The worst transfer window in possibly Manchester United’s history has now closed and the man responsible for closing the deal at Old Trafford Ed Woodwood should spend tomorrow packing up the his stuff.
Where to start? Let’s start with the one signing that Woodwood actually made as United bought Marouane Fellaini from Everton for £27.5m. A month ago Fellaini had a £23m release clause which United never met. If we did not think Fellaini was worth £23m in early August, why is he worth £5m more a month later?
When United hired David Moyes the expectation was that Moyes would bring Fellaini and Baines to Old Trafford. So what did Woodwood do? He offered Everton £28m for BOTH Fellaini and Baines in early August. And ended up paying basically that for just Fellaini. Was he throwing just plucking numbers out of thin air for that bid?
But that was not the only mistake that Woodwood made, just the latest. It has been clear all summer Moyes wanted to add a creative midfielder this summer. The first target was Barcelona’s Thiago Alcántara who ended up signing for Bayern Munich for £22m (£5.5m less than Fellaini). Thiago gave all the signs that he wanted to come to United but Woodwood could not close the deal and the player went to Bayern.
Next up was Cesc Fabregas who United made two blind bids for, and who by all accounts, did not want to leave Spain. So that was a waste of time and energy.
Then we move to this weekend and Real Madrid’s Mesut Özil and Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao. From accounts in Spain, Real Madrid accepted bids from both Arsenal and United for £44m, but Arsenal offered higher wages than we did. Read that again. Arsenal were willing to pay Ozil higher wages than the richest club in the country. Ozil is a brilliant player and would be a star at United, but Woodwood could not close the deal.
That leaves Ander Herrera and his €35 (£30.5m) buy out clause. That deal reportedly fell through because United did not want to pay £30.5m for him and they wanted Herrera to take a pay cut. If United felt that Herrera was overpriced at £30.5m why bid for him in the first place? Everyone knows that the Basque clubs always sell at the full asking price, as their Basque-only recruitment policy means they have limited ways of reinvesting and fans insist that players must not leave at below their asking price. So again I ask the question, why make the bid in the first place if you knew this Ed?
To make matters worse, United’s rivals have all strengthened their squads this summer, while United have basically stood pat with what they have. Not only are Chelsea and City stronger, but so are Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool. United finished last season 11 points ahead of City, 14 of Chelsea, 16 of Arsenal, 17 of Spurs and 18 of Liverpool. With the departure of Fergie and Woodwood disastrous summer transfer window, those gaps have shortened considerably.
What do you think of United’s summer transfer activity?