for last orders at The Dog and Duck as the Scot made a late-night call to his former lover.

Thankfully Moyes’ signings will not prompt as much shame as many drunken voicemails on an ex’s answering machine but ultimately United fans will be displeased with the fact that after new signing Marouane Fellaini’s £23.5m buy-out clause expired on 31st July, the Old Trafford outfit ended up paying the price in the extra £4m it took to prise the combative attacking midfielder away.

Fellaini is by no means a bad signing even if he may divide opinion in some red quarters. The Belgian international scored 12 league goals last season and bullied United’s engine room on two occasions, a midfield in which peripheral figure Shinji Kagawa was the only player to break the 2-goal barrier.

What will disappoint the Reds faithful is the manner in which United conducted themselves. Under the hand of outgoing Chief Executive David Gill and Manager Alex Ferguson, transfer dealings were done generally in private and certainly largely well before the inevitable melee of deadline day.

Indeed, the only recent deadline day action the Red Devils found themselves in was the £30m signing of Dimitar Berbatov in 2008, a signing which only awaited the final agreement with football’s hardball negotiator and Tottenham Hotspur Chairman Daniel Levy.

In stark contrast, targets were discussed openly before backpedalling statements of being happy with the current crop were inevitably spewed forth.

Added to the frustration of several apparent last-minute targets falling through was the flirtation with Fabregas. The club’s continued attempts to prise the former Arsenal icon away from European giants Barcelona were akin to the over-confident drunk refusing to give up his chase of the leggy blonde who’s clearly only ever going to hop into her current lover’s Spanish supercar and into the night.

If United are to avoid the inevitable cries of a decline of the post-Fergie, the same mistakes will need to be eradicated come January. Targets will have to be identified early and Woodward will need to step up to the plate in negotiating effectively and most of all efficiently.

The transfer window promised so much – possibly too much – as Moyes’ first statement of intent in moulding his own Old Trafford legacy but if the club want to avoid finding themselves canoodling in the corner of football’s greasy kebab shop at 3 am, next time, they’ll have to be a lot better organised and quick to the chase showing they can still party with the high-rollers.


Written by James McLaughlin

Follow James on Twitter @JS_McLaughlin

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