It is no secret that Manchester United need world-class players this summer and some supporters will judge the club on the fact that at this moment in time, the club have only managed to sign Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Vanja Milinković-Savić and Marcos Rojo, who is undergoing a medical in Manchester this morning ahead of the completion of his move. Arturo Vidal is a player who has been linked all summer, and despite stories in the newspaper, but as Andy Mitten said on United In Press on MUTV on Tuesday evening, there is a lot of noise that doesn’t seem to be going away. He also stated that United has categorically denied interest in the Chilean midfielder, but people in Turin, people who Mitten trusts are saying different. He thinks Vidal will leave Juventus and Juventus will sell him. He even suggested that United may have used third parties to secure the deal like they did with the signing of Juan Mata from Chelsea in January.
Back in July, MUTV conducted an interview with executive vice chairman Ed Woodward over in Los Angeles before the match against MLS side LA Galaxy in Pasadena. The Old Trafford money-man said that the club was working with manager Louis van Gaal regarding targets and that United were still a huge attraction to top football stars around the world and that they are willing to invest in the side with the club being financially strong with money available to invest. He also said that there was a lot of work going on behind the scenes and what supporters should “watch this space”. This is one of the reasons why supporters are getting annoyed with the lack of spending going on at this moment in time. Ed Woodward needs to not say these things in the future. Right now it seems like he has not learned anything from last summer, but he does need to be judged after the closure of the summer transfer window, rather than before as there are still 12 days remaining at this moment in time.
Woodward also suggested that United could spent £60, £70, £80 million on a single player, yet when it comes to Angel di Maria, who is reportedly valued at €65 million but on Revisita de la Liga Spanish journalist Guillem Balague stated Carlo Ancelotti wants the Argentinian to stay United wanted him but the price [€65 million plus] was too high. He also suggested that this could go to the wire. It is very hard to understand what is going on right now. You have the executive vice chairman of the club saying one thing, then you have comments that suggest everything he has said was nothing but fantasy. You then think about the fact that Woodward said the club could attract the top football stars from around the world, you only have to look in the media over the last two days to read about two players who have apparently turned United down this summer, providing these reports are true of course, but it all seems to go against Ed Woodward at this moment in time.
On Tuesday there were reports that Borussia Dortmund winger/forward Marco Reus had turned Manchester United down. These reports did not come from the player, his agents of his club, but from a club that were also linked to him this summer Atlético Madrid. The Daily Mail carried the story with quotes from the Madrid clubs president Enrique Cerezo reportedly said:
“I don’t know where the Marco Reus rumour came from. It’s a player who, at this time, is impossible to us.
“Look, he had an offer for a lot of money from Manchester United and he has not gone… we will not sign him with a lesser offer.”
This could be something to nothing, but if true, it would suggest that Woodward’s comments about United still being attractive to top footballers around the world were not in fact true. I mean Reus may not have wanted to leave his current club, or he has an offer to go elsewhere in the future, there are many reasons as to why a player rejects an offer, but many will use this against Woodward as it backs up their thoughts. You only need to look in the media today [Thursday] to see another high-profile player who has rejected Manchester United, this time Bayern Munich’s Thomas Müller. The Mirror have reported comments made in an interview with German publication Bild. The World Champion was asked if United nearly signed him, he said:
“Of course. I was aware that I could earn more by making that transfer.
“The amount that foreign clubs were offering me was astronomical. But Bayern are my club, a change was not an issue for me.”
It does nothing to fight Woodward’s corner here, but not all top footballers want to leave their clubs, and Müller seems to be one of those willing to stay at Bayern because they are his club. Again it will still be used to suggest that United cannot attract the top footballers in the world, but what can you do. I would like to think that if a team like Real Madrid or Barcelona came in for Müller, he would reject them also, but without that being the case we just do not know. The answer to the question remains to be seen; can Manchester United still attract the best players in the world? At this moment in time it doesn’t look the case, but at the closure of the summer transfer window on Monday 1st September, we will know. There still seems to be a lot of work going on at the club and I am sure Louis van Gaal has shown his frustration to Woodward after lack of action in the transfer window. Now that Marcos Rojo’s deal is closer to finalisation, there might be more signings in the pipeline, but I won’t hold my breath. We saw this dismal performance in the transfer window last summer whilst David Moyes was in charge, perhaps this shows that it was not just the former managers dithering that caused problems…
UPDATE: Since this piece was written this morning, Manchester United have issued a statement denying the claims made by Thomas Müller and Atlético Madrid president Enrique Cerezo regarding Marco Reus. The statement said:
“It is not true that we [Manchester United] made offers for either [Thomas] Müller or [Marco] Reus at any stage.”
This in effect makes the club look ever more inferior at this moment in time. I just do not understand what is going on. Ed Woodward says one thing and nothing happens. It is pretty obvious to me and many other Manchester United supporters that something is going wrong somewhere. There is talk, albeit premature, that United could now face a period of time out of the top four and UEFA Champions League football. Many people seem to be subscribing to the doom and gloom that the media is shadowing over the club, many more seem to think it is alright them to stage protests because these ‘world-class signings’ that were effectively promised are not forthcoming. I find this very fickle that people are not willing to protest to end the Glazer regime at the club, it should not be whether or not transfer are secured or not, it should be happening anyway!