With less than two weeks left in the transfer market, another Manchester United manager is getting hung out to dry by Unted’s executive vice chairmanEd Woodward.
Last season David Moyes took a lot of heat for United’s laughable summer transfer activity, but as history is set to repeat itself, it is clear that the fault for United’s poor season last season rests with Woodward.
Woodward has been brilliant extracting maximum revenue from United’s corporate partners, selling the brand around the world. But as his third transfer window gets closer to closing he has yet to demonstrate that he can apply that negotiating savvy to a very different trading environment; the transfer market.
His first transfer window was abject, characterised by a panicky attempts to land unattainable assets, culminating in the overpriced purchase of Marouane Fellaini, who only the most naive could mistake for a Manchester United footballer.
His second resulted in the hugely expensive purchase of Juan Mata, a decent, inventive player, but one who has yet to demonstrate any significant match-winning prowess.
And while there might be a degree of understanding for Woodward’s lacklustre early showing, given that he was new to the job and was initially partnered by a manager renowned for his caution, any well of support has long since dried up among United fans: he simply has to get it right this time.
Urgent action is required to beef up this squad if LVG is to have any hope of competing with the elite teams in England.
Van Gaal may be a fine tactician and an terrific man manager. But as was demonstrated by Saturday’s wretchedly thin opening performance against Swansea, he is not an magician.
It United are to get back into the mix with the best teams in the Premier League, Woodward is going to have to deliver something pretty spectacular over the next fortnight.
While United have just signed Sporting Lisbon defender Marcos Rojo, to add to previous signings Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw, Rojo as reportedly van Gaal’s fourth choice central defender and not a lot of pundits are convinced that he is the kind of world class defender that United need. Rojo’s signing is just part of strengthening the United squad. Whatever the cost, Woodward needs to land at least three players already at the top of their game: another centre back, a central midfielder and a pacy wide man.
Anything less and another season of disappointment and frustration beckons. On Woodward everything depends.