Former Manchester United manager David Moyes could have signed Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba in the summer of 2013, instead the replacement for Sir Alex Ferguson opted to spend the summer chasing Cesc Fabregas, who had no intention of joining the Old Trafford club, according to reports.
Moyes was rightfully sacked in April 2014 after seeing United regress considerable despite being the reigning champions of the Premier League, exiting the FA Cup in the first round, the League Cup in the semi-final, falling to Sunderland on penalties and getting knocked out of the UEFA Champions League weeks before he was sacked.
United finished seventh that season, which was pretty much defined at the time Moyes was sacked. The man nicknamed the ditherer, especially in the transfer window, seems to have made pigs ear of his time as United manager, despite being given a six-year contract at the moment he replaced the legend that was Ferguson.
Just one year after Pogba left the Old Trafford club as a free agent, not yet breaking into the first team at the club, the Frenchman, at least according to The Athletic, was open to returning to the Theatre of Dreams, however, the ‘Chosen One’ opted to chase Cesc Fabregas, who was at Barcelona the time, despite having no intention to sign for United.
At the time, Moyes was led to believe that Fabregas was interested in leaving the Catalan club with Andres Iniesta and Xavi the chosen midfielders, giving him little playing time. United made a £25 million bid for the former Arsenal midfielder, which was unsuccessful and resulted in the player staying in Spain for another year.
Pogba, at the time, had not become the star that he had seasons later for Juventus but a little bit of hindsight could have saved United from an £89 million club and then world record fee from being spent on the player. However, United could still have Moyes at the club now, which based on what we know, does not bear thinking about.
Obviously, Arsenal were the club that Fabregas wanted to return to but seemingly, based on comments from the player, that did not happen either, instead the player agreed to return to London, with Chelsea, a year after United were interested in signing the player. It is probably for the best as the player was close to passing his best. Fabregas said:
“Once I decide to leave (Barcelona), Arsenal will have the first option of any other club and I cannot speak to any other club for one week to see if Arsenal want me or not.
“Arsene didn’t give an answer, we just had to wait one full week to see if they responded. Definitely this was my first option, in my mind I’m telling everyone I’m going to Arsenal – this is what I want.
“Arsene can see this. I didn’t want to be a beggar, they know the situation, in one week they haven’t said anything, straight away I knew they probably didn’t want me back.
“They waited the full week without giving me a response. After the week I had to take my chance, I had Manchester City, United and then I spoke to Mourinho – which I didn’t think would ever happen.
“To be honest, after I left the room with Mourinho I said, ‘that’s it, I don’t need to talk to anyone else, I’m going to Chelsea.’ What he told me, the team he wanted to make, what he thought of me, how he wanted me to play, this is what I wanted.
“On top of that it’s London and not Manchester, London was my home.”
Looking back at the mistakes that were made by United and Moyes, I would not change them for the world. Ed Woodward had to learn a lesson and the only shame there is that is took more than six years for that to happen. The days of chasing players all summer seem to have gone with United now chasing player they want who will make the team better.