With over two months in which to get their signings done, why is it that clubs are still rushing around like panicked Christmas shoppers, desperately trying to conclude last gasp deals?
Take Manchester United, for example. One would assume that they would have learned the hard way (after the Marouane Fellaini and Radamel Falcao fiascos), that nothing good usually comes from last ditch panic-buys.
United tried to force Everton into a corner over Fellaini, arrogantly presuming that they could pressure owner Bill Kenwright into lowering his asking price of £23 million (which was the player´s buy-out clause).
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Despite wide-spread media coverage of the fact that from August 2013 his buy-out clause would increase to £27 million, the club played hard-ball with the Toffees. Failure to tempt Cesc Fabregas away from Barcelona, or persuade Toni Kroos to sign for them, resulted in a late scramble for the Belgian. And, the club parting with an extra four million to get their man.
Falcao´s deadline-day move was a desperate move by the club to sign another `galactico´ after Angel Di Maria, and prove to the world that United were still one of the major draws in world football. That last-minute rush of blood to the head saw the club spend £16 million for the privilege of having the clearly unfit Columbian for the season.
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The same fee they let young England international Danny Welbeck, join rivals Arsenal for.
Louis van Gaal teased the media some weeks back, by hinting at a move for a `surprise´ striker. If this was not an attempt to wind-up the press, then it is reasonable to assume that he may have been referring to Monaco´s Anthony Martial.
If so, and given the club's obvious need for fire-power up front, why wait until August 31st before making a bid?
Did the Dutchman really believe his own words when he informed the media eight days ago that he had no need for another striker? Unlikely.
He has known all summer. One has to wonder where Martial figured on the list of targets he handed Ed Woodward at the beginning of the summer (if at all?). The club reportedly bid £36 million for their man, although other reports from France had earlier suggested the figure could be closer to 56 million. Madness, surely!
Arsene Wenger might well afford himself a wry smile. He used to pick up players of Martial´s ilk for a song (Nicolas Anelka at half-a-million pounds). Once again, United have vastly over-paid for a player who was not their first-choice.
After the flurry of signings early on in the summer, it was thought that United had learned a lesson from the two previous years. Obviously, not. Woodward will be hoping it is a case of third time lucky with the young Frenchman. Time will tell. But Martial will need to live up to the hype, or serious questions are likely be posed concerning Woodward´s skills as a chief-negotiator.
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