After another shocking away performance at the weekend, sections of the fan-base have become more vocal in their desire to see Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer relieved of his managerial duties, however it’s clear that the problems run deeper than that. Four managers in six years and all of them have struggled to achieve anything close to the success that is usually associated with Manchester United. The seemingly haphazard transfer policy that has plagued the club the last six years, is arguably one of the biggest factors that is hampering United’s chances at reasserting any sort of dominance in the league again.
Since taking over from David Gill in 2013, Manchester United Chief Executive Officer, Ed Woodward has been the man in charge of the transfers. His eye for a commercial sponsorship deal might be second to none, helping to generate record levels of revenue for the club but his ability to use that revenue and sign the right players has been questionable to say the least.
In a document released yesterday, containing minutes from a fan forum held earlier in the month, a spokesman from the club defended United’s transfer policy:
“We are committed to getting this (recruitment) right and there has been huge investment in this area to put our recruitment department into a position to be able to deliver the manager the players he wants. This process is significantly more effective than four or five years ago.”
There might have been huge investment as the club claim and a gross spend of £968million since 2013 shows that, but has the money always been spent wisely?
Five years ago (since that it is the time parameter the club want to use), Woodward oversaw a summer transfer window where Angel di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind all joined the club, and despite early optimism about those signings, Shaw and Rojo are the only players who remain at the club with the latter reportedly being denied a move to Everton during the recent transfer window.
So, is the transfer process significantly more effective five years later as the club claim?
United have just signed Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James and whilst the three signings Woodward oversaw this summer have looked good so far, United still looked weak in the market and failed to keep up with the other big clubs of the world. Letting Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku leave without signing replacements whilst simultaneously never being genuine contenders for the likes of Matthijs de Ligt’s signature, shows there is still a naivety about Woodward’s transfer windows.
Many sections of the fanbase believe that his time is up and that it is long overdue for the club to finally follow suit and appoint a Director of Football to focus on all transfer activity. With the likes of Edwin van der Sar, Rio Ferdinand and Darren Fletcher all being mentioned and now Patrice Evra using cryptic Instagram posts to suggest he’d be interested in the role (and claiming Paulo Dybala would be the first signing he’d make if he was in charge), is it time to add another ex-player to the staff at Old Trafford?