David Moyes' first summer in charge of Manchester United was full of promise, hope, frustration and repeated disappointment. Despite the Scot attempting to secure a marquee signing that would have immediately endeared him to the club's supporters, Moyes largely failed to secure many of his preferred targets and only made one significant addition to the squad who won the 2012/13 Premier League title in the form of combative Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini.
While Fellaini, who came off the substitutes bench to make his Red Devils debut in the club's comfortable 2-0 victory over newly-promoted Crystal Palace on Saturday, will undoubtedly add bite to United's faltering midfield, what Moyes really required was a more inventive and creative presence to give his new side a greater cutting edge.
Moyes, who proved to be an admirable success during his 11-year spell in charge at Everton, is certainly no managerial novice and he was evidently aware of this particular issue. The protracted but ultimately fruitless pursuit of versatile Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera, whose potential move to United collapsed in rather bizarre circumstances on transfer deadline day, is clear evidence that the 50-year-old was very eager to address the issue of a chronic lack of adequate attacking nous in midfield.
With the club's need for such a creative force painfully evident, it is an absolute mystery as to why they did not seriously attempt to secure a deal for Danish starlet Christian Eriksen. The 21-year-old, who has already won 39 caps for his country, joined Tottenham Hotspur in August for a fee believed to be in the region of £11.5 million.
Anyone who has previously witnessed Eriksen in full flow will surely appreciate the staggeringly good value of that particular transfer. As he displayed in various spells during his Premier League debut against Norwich at White Hart Lane on Saturday, Eriksen is a phenomenal talent whose flawless technique, admirable guile and ability to selflessly provide opportunities for his teammates is an absolute joy to watch.
With no disrespect whatsoever intended towards Tottenham, I am truly puzzled as to why a club such as Manchester United did not take full advantage of such a baffling bargain. The solitary reason that immediately comes to mind is perhaps the club may have been sceptical and somewhat concerned that, given his time in the Eredivisie, that Eriksen does not possess adequate experience of one of Europe's top leagues.
Such reasoning is certainly not without merit, but I rather think that particular element of risk was almost totally negated by the player's modest price tag. The £27.5 million United reportedly splurged on Fellaini is a clear indication that the club were fully prepared to lavish significant sums on the right players this summer, so even in the seemingly unlikely event that Eriksen did fail to sufficiently acclimatise to life in the English top flight, it would not have represented a major loss for the club.
Although still a young man, Eriksen appears to possess both the ability and the maturity to be an enormous success in the Premier League. His joyous and formidable talent would have been of massive benefit to United and in particular marksman Robin van Persie, who would surely have flourished even further playing slightly ahead of a player who is capable of creating chances seemingly at will.
In failing to pursue the Dane, Moyes has missed out on a hugely talented and financially viable solution to his midfield woes.