I read an interesting article today in the i newspaper sports section. It posed the question, what have these names got in common…
Coniah Boyce-Clarke, Ruben Dias, Bruno Fernandes, Gelson Fernandes, Kalidou Kalibahy, Nicolas Pepe, Adrien Rabot, Saul Niguez, Christian Eriksen, Kieran Trippier, Jan Obiak, Matthijs de Ligt, Paulo Dybala, Daniel James, Idrissa Gueye, Philippe Coutinho, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Wilfried Zaha, Thomas Meunier, Mauro Icardi, Moussa Dembele, Ben Godfrey, Nikola Milenkovic, Harry Maguire, Aaron Was-Bissaka, Patrick van Aanholt, Jadon Sancho, Gareth Bale, Toby Alderweireld, Joao Felix, Declan Rice, David Neres Campos, Kostas Manolas, Hakim Ziyech, Joao Cancelo, Marcos Llorente, Toni Kroos, Raphael Varane, Youro Tielemans, Robert Lewandowski, James Rodriguez, Keylor Navas, Lika Jovic, Jordan Pickford, Juande Ramos, Jack Grealish, Giovani lo Celso, Gianluigi Donnarumma and no doubt several others?
My grandson Sam would know instantly because, like me, he just loves following football transfer rumours. And these names are just the ones my fave team Manchester United have been linked with since the tranfer window opened all that time ago on 16 May. Yes 12 days and nearly 50 names or almost 5 completely new teams in addition to the 30 odd players in the current squad. Now I know a lot of the rumour mill is fed by agents and lots is just lazy journo speculation and a fair bit is just down to fans speculating on social media. But you’ve still got to believe that many of these names are truly in the cross-hairs of the people who call the shots on transfers at Man United – whoever that may be. And that’s the problem; nobody is fully in control of player recruitment strategy at this great club, genuinely one of the richest in the world. And has anybody been signed as yet? No of course not although numerous high profile names are already putting it out that maybe a move to Alderley Edge isn’t for them. What??? That means that Barcelona have gone and got their recruitment work done weeks ago. Why does it take until the last few days of the window until any serious movement happens with ManU? And then we go and throw money around like a drunken sailor buying star names extravagantly, desperately and wastefully without any long term plan. It just mystifies me that it happens window after window since Sralex left.
Look Edward Woodward forget about getting a fancy dan Sporting Director in from La Liga or the Bundesliga. Give me a brief and I’ll happily tackle the issues. Firstly what’s the budget – let’s say £350m. Who are your top 4 targets – let’s assume they will be exciting and young and can offer years of service and/or high resale values then land at least two by making their clubs and the players offers they simply cannot refuse. Simply out-muscle the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid – it’s not like they can guarantee European success. Then buy your first and second alternate-choice players for the remaining holes to be filled and two more players of potential (preferable British). Let’s say that the full £350m gets committed. Without waiting for the outcome of negotiations (which I know can drag on if you allow it) sell off immediately all the players who the manager says are surplus to requirements. As far as I can tell at Man U that includes the whole defence, probably including the magnificent goalie De Gea who’s played like a sulky git all year, all the regular midfielders – and let’s just include Pogba because he thinks Madrid will be more sophisticated, better fun and sunnier than Manchester. Each to their own. And up front let’s get rid of Sanchez, Martial and Lukaku. Do that and the club should realise around £450m in sales revenue. That looks like a healthy transfer profit to me and probably a significant saving on the overall wage bill. Any gaps should be filled from the reserve/under 23’s squads. Oh and stop giving 5 year extended contracts to centre halves who are embarrassingly hopeless; stand up Phil Jones – yes I see you’re in your customary defensive position, on the deck as usual…
Things are therefore sorted by end of July at the latest and ready for the pre-season programmes etc. Get the business sorted early. My maxim was always JFDI. It’s a rather rude acronym but it means just do it. Let all the other clubs scrabble a la Harry Redknapp/Daniel Levy for last day bargains. I’m just staggered that a club like ManU let other clubs and players trundle off on holiday before attempting to get business done. Why weren’t targets identified as a caveat for OGS getting the job several weeks ago? If they were, don’t fuck about Man U, just get in a shaven-headed, business-hardened, blunt-nosed negotiator to get it frigging sorted….
masta deal-maka paulie
4 from 50 – Bruno Fernandes, Daniel James, Harry Maguire, Aaron Was-Bissaka,
And 4 excellent ones! But what a selection box eh. I think transfer policy under OGS is as coherent as it has been since Sralex’s time. Possibly better in fact. What a Director of Football he’d make.