Manchester United have gained a rather unwanted reputation since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill some 7 years ago, aside from the obvious fall in footballing standards, with the performance in the transfer market (barring last summers’ efforts) showing the club to be nothing short of a circus when it comes to dealings.
From poor quality (see Morgan Schneiderlin and Marouane Fellaini), to poor attitude (see Angel di Maria and Romelu Lukaku), to complete failure in procuring any targets at all (see right now), fans patience is hanging on by a fibre. All of which is compounded as Chelsea blow away competition so far this window, Manchester City continue to look for personnel and even cash-strapped Liverpool looking more active than United the melting pot is beginning to spill over.
The Jadon Sancho saga has gone from real excitement to tedium in record time (ironically, as has the saga itself) as the realisation that perhaps the poles are too far apart, and the financial facade of one of the richest clubs in the world is starting to show itself. It seems even the usual inundation of transfer rumours aren’t being quite so eagerly believed as they once were based solely on complete lack of faith in the men running the show. All of this would be eased somewhat if other deals were being worked on simultaneously, but it seems that United operate on a ‘one target at once’ policy which is only serving to antagonise fans in numbers.
So what is the issue? Is it that Ed Woodward – undoubtedly skilled in the commercial world – is becoming fully exposed for the final time? A non-football man dealing in football matters has seldom been a successful partnership, and his insistence upon boasting about the ability the club SHOULD have when it comes to this side of operating is outdated now other sides have overtaken them in recent years. Is it the imaginary Director of Football that seems to never materialise? There can’t be much argument that leaving Solskjaer and an appointed person to work in unison, whilst Woodward concentrates on making money, would benefit in realising the vision last summer set out. Or is it that the financial impact of the last 6 months is far greater than we are being allowed to know? United lose more in match-day revenue than any other side in the league, a big spend in 2019 matched with a large sum for Fernandes will have undoubtedly affected things, but why play it so coy?
It helps nothing that the actions of United’s rivals is so prolific – Chelsea buoyed with the fact they spent nothing for 12 months, and City by the Sugar Daddy, oil tycoon that has made them a successful side – and fans are within their rights to grow more and more frustrated with the absolute nothingness we’ve been exposed to. The only sniffs of activity has been youth players and a deal that looks as though it will never be done, leaving such little time for anything to happen, and something really needs to happen for the required improvement.
The biggest fall has come from the hope 4 successful signings brought with them. Years of stop gaps, injury-prone nothings, quick fixes and chancers wore us down until Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James and Bruno Fernandes came along and promised us so much. There’s still time, but the distraction of Europe and soon the distraction of the league and cups will rear their heads and offer a convenient excuse, Solskjaer getting the best from what he has at his disposal doesn’t help the cause and Bruno Fernandes being, well, Bruno Fernandes, papers over a lot of cracks. And while other sides are certainly in a great deal of peril in the current climate, privilege dictates our feelings of malaise at not signing a £108m youngster (Mirror). The divide was already a chasm, and the atmosphere has been toxic before, but an important summer with no signings? There’s no coming back from that.