There’s plenty of things you can justifiably be worrying about right now if you’re a Manchester United fan. The future of Wayne Rooney, the dismal home form and the incredible buzz being generated by the noisy neighbours at Manchester City are but a few.
However whilst those are all contemporary issues that may well have been swept under the carpet by the time the final whistle blows to mark the end of this year’s Premier League season, their strength in the transfer market- and their subsequent ambitions for success- are potential obstacles that no one can afford to understate.
It’s no coincidence that the two go hand in hand with each other. Had United somehow managed to acquire the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Ander Herrera in the summer, they would most likely be experiencing far better fortunes than they are now. The reality of the situation meant that the club missed out on all but one transfer target and are subsequently sitting some way off the pace set by those they are seeking to rival.
From that alone it’s safe to say that David Moyes needs to be prioritising the success of his dealings in the January transfer window above all else.
However, having already seen rumoured target Nemanja Matic opt to return to Chelsea, Leighton Baines currenly mulling over the decision to potentially tie his future to Everton and the likes of Koke, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal publicly declare their happiness at their current clubs, what is there that the United boss can do?
Although I can hardly profess to being the one to instruct an esteemed football manager how to go about his business transactions, I’d say I’m not alone in suggesting that it’s patently obviously what he shouldn’t do; buy second rate transfer targets merely out of some predisposed need for acquisition.
Case in point, Inter Milan’s Fredy Guarin.
Up until last week both Chelsea and United had cast their eyes over him in a saga that had all the makings of a lengthy financial battle that would ultimately be decided by which club could offer him the most money.
However following Jose Mourinho's capture of Nemanja Matic, who was the Special One’s preferred choice of midfielder, the Blues have now seemingly dropped their interest. The reason being of course that Mourinho wanted a player who could impose himself in the middle of the park and, whilst Guarin may have the ability to do just that, there are better out there.
The fact that the Colombian was a backup option for Chelsea should alone be enough for Moyes to come to the conclusion that he isn’t the man he needs to kick-start his revival.
At €15million admittedly he does come as a relative bargain when it’s considered that United’s aforementioned midfield targets are all valued at almost twice that much, but it seems to me that at the moment a lack of viable options, coupled with increasing pressure to make a January purchase, is forcing Moyes into aiming for players who aren’t necessarily worth his time.
Ask yourself, would Guarin make the grade in one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s title-winning teams? (with the obvious exception of last term’s). I for one don’t think he would, and at 27-years-old it’s difficult to imagine him developing any further as a player in the Premier League.
Sure, Moyes has every right to flex his financial muscle this month after the shortcomings of the summer. But unless he picks his targets carefully and with a view for the future, they could end up doing more harm than good in the long-run.
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