Even though Manchester United did eventually make that central midfielder signing they planned to make, it seemed like they overpaid for Marouane Fellaini, while the transfer window will be mostly remembered for the players they couldn’t get their hands on: Leighton Baines, Cesc Fabregas, Luka Modric, Thiago Alcantara, Ander Herrera, Fabio Coentrao and even Sami Khedira.
Is it David Moyes’ fault, or perhaps his Chief Executive, Ed Woodward’s fault? It’s hard to tell, but probably a fair share goes to both. United declared early on that they have an unlimited budget to go after player, but all that arrogant and pompous behavior didn’t match the faces they had leading the transfer charge. Moyes, who isn’t really known around Europe and doesn’t have the attraction power of Alex Ferguson, and Woodward, who probably didn’t have enough experience in handling these kinds of things.
United gave up on Thiago midway through negotiations, and Moyes was also persuaded to forget about Modric. He always wanted to move for Fellaini and Baines, but United swooped in far too late for the two players (After Fellaini’s reasonable £23 million release clause expired) and angered Everton by low-balling them a few times.
Then there was the whole Cesc Fabregas issue, as United insisted on trying to sign him even though he made no indication of wanting to leave Barcelona. They remembered there’s a player called Ander Herrera a bit too late, but the Spanish tax laws which made the transfer fee rise to nearly €40 million deterred United from the signing. Sami Khedira also became a very late option, as United did all in its power to not sign Fellaini, who Moyes likes, but knows isn’t worth the money (£28 million) United paid for him.
And then there’s the weird Fabio Coentrao issue, as he was about to arrive on a loan deal to Manchester United, but apparently, the fax from Manchester arrived a bit too late to Madrid, so the deal wasn’t made.
The squad is strong, strong enough to win a title. But it was known from back in May that United need a couple of new signings to improve the squad in both the Premier League title race and obviously their Champions League aspirations. Nothing was done, and the pressure on David Moyes grew and grew while his answers to the subject became more and more confused and laughable.
A disappointing start to the season isn’t the end of the world – United have been through this before, and we’re only three matches in. But the way the club handled itself through the transfer window was bad business, and showed an early sign that the David Moyes era won’t be taking over smoothly for the Alex Ferguson one.