Despite being the second richest club and boasting overflowing coffers, Manchester United’s have floundered terribly in the transfer market by spending top dollar on mediocre performers. It has become painfully obvious that they need an overhaul in their approach to the transfer market.
With the bumper TV deal about to kick in next season, Premier League teams will be amongst the richest in global football as they splash the cash in efforts to climb the table. Having spent the best part of £300M over the last few seasons, clearly trying to throw money at a problem is nothing new to Manchester United. Yet despite breaking the bank every summer, few would say that the Manchester United squad today is a marked improvement on the one Sir Alex Ferguson left when he retired.
With new managers and new ideas, the offloading of certain players was to be expected. Buttner and Bebe were never going to make the grade at United while others like Nani, Rafael and Anderson showcased their talents on a far too infrequent basis to be worth keeping around. Replacements were clearly needed to reinforce yet much of the money spent has been squandered.
Apart from losing £15M and £9M on the purchases and subsequent sales of Di Maria and Zaha respectively, to say that the £80 odd million spent on Fellaini, Herrera and Memphis each have not seen sufficient returns would be an understatement. Even the £16M spent on the erratic and inconsistent Rojo looks like folly when compared to the £5M West Ham spent on Cresswell in the same transfer window or the estimated £12M spent by Spurs on Alderweireld last summer. Indeed, apart from Martial and to a certain extent Blind and Mata, United’s transfer dealings have been spectacularly unsuccessful.
For this, Chief Executive Ed Woodward has to raise his hands up and take the bulk of the responsibility. Not only did Woodward fail to sufficiently back David Moyes in his first transfer window, he seemed to perpetually chasing shadows by going after but never securing the likes of Ronaldo, Thiago and Ramos. It would not be harsh to say that Woodward has utterly flopped in replacing David Gil as badly as both Moyes and Van Gaal have in replicating Sir Alex Ferguson.
With money to burn and results less than spectacular, the pressure on Manchester United to throw silly money around and make a marquee signing this summer has never been greater. Having been linked to dozens of players all across Europe, United seriously need to sit down and evaluate who they need and are able to get rather than embark on another misguided attempt to play Football Manager.
Guardiola setting up shop across town represents a real threat to United’s perceived superiority even if the last few seasons have been a sobering dose of reality for everyone involved in the red half of Manchester. If United wish to regain their spot at the pinnacle of the English game, they desperately need to give beleaguered Woodward some help when it comes to transfers. Changes need to be made and fast before they wash another king’s ransom down the drain come July.