12 Sep 2014

Manchester United Ruining Football?

'Panic buying', 'paid over the odds', 'they've only signed for the money', 'ruining football', 'lost their identity' ........ Just a few of the things Manchester United have been accused of since the transfer window closed in September.

It was the media who reported that Manchester United had a '£300m war chest' at their disposal, they claimed that was the sum of money required to get the club competing again for Premier and Champions League titles, so when £150m of that reported transfer kitty was invested in the squad, the knives quickly appeared? Shocked? No, not really, United help media outlets to shift newspapers off the selves.

United have signed 7 players this summer, the fee they paid for them players is regularly touted around as if the club has committed a crime, but we never hear about the outgoings do we? A total of 11 players left in a mixture of sales and free transfers and 7 were loaned out, so that's 18 departures.

Former Manchester United player Mike Phelan, who also was Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant at Old Trafford, has recently criticised Louis van Gaals spending spree, claiming that the club have overlooked youth in order to get back to the top, he said: "The club's priority now is to win things so, unfortunately, other things take a step back."

The priority is always to win things isn't it? As for abandoning the history of the club which involves developing and giving youth players a pathway to the first team, why is there no mention of Tyler Blackett and Jesse Lingard? Both products of United's youth development system who started the first Premier League game of this season against Swansea at Old Trafford?

During the transfer deadline day deals, Danny Welbeck was sold to Arsenal for £16m, it's a transfer that divided opinions between reds' supporters, personally I'd have kept the Longsight lad. The press quickly arrived at a conclusion that the arrival of Radamel Falcao, meant that Welbeck had been pushed out of the club, there is probably an element of truth to that, but, they never mentioned that teenager James Wilson, a product of the clubs youth academy was quickly promoted to the first team squad following Welbecks departure?

Yes, United have invested heavily this season, but they required this injection of new blood, they needed some world class quality, they achieved that when they acquired the services of Argentine Ángel Di María and Columbian Radamel Falcao. How anyone can say that these two players were 'panic buys' is beyond me? The Falcao loan deal was a consummate no brainer.

'Panic buying' is the term people usually label teams with if they sign a player on deadline day, and when David Moyes signed Marouane Fellaini in the final minutes of last seasons window, I fully agreed that it was a panic buy, even though the club tried telling supporters that Fellaini was always the number one target, we all knew deep down that he wasn't.

The only panic buying United were involved in this season, was probably when the learned that Radamel Falcao was a possibility, and even then, the only element of panic, would've been rushing through a deal in time to make sure all the necessary paperwork was completed to obtain one of the worlds top goal scorers.

United smashed the British transfer record for Di María, yes, the club paid over the odds for the player, £59.7m is a pharaonic amount, but overpaying by roughly £10m for authentic proven world class talent is nothing for a club like United when you take into account the commercial revenue they generate.

Liverpool have splashed around £100m on new arrivals this season, but because they received £75m for Luis Suarez they don't get criticised like Manchester United? It's off the field deals that have ensured that United can compete competitively in the transfer market, football is sadly now a business and the team from Old Trafford tick all the boxes when it comes to complying with the newly introduced financial fair play regulations. Yes, they are in debt, but it's a debt that is serviceable and the club are on track to rid themselves of that vile loan in the future.

As for rival supporters suggesting that these players are only signing for United for they money, well yes, they are being rewarded with riches, who isn't in top flight football today? Manchester United is much more than that, the fact they are not in the Champions League has had most people outside of Old Trafford suggesting that it's all about the money for these new arrivals. Louis van Gaal has been instrumental in these signings, I doubt David Moyes could've attracted a Falcao or a Di María.

Under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United ticked along smoothly, when he retired, the main component was removed. He was responsible for getting all the parts to work at their maximum potential, he even managed to get average parts to go beyond the call of duty, they'd have ran through brick walls for him, under Moyes, the intensity dropped and those same parts decided to start walking around the brick walls.

A lot of the bitterness aimed at Manchester United recently has come from the blue half of Manchester, which is quite ironic really, especially when some Chelsea and Manchester City supporters claim that 'United are trying to buy the league' and that players are now joining the red half for financial gain, maybe this financial fair play ruling is the real reason City supporters are so outraged?

Manchester United ruining football? A chucklesome comment at best. Especially when you consider what other European greats in the game spend like Real Madrid and Barcelona, but they're not ruining football are they? No, just Manchester United. Oh and yes, I was being facetious if you hadn't already worked it out.

There will never be another group of players at Old Trafford like the ones that graduated in 1992, but I guarantee that United will continue to blood youth with the already established players they decide to purchase, history suggests that, but could you really say the same about those over at Stamford Bridge or the Etihad? It's a bet I recommend you avoid, you'd have a better chance of a return backing the blind three legged horse in the 3:30pm at Wolverhampton next Friday.