The 2014 Summer Transfer Window
So the transfer window has been shut for some days now. English clubs spent a ridiculous £850m on players and, given our lack of transfer activity in the past few years, it is surprising to learn that 18% of that £850m was spent by Manchester United.
It’s been a while since the powers that be at Manchester United decided to spend the money that OUR club actually makes. It’s not money that we got from some sugar daddy. It is money that we made through successful seasons and our enormous fan base. The latter makes it very appealing for companies worldwide to advertise with our club. So, basically, it was about time our club invested some money on new players. Last summer’s transfer window was a travesty while the one before that only saw RVP added to an already ailing side.
Woodward started the transfer window like he was raring to go. England had just been eliminated from the world cup (translate that to: very early this summer) and photos of him with Herrera surfaced on the Internet. A mere 24 hours later, he was at it again. This time it was Luke Shaw joining our club. After a devastating season, I was finally feeling optimistic. It seemed that people at the club had finally learned their lesson. No coach in the world can perform Ferguson’s miracles of taking a not-so-brilliant side to the pinnacle of English football. Fergie did it with very little spending. Moyes was given very little financial backing and we all know what happened then.
However, I wasn’t optimistic for long. July saw no transfer activity and a couple of Woodward interviews did little to up my hopes of having a successful transfer window. He told us to “watch this space” and those words immediately turned into an Internet joke as several memes were created to ridicule our vice CEO as well as the club. The excellent preseason results were a welcomed boost; we looked like a team playing with confidence. Heck, even Young looked like a world-beater. But those results couldn’t paper over the fact that our side was crying for more quality.
LVG said that he was going to give the current players time to show him what they’re capable of. I thought that was only fair but I had a gut feeling he was only saying that because he wasn’t being given any financial backing by the owners. Although he looks like a really arrogant twat, LVG was actually true to his words. He was fair. He gave every player in our squad a chance to impress him. The likes of Anderson, Cleverley, Chicharito and Kagawa all played a part when the season started. A handful of young academy graduates also featured in LVG’s sides. Blackett played all three premier league games and, considering his lack of experience, he’s done well.
The chance was given to all players and LVG wasn’t impressed nor were the fans. With 4 games played we haven’t won a single game. We were absolutely humiliated at MK Dons, lost to Swansea, were lucky to draw vs. Sunderland and played a boring 0-0 draw vs. the mighty Burnley.
The final spending spree in this transfer window started with the acquisition of Rojo. An Argentine who looks very tough. Definitely tougher than what our current defenders look like. He could have played at least two games already but there are problems with his work permits. Apparently, he’s quite tough off the pitch as well. To my astonishment, this buy was soon followed by the arrival of Di Maria, a world-class player. The Argentine international was rarely linked to a move to Man Utd so I was quite surprised to learn he was Manchester bound. With his price tag, the only Manchester team that could afford him was City….well at least that’s what I thought. BUT I was wrong; Di Maria is our new number 7. Excellent.
Daley Blind, who had been linked with a move to United since the world cup, soon found his way to Old Trafford on transfer deadline day but this arrival was dwarfed by the potential acquisition of Falcao. Out of nowhere, a player who looked destined to join Real Madrid, was reportedly on his was to Manchester. I don’t think I’ve refreshed my twitter feed as much as I did on this transfer deadline day. Was he really joining? Yep, by dusk he was undergoing a medical at Carrington and some hours later (2 hours after the deadline), we had a new number 9. The deal brought to a close the best transfer window that we’ve had in a while. All players we’ve bought are quality and an upgrade to what we already had.
In May I wrote this:
“We’ll need to buy, at least, 6 excellent players before the start of next season; a left back, two central defenders, two central midfielders and a winger.”
I should be well pleased (in fact I am!). We bought a left back, a winger, a central defender who could also play as a fullback, a proper central midfielder, a defensive midfielder who could play in defence and a world-class striker. How will these players fit in van Gaal’s formation? I don’t care, that’s our Manager’s problem to worry about.
Welcome all to Old Trafford.
A transfer window obviously also sees players seeking pastures new at different clubs. Vida, Evra and Rio left earlier in the summer and a host of other United players followed in their footsteps.
Chicharito joined Real Madrid on a season loan. If he was seeking first team football, then I don’t know whether this is the right move for him. Having said that, I believe he’ll have a good season in Spain. The quality of the players around him will help him get goals. Although it’s just a loan, I doubt whether he’ll play a competitive game for us again. It’s a shame it had to end like this but he’s been off the boil for a couple of seasons now. Still, he guaranteed goals and 59 goals in 154 games is a very good stat, especially considering that he came off the bench in most games he’s played. There’s no doubting his qualities inside the box but he didn’t have the best of touches and often slowed down our build-ups. I like Chicharito and I hope he does well….even though he’s at a club I truly despise. Will always remember his goal vs Chelsea, at Old Trafford, in a title decider.
Other players were also loaned out. Nani, Zaha, Powell and Cleverley all got a season loan with a club or another. It is very probable that we won’t see Nani and Cleverley wear the red of United again and, to be honest, I don’t really mind that. Hopefully Zaha and Powell can develop even further and push into the first team next year.
Kagawa also exited Old Trafford after some mediocre seasons. We had high expectations but he just wasn’t suited to our way of play. There’s no doubting he’s a very good player but he never really excelled at Old Trafford. Not many memories to recall except for his hat-trick vs Norwich. He has now returned to Borussia Dortmund after playing 57 games and scoring 7 goals. We also got £8m for him, that’s a handsome profit made by the German side after selling him to us for £18m a couple years ago.
Buttner was sold to Dynamo Moscow while Macheda got a free transfer to Cardiff. The former wasn’t Man Utd standard while the latter peaked on his first game with the first team. No one will ever forget Macheda’s goal vs Aston Villa. Magic. Bebe is another player who sought a new experience. Let’s face it, we won’t really miss him. How he ended playing for Manchester United is a huge mystery. A transfer I was surprised with was that of Tom Lawrence. I’ve been hearing a lot of good stuff about this guy so I was quite surprised to see him go. He debuted for Man Utd last season vs Hull City and did quite well.
Finally, the departure that ruined a very good transfer window was that of Danny Welbeck. Thinking about it still makes me feel a bit sick. I can’t believe our Danny is gone. He was Manchester United through and through. His celebrations whenever we scored a goal and his work ethic on the pitch showed that he loved our club dearly. If anything, I thought LVG’s “philosophy” would suit Danny. Instead, he was told that he’s surplus to requirements and sold to one of our rivals. He wasn’t really appreciated at our club by our fans. Many moaned about his lack of goals. He did seem to stumble whenever in the box, but he had other qualities that made him a starter in Ferguson’s and Moyes’ sides. We’ve replaced Welbeck with Falcao. We’ve obviously had an upgrade because the Colombian is a better striker BUT it’s still quite sad to see Welbeck go. He’s the only striker that got through the ranks at Old Trafford that I can recall during Fergie’s era. We needed his pace so I can’t see why we’ve shipped him to Arsenal. I hoped that it would be a loan deal but it’s a permanent one. The £16m we got for him is a bit of an insult. With English players being so overpriced, I can’t see why Danny’s price isn’t somewhere close to the £30m mark. If he’s played as a central striker, he’ll do very well at the Emirates especially with players like Cazorla, Ramsey and Ozil supplying him. I really hope he does well there, people will then realise what a gem we’ve just lost. In 142 games he scored 29 goals, not the best of records but we all know that Danny brought more to the game than just goals. I will definitely miss “dat guy” Danny.
So that’s it, a looong post to round up a pretty eventful transfer window. With the exception of Welbeck’s exit, I’m pretty delighted with the way our club dealt in this window. We’ve got ourselves 6 quality players and shipped out some deadwood. It’s a shame that Anderson is still around though but this will definitely be his final year at Old Trafford. His contract will end next summer.
What's very positive is that our new players look like humble guys who are ready to work hard. I used to think that Falcao thought he was all that but I’ve seen some interviews with him and he seems like a genuine bloke. When he left Athletico Madrid he organised a press conference to say his goodbyes and he could barely complete a whole sentence without breaking down crying. Also, he was always smiling in his interview with MUTV and looked really grateful to be at the club. Di Maria is also a down to earth guy and so is Blind and Herrera. Many have been saying that LVG is selling the soul of this club. The players we bought aren’t really primadonnas with egos bigger than our stadium. Hopefully, the family feel that our club is renowned for will still be present in the coming season.
|Really excited about Willo.|
Also, everybody who knows me knows that I’d love our squad to have a British backbone. Fergie was keen on bringing British talent to the club but LVG seems to be very different. The last thing I want is to have a Man Utd side with no home grown / British players. LVG might bring us success but if he destroys the tradition of Manchester United, then no amount of success will ever make up for that loss. So I hope he shows some faith in our youngsters, if they're good enough.
Come on United!
|A picture of Real Madrid and Barca's 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 was doing the rounds on the internet last month. Both have world class players. Ours ain't too shabby either!|
|Woodward has done the business, now it's over to you.|