Manchester United's efficacy in the transfer market has virtually evaporated since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2012.
That's right, the famous manager has only been receiving his pension for two years. It seems like so much longer, doesn't it?
Although not much time has passed since Ferguson packed his bags and headed off to enjoy Saga cruises, so much has changed at Old Trafford where his legacy has been crumbling ever since.
First came David Moyes; the man hand picked by Ferguson to replace him. He had no experience at the top level of football but an amicable reputation amongst Premier League fans, earned during his 11 year stint with Everton.
That meant nothing to the players Moyes, and the newly appointed vice-chairman Ed Woodward, wanted to bring in to reassure fans that world-class player still wanted to join without their famous talisman in the dugout.
Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas rejected the chance to move to Old Trafford with the former joining Bayern Munich (fair enough) and the latter choosing to try and salvage a dying career at Barcelona (failed).
Moyes and Woodward wasted so much time pursuing targets that were never going to be convinced that they found themselves on deadline day having made not one signing. In comes Marouane Fellaini as well as a rushed deal for Ander Herrera.
Herrera's move collapsed due to nothing more than Manchester United's incompetence, leaving Fellaini as the only signing of the summer. Moyes put so much pressure on the man he saw flourish at Goodison Park which, ultimately, contributed to his failure to establish himself within the squad.
A fresh start
So out went Moyes and in came Louis van Gaal. Manchester United's owners, the Glazer family, put the failures down to mismanagement, to inexperience, and Moyes's failure to strengthen in the summer transfer window. Surprisingly, Woodward escaped unscathed.
Van Gaal was coming in and he was bringing the reputation as well as the charisma to attract big stars to Manchester United. But despite having a reported £300 million to blow, Van Gaal has barely managed to break through the £70 million barrier, bringing in Luke Shaw, Herrera and Marcos Rojo.
Rojo, who is yet to be confirmed as a Manchester United player but looks set to join before the weekend, came too late to spare the Red Devils' blushes against Swansea on the opening day of the Premier League.
Failure to launch
How did Manchester United let this happen again?
The holes in the squad were even more gaping than they were last summer yet transfer deals were still put off until now, where Woodward appears to be rushing around Europe with a long list of plan B signings to seal before the window slams shut.
Is it possible that Woodward has repeated the same mistakes as he did last year, chasing players that would never be convinced to leave?
Recent reports seem to confirm this.
Despite Van Gaal being manager, Manchester United have no European football on offer, placing them in roughly the same position as last year. Moyes had no pulling power but the club, as champions of England, did. Now the manager has pulling power but the club do not.
Despite this, Woodward went off chasing Thomas Muller of Bayern Munich and Marco Reus of Borussia Dortmund. Great players - fantastic, world-class players in fact. So good in fact, that they were never going to sign for Manchester United.
Muller, currently the front man for arguably Europe's strongest club, recently admitted he was offered an astronomical sum by Manchester United, before flatly rejecting it and agreeing a long-term deal with Bayern Munich.
Similarly, Reus has the world at his feet. Bayern Munich are interest as are Real Madrid and Barcelona. Even in the Premier League clubs Arsenal and Liverpool represent better options than Manchester United. That places Manchester United sixth in the queue.
Van Gaal had to rebuild Manchester United this summer and needed strength in depth to make sure they had the squad to make it back to the top four. Instead, they chased the star signing - that one big name that would get the fans excited, but would never make the massive impact that five or six decent signings could.
It was the wrong tactic, and almost identical to the one they employed last summer. There is only one reason that has happened. The manager may have gone but the true perpetrator remains in his cushy chair in the executive box.
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