As the clock ticks down towards Jim White’s favourite day of the year, United find themselves firmly in the transfer window shadow cast by Chelsea and Manchester City. Or do they? United fans have been whipped in to a mass panic about the apparent paucity of the title winning squad by a media frenzy intent on putting David Moyes under the spot light. And I hate to admit it, but up until Friday afternoon, I was starting to twitch.
I’ve spent the transfer window biting my lip in an attempt to reserve judgement on Moyes’ first transfer window. However, from biting my lip, I now find myself biting my nails as the transfer deadline creeps ever closed. And now I find myself biting on the media stories reviewing Moyes’ ability to operate at the top end of the market.
There are positives to take from what has been a flaccid transfer window. Of course, most important is that our troubled but loveable Scouser is set to stay. The manager was steadfast in his refusal to sell the portly but potent forward. And for once, a Premiership manager’s promise that a player is not for sale actually meant that a player was not for sale. The reward for such resolve? A man of the match performance against his would be employers set to a soundtrack of a vociferous Old Trafford crowd. Another positive was of course the defeat inflicted on Mourinho and Chelsea at the hands of Moyes. Not only would Moyes have been selling a top class player in Wayne Rooney, he would also have sold one hell of a stick to be beaten with. Should United lose Rooney and ever draw, lack imagination or, God forbid, should Chelsea win the league then Moyes would be castigated for his decision to sell our most creative player.
Another positive aspect to our transfer dealings? Well, that’s easy, a settle squad of Champions. It’s very rarely mentioned but unlike in other squads, our activity/lack of activity has meant that nobody has been portrayed as second best, nobody keeping a place warm until the end of the window and nobody destabilised. Has Mourinho really injected the much needed confidence in to Torres’s game by pursuing Rooney like a lovesick schoolgirl? Surely not. Much the same as Juan Mata, arguably Chelsea’s best player, being marginalised while every attacking player on the continent has had a medical at Chelsea. After they’ve had one at White Hart Lane first of course.
Although he has been ridiculed for doing so, David Moyes has identified his targets and placed bids. I know it’s hard to believe such outlandish behaviour but I think the idea of lodging bids for players a club wants might just catch on. Really, what else was he to do? And this nonsense that the media would have known nothing about United’s ‘failed’ bids under Ferguson doesn’t quite wash. Did Sir Alex Ferguson never miss out on a player? People talk as though the first anybody knew about United wanting Robin Van Persie was when he stepped up to take a penalty against Southampton. And of course, how could Ferguson have missed out on a top class midfielder? The last time he was in the market for a centre midfielder the club’s transfer record was £100 and a bag of footballs!!
Clearly, the squad is a little weak in certain parts and two or three new faces would be most welcome. Not at left back I hasten to add. The idea of Leighton Baines arriving to displace Patrice Evra is a major concern. Anybody, Sir Alex Ferguson apart, who knows anything about football knows that United are crying out for somebody to do more than stand next to the wonderfully talented Michael Carrick. Now I like Tom Cleverly, I like Ryan Giggs and I even have a tiny soft stop for the cuddly Anderson. But we need not only a midfield but a central midfield pairing.
The old adage that there is no value in the market doesn’t really apply. Of course, there is no value when you’re looking to buy a replacement for Van Persie, if your Arsene Wenger or when buying any player from Daniel Levy’s Tottenham. But surely, there is value in rivalling Tottenham for the impressive Eriksen for £10million? Or splurging on the likes of the exciting Lamela or Willian. Not only would such a purchase quench the thirst of United’s fans, but also would provide competition to Tom Cleverly.
The majority of the transfer window has passed by and all in all, I am impressed with Moyes’ persona, with his targets (apart from Baines) and with his handling of the Wayne Rooney saga. Fellaini looks as though he will be arriving shortly and, with the acquisition of the hugely talented Ander Herrera or the reliable Daniele De Rossi, I think Moyes can be satisfied with his navigation through the first transfer window. It was never in doubt was it?
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