Transfer Impotency - Is the aura of Manchester United gone?
A new manager, a new pitch, new CEO, a new hitch. A lot has changed for Manchester United in the past few months. A “new era”, they say, has begun. Contrary to the expectations, they seem to have simply breezed through this renaissance period. David Moyes has taken over from the mighty Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson with ease. He proved the same in his maiden press conference as a Manchester United manager, as he took the bull (read media) by its horns.
Amidst all these transitions, one trait that United have not lost is their inability to lure world-class young talent. They have apparently inherited this quality from birth, from the looks of it. Yes they are the champions of England, yes they are reasonably competent in Europe; but when it comes to putting together paper and pen, United struggle every now and then.
Over the past five years, the so-called “potentially” top talent that Man United have acquired are namely – Michael Carrick, Anderson, Luis Nani, Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, Phil Jones and Shinji Kagawa. On this date, we all know who stands where.
Anderson is a liability, to say the least. Luis Nani on the other hand is the most sprawling example of inconsistency and un-fulfillment of potential. Michael Carrick is a star but, quite like Chicharito, he was not wanted by many when Man United bought him in 2006. So the move was relatively easy. Whereas Kagawa’s signing was possible because he made his love for United clear to Borrusia Dortmund. But where does the club actually act?
The list of the players who have snubbed the 3-time European champions in the past is everlasting. Wesley Sneijder, Alexis Sanchez, Moussa Dembele, Luka Modric, Lucas Moura and Eden Hazard have all neglected the club. Thiago Alcantara, who is considered as Manchester United’s top target this summer, is apparently heading to Bayern Munich. Pep Guardiola, the manager of Bayern Munich, has gone public about his interest in Thiago. He recently stated that Bayern will sign him or nobody. United fans, feel the déjà-vu!
Some of the readers would argue that Manchester United is not a buying team, but they believe in building and nurturing young players and eventually introducing them into the first team. But that was the United of 1990s. They are now way worse when it comes to that aspect of the game. Apart from Danny Welbeck, how many players have actually made a commendable impact? None.
If you follow the club religiously, you would’ve heard of Ravel Morrison, Paul Pogba and Mats Moller Daehli. These three were among the finest young prospects the club had. Today, none of them is a United player. Paul Pogba was admittedly the most affluent young player they had. He topped the pecking order when we talked of the potential roster. He oozed class. Every touch made by him was cheered by the United faithful. He was touted to be a first team regular. But all of a sudden, the love and chemistry went missing. He was sold to Juventus, for he wanted “first team opportunities”.
For the fans, it is hard to understand why exactly these players seem to overlook their beloved club. Is the aura gone? Is the romance and the fidelity dead? You have to wonder. When all the other fans rejoice in the transfer season, a wet blanket is flung on those whose heart rests in the red half of Manchester. Being a United fan, you have to learn to act pessimistic. The club has simply not evolved enough to wheel and deal in the market of modern football. Acting early doesn’t work, acting smartly does. United must learn to wheedle young players or they’d be in trouble someday.
It is an intriguing topic and the fans hope the club takes it seriously. Some say it is the club’s incompetence that’s responsible, some say it is the player’s call. But as of now, for the United faithful, it’s just another brick in the wall.