Deadline day was one long, frustrating day for us United fans as all kind of reports were flying around about players we “were on the verge of signing” only to see them seemingly collapse.
For all the names mentioned over the last couple of months (and United have always been connected with any player who can kick a ball straight for as long as I can remember) we ended up with one new signing.
My general feeling is that we were in for others but a combination of factors scuppered us in the end.
The Herrera deal seems to have been left too late and obfuscated by some pretty silly tax laws which would have taken his price well beyond what we were willing to pay, Fabregas understandably wanted to stay at Barca and the Khedira bid does seem like a pretty amateurish, panic punt.
I find it hard to believe that Moyes found himself out of his depth in this transfer window – after being at Preston and Everton for the last fifteen years or so, he’s certainly no rookie when it comes to transfer business but, obviously, he will rarely have had to deal with the likes of Barca and Real Madrid whilst in those jobs.
I’ve made fun of Ed Woodward on this site over the last couple of weeks and, from an outsider’s point of view, he doesn’t instill the same kind of confidence that David Gill did. Gill and Fergie (again, from an outsider’s point of view) looked like a great partnership and would often be seen together and Gill would often speak to the media about signings etc. Woodward on the other hand, seems a lot more reticent and is as likely to be seen with the equally reticent Glazers than manager Moyes.
For all I know, he might actually turn out to be better than Gill – he’s just not really showed it so far.
My own view is that Moyes would have spent much of the last twelve months absorbed with all things Everton. He would have been eyeing this transfer window with his “Everton Head” on. He would have known where he needed to strengthen Everton and would have been scouting players which he felt were within the Everton price bracket.
£30-40million signings would have been completely off his radar.
Then, seemingly out of the blue (if what we are told is true), he suddenly finds himself as the manager of Manchester United and the whole game changes for him.
Now he has to familiarise himself with what we have here and he’s only had two months in which to do so.
I just don’t think it’s as easy as just buying a couple of players for £30million+ because he needs to establish where some of our younger players are in their development (Januzaj and Zaha, for example) and ask himself if they are capable of doing a job without the need to spend £30million+.
I’m sure that Fergie has been offering some input in this area behind the scenes but it does still all rest on Moyes’ shoulders at the end of the day and the final decision has to be his.
What I do think has been forgotten amidst the fall-out of our seemingly farcical foray into the transfer market is that we entered this season with an already strong squad.
We’ve obviously now lost Scholes but with the arrival of Zaha and Fellaini, I would suggest that overall, we are stronger.
Had we finished last season in fourth or even fifth place then I would be worried right now but some seem to have forgotten that we actually won the Premier League at something of a canter last season with very much the same group of players.
Of course, that was with Fergie at the helm and now we have Moyes. Moyes is the unknown factor in all this. He is either big enough (and good enough) for the job or he isn’t but I would suggest that spending £80million on players wouldn’t change that either way.
My gut feeling right now is that everyone at United see this as the massive change that it is with Fergie retiring. Moyes will be given time and a top three placing would be deemed acceptable.
Over the course of this season, Moyes will lose his “Everton Head” and by May next year, his “United Head” will be fully screwed on. By all accounts, he is very methodical and thorough in his approach to signings and the rush and panic approach he was almost forced to adopt this summer would have gone completely against his way of doing things.
By next summer (or even by January, if targets are available), he will have done his homework properly and I’m sure that we’ll see a far more organised venture into the transfer market.
In the meantime, I just wish Moyes would remember that he has more than 14 players on the books and gives the likes of Kagawa and Zaha the chance they deserve… but that’s another story!