It is no secret that Manchester United missed out on a couple of signings during the last transfer window, and a lot of blame has been placed on new Chief Executive Ed Woodward and David Moyes.
In the end, Belgian international Marouane Fellaini was bought for £27.5 million.
United missed out on their primary target, Cesc Fabregas, who never looked like making the switch, but the main concern is why Moyes will publicly pursue a player who did not even want to leave?
Most clubs normally know whether a player actually wants to play for them before making their move, or at least they know that the club may deem the player surplus to their requirements. In this case, it was neither.
The lack of knowledge displayed in this transfer is absolutely abysmal for a club of Manchester United’s reputation and status.
Then they moved for Thiago Alcantara who preferred to join his old manager at Bayern Munich.
At this point it became ridiculous as the Red Devils were linked to all kinds of midfielders throughout the summer. But, at the penultimate hour they had bids for Ander Herrera and Real Madrid duo, Sami Khedira and Fabio Coentrao rejected.
Admittedly, Fellaini was not their first choice - or the second - but ,he had been linked with a move to Old Trafford all summer.The manager even publicly expressed his desire to sign the Belgian and his former team-mate Leighton Baines.
Fellaini is an excellent addition as Manchester United are short of midfielders, but they did not need another defensive midfielder.
The main issue with the transfer is not that Manchester United overpaid for a player that they could have gotten for a cheaper price, or that the player is himself not good enough, but Moyes has not been pursuing the right players since missing out on Fabregas and Thiago.
Moyes has continued to employ the 4-4-2 formation that Sir Alex Ferguson did, but the holding roles must be occupied by a creative and a defensive player.
Fellaini played as an attacking midfielder for Everton, but does he have the flair or creativity to replicate that form for a top club? He should have been moving for a creative player that can play in a holding role, someone like Ilkay Gündoğan or even Bastian Schweinsteiger would have been sufficient.
Moving for someone like Herrera who has yet to play in a two-man midfield is risky while Khedira is a box-to-box midfielder, but he’s not creative.
Against Liverpool, United lacked any player that could split open the opposition’s defence, and Fellaini does not look like a player that can do that either.
Buying someone like Fellaini is not dissimilar to Arsenal buying someone like Mesut Ozil in a sense that Ozil like Fellaini was not needed in north london. However, he is a vast improvement on Tomas Rosicky (who has started for Arsenal in that role in 10 of the last 11 Premier League games) while Fellaini will likely partner Michael Carrick (another defensive midfielder) at the expense of Tom Cleverley, who is United's most creative central midfielder.
Overall, Manchester United needed a midfielder and they signed Fellaini, a midfielder but not what was needed. Currently, a partnership of Carrick and Fellaini is very strong and can see out many tough games, but can it create opportunities against a team like Stoke City when they have 10 men behind the ball?
Over the past few years, Manchester United have relied on a prolific strike force and excellent wing play for their goals. This year, the wingers don’t look up to scratch and Wayne Rooney has been unhappy all summer. Regardless, they are definitely title contenders, but this year seems like it would take something a bit more special to win the Premier League.
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