Manchester United have been left shorthanded after deadline day following a summer which offered so much promise.
United's transfer dealings this summer are in stark contract to the days of Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill. The last time United made a deadline day purchase was five years ago in the summer of 2008 when United broke their transfer record with a £30.75million deal for the languid Dimitar Berbatov.
They have always been very professional and precise in their transfer dealings by usually getting all their business done early. Which is why this summer transfer activity for the reigning champions comes as a massive surprise. £27.5million man Marouane Fellaini is United's sole first team acquisition, and even he was confirmed after deadline day.
David Moyes has been fully aware of the the midfield situation at United and went about trying to rectify by pushing through deals for Thiago Alcantara, Cesc Fabregas and Ander Herrera.
Thiago opted to join former mentor Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, while Fabregas decided to stay and a bizarre occurrence happened when Manchester United reportedly sent a three man delegation to trash out a deal for Herrera, who bizarrely turned out to be imposters.
It all leaves a very sour taste in the mouths of United fans. The way they have gone about their transfer business is alien to the old Manchester United. With it being far too public, amateurish and embarrassing. Fellaini will be a good addition to the side though and rectify their lack of physicality in midfield, but it is hardly marquee.
United's failure to acquire high-profile signings will disappoint United fans when manager Moyes said United are always open to the concept of signing the best players around, back in July.
"Isn't it great that the club says, 'There's no budget here, you go get who you want to get, just go and do it'," he told reporters.
"We are looking at the best players. I do think it's important that we show people we are carrying on the traditions and trying to take the club forward."
Still, United shouldn't feel too despondent. There are a lot of positives and they are the reigning champions so deserve respect. Despite the lack of incomings, the only notable outgoing is Paul Scholes retiring and United's former star man hasn't played much of a role in recent seasons anyway. They have largely the same squad, the same team and their team spirit and winning mentality will remain unwavering for the foreseeable future.
Along with that ardent winning mentality, United still possess a very strong squad with a perfect blend of youth and experience, while the likes of Danny Welbeck, Wilfried Zaha, Phil Jones, Adnan Januzaj and Shinji Kagawa just a few who will continue to improve at the club and play a more prominent role at the club.
And United's effectiveness cannot be dismissed. The firepower possessed in the likes of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and arguably the best striker in the world in Robin van Persie will win games on their own, while Vidic looks as formidable and imperious at the back as ever this season.
There are a lot of positives amid a disappointing window and United undoubtedly remain a formidable opponent. Ander Herrera would have gone along way to completely rectifying their midfield frailties along with Fellaini, but this is a side that shouldn't be so easily written off and can still challenge for the title.
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