Martin Keown has described Manchester United’s deadline day as “embarrassing” and says it would not have happened under Sir Alex Ferguson.
It was suggested in the build-up to deadline day that United were not in the market for a new striker but were chasing a wide forward, with Southampton’s Sadio Mane reported as a target.
The Red Devils eventually signed Anthony Martial from Monaco in a deal which could be worth £58million, while the club was also embroiled in debate with Real Madrid over the protracted sale of David de Gea, with each side blaming the other for the collapse of the deal.
Keown has criticised United’s handling of the De Gea deal, and has also branded their deadline day business as “embarrassing”.
“Banishing him to the reserves will have done nothing to encourage him to stay,” Keown wrote in the Daily Mail on De Gea. “The international break now means things can start to settle down but De Gea, who stayed professional throughout the saga, must surely play on his return.
“You also wonder whether Van Gaal’s treatment of De Gea and fellow Spanish keeper Victor Valdes had any influence on why one-time target Pedro ended up at Chelsea.
“We do not see what happens in the dressing room but it is a concern when former players queue up to criticise Van Gaal’s ruthless treatment. Once a relationship is broken, there seems to be no going back.”
Discussing United’s deadline day, Keown continued: “It felt like United were rolling the dice on deadline day. It is hard to imagine that kind of soap opera happening under Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill. It was embarrassing.
“The signing of Anthony Martial is a huge gamble. He has been compared to Thierry Henry and if he is half as good then he will be a decent player.
“Van Gaal likes a pacey ball-carrier — he had Arjen Robben at Bayern Munich and tried and failed to make Angel di Maria that man at United — and Martial fits the bill.
“He might even be the answer to their striker dilemma but it is still a big risk to take on an uncapped youngster.”