Manchester United's transfer window closed with a whimper today. Despite reports of late moves for Diego Godín and Jérôme Boateng, Jose Mourinho did not get his much-coveted centre-back and will instead have to do make with the same familiar faces as last season.
It was a window that saw the club fall out of the top six spenders. It also included the shock departure of head scout Javier Ribalta, the announcement by two different players that they wanted to leave the club and the sale of full-back Daley Blind. The club did sign Fred, Diogo Dalot and backup goalkeeper Lee Grant.
Throughout the window Mourinho made his displeasure at the lack of business obvious: "My CEO what I want for quite a long time, he knows what I want." The United boss pointed to their rival's spending as a warning.
Other clubs that compete with us, they are really strong, or they already have fantastic teams and squads like Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City... or they are investing massively like for example Liverpool that is buying everything and everybody.
So if we don't make our team better it will be a difficult season for us.
Mourinho's blatant plea came amidst a groundswell of anger at the antics of the Man United board. Since assuming the role of vice-chairman Ed Woodard negotiated a £750 million deal with Adidas despite Nike rejecting it within an hour and recently posted record operating profits of £80.8m. However, the lack of injection back into the club has led to a widespread resentment.
This sounds reasonable, except:
1) Who is evaluating the relative standard of these players: Mourinho or Woodward?
2) Let’s be real, there are one or two in world football who’d improve United’s stellar squad: the board just won’t pay what it costs to buy them. https://t.co/BJXFzrmYxK
— Daniel Harris (@DanielHarris) August 9, 2018
Ed Woodward is completely out of his depth.
David Gill, you're missed mate. 😔
— Al Foran (@ImpressionistAL) August 9, 2018
Seeing United finish 19 points off the runaway leaders, then signing 1 first team player and spending less than West Ham having given the manager a new contract sure is a novel approach, Ed Woodward.
— Alex Shaw (@AlexShawESPN) August 9, 2018
If we’re honest, Ed Woodward is living off the fact he managed to keep De Gea because of a fax machine. He’s been embarrassing, solely focused on sponsorships and not getting us back to the top. Nobody beats David Gill, he actually cared about us on the pitch too.
— The Man Utd Way (@TheManUtdWay) August 5, 2018
It's quite clear that the Manchester United board, Ed Woodward and the Glazers should receive a vote of No Confidence from the fans. Their lack of ambition and sole aim to finish in the top 4, is a betrayal of the club's badge and the supporters faith and money. #MUFC
— Joe Sillett (@JoeSillett) August 9, 2018
So Ed Woodward thinks a back up GK from Stoke, a RB from Porto who’s only ever played 6 first team games and a midfielder from Ukraine is going to close a 20 point gap with City? Okay.
— Ryan. 🔴 (@Vintage_Utd) August 8, 2018
Diego Godin story today the most embarrassing for Man United as they were used (yet again) by an agent trying to get his player a new contract.
Ed Woodward has fallen for this trick time and again, but no surprise. He is horribly out of his depth in this job #MUFC pic.twitter.com/4VOvngciGK
— Kevin Palmer (@RealKevinPalmer) August 9, 2018
Ed Woodward, in charge of the biggest & financially the strongest club in the world, has failed to deliver all targets yet again.
This is even more appalling when you consider the fact that he boasted publicly that "Man Utd can do things other clubs cannot even dream of.
— Man Utd Channel (@ManUtdChannel) August 9, 2018
— Raza. (@_beingNumb) August 9, 2018
This deadline day stuff is one of my most hated parts of football...a game I love so much. There's no point trying to debate it with anyone...just be glad it's over and get on with watching the team...good or bad.
— The MUFC Academy 🐝 (@mrmujac) August 9, 2018
With their opening fixture just a day away, United are left with the same core squad that mustered a second place finish last season. It is a squad littered with exceptional talent, including David De Gea, Romelu Lukaku, World Cup winner Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez. The same weaknesses remain; Two aging starting full-backs, no designated right winger and no clear centre-back pairing. But beyond the football aspect, there is general unease surrounding the club both from the manager and their fans.
Ultimately, for the manager, players and fans there is a perfect short-term remedy for this ailment; on-field success. It remains to be seen if they have the required components to deliver it.