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Opinion Piece

United in danger of falling behind rivals

Moyes signs Naismith for EvertonAlthough I loved and respected Fergie over the years, I did have many issues and gripes with a lot of what he was doing. Blasphemy (I hear you shout)!! but hear me out before you condemn me to the rack for a good flogging!

Fergie had got old and had lost the edge and the aggressiveness to really do what needed to be done to secure the signatures of coveted transfer targets. Somehow it was beneath him or not necessary to fly out and chat with a player or to have friends of that player sell him on the virtues of United.

David Moyes must now seize the day.

A perfect example of how bad United were at recruiting sought-after-talent was the lack of effort in securing the signatures early on of a very young Gareth Bale, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey. Ramsey may not have turned into a world class talent but I cannot help but feel annoyance at the differences between Arsenal’s recruitment techniques and United’s at the time when he was a most sought-after target and was in the process of trying to figure out which club to choose.

You see, while the iron was hot and expediency was vital, Fergie was busy sipping fine wine and sunning himself in Provence, France. So what did he do to secure Ransey’s signature? He got Gary Neville to show Ramsey around Old Trafford. Neville’s personality and lack of sales skill would have scared me off.

Aaron Ramsey & Ryan GiggsRamsey was Welsh and one of his heroes was Ryan Giggs. Perhaps having him to meet with Giggsy would have been the smarter thing to do. And then to add salt to the wound what does Arsene Wenger do? He invites Ramsey and his parents to the Euros and goes on to wine and dine them in his cunningly seductive French manner. Meanwhile Fergie was getting sloshed on wine and refining his tan a few hundred miles away. If I were Ramsey, no doubt I would have chosen the Gunners too.

That is just one example of Fergie not having the eye of the tiger and the determination to do whatever it takes to get his player. I cannot tell you how frustrating it was for me as a fan watching him go on his vacations at the peak of transfer season, year in and year out. Nothing would ever get done until near the transfer deadline and when the season was under way. Berbatov and RVN were all last minute arrivals and I for one do not appreciate cutting it so close.

I have always liked the way Bayern Munich handle their transfers. They often will buy a player towards the end of the season in the manner in which Goetze and Shaqiri were purchased. They did not take long in signing Ribery or Robben. When the realized they needed help defensively, they quickly bought Dante and Martinez before other clubs got a sniff of their availability.

Madrid and Barca also move quickly when it comes to getting their man. Barca didn’t wait long to get Neymar and Madrid caught a sleeping Man City on their heels and swooped in promptly for Cisco just a few days ago.

The other frustration with Fergie was his cold feet for young talent. He often procrastinated too long when it came to young players only to see them go elsewhere and become instant stars. Then he would go after them a year or so later and attempt to pay two to three times what he would have paid initially.

Then there are the infamous cases of players like Sneijder and Ballack who would at the time have injected some really necessary skill in our midfield. There they were and there they went when Chelsea and Inter popped up and snapped them up. Wage structure was the big culprit and United have yet to realize that in order to play with the big boys, you need to pay like the big boys. DUH!!!!

I know a club cannot always get whatever players they covet but it seems to me the only victories Fergie has had in the past five years have been in signing English talents like Zaha, Phil Jones and Ashley Young or proven talent pushing on 30 like Berbatov and RVP.

Kagawa signs for UnitedShinji Kagawa for all his ability was never ever a target of elite clubs. He’s just not of that class I’m sorry to say. Kagawa is fine player but not worthy of Madrid or Barca, and not even a priority for the likes of Chelsea or City either. It seems we have been settling for older players and sloppy seconds. Damn it, it’s time we got nasty and aggressive and stopped letting other big teams always steal our targets from under us. How many Eden Hazards must we lose due to lack of effort and proper salesmanship?

I suppose the final straw for me was the loss of Lucas Moura to a sad sack piece of crap like PSG. How a club like that in a second rate league can seduce a great young talent like Moura to snub United is beyond me. Perhaps if Fergie had taken a more hands on approach in trying to get his signature, we might today be building our club around Moura. But as usual, Fergie was busy trying the local wines and sunning himself in you all know where.

Recently I was shocked and appalled to see one of my favourite targets Falcao not only snub us but every other big club for lowly Monaco. I couldn’t care less how much money a club like Monaco or PSG possess. When players like Moura and Falcao sign for clubs like that while ignoring clubs of pedigree and history like United, one has to ask, WTF???? I mean seriously.

Thiago+Alcantara+FC+Barcelona+v+CA+Osasuna+5RqpSp0M6c7xManchester United and David Moyes need to get proactive and more aggressive with their transfer policies in this competitive and growing market. It was bad enough when we were losing players to the two super clubs in Spain but now two big buyers have emerged in France, Bayern and Dortmund have the mojo to spend big and local heavyweights Man City and Chelsea have found new managers who are increasingly aggressive in their player pursuits.

Unless we get down and dirty we will fall behind and get lost in the rubble of all the other has beens like Arsenal, Liverpool, AC Milan and Inter who lacked the ambition and financial courage to put their money where their mouths are. Moyes better show me the money and he better damned well get his men. Thiago is a must and a clear statement of intent would be the serious attempt of signing either Bale or Ronaldo.

My concern is we will instead have to settle for second tier players in the classic David Moyes tradition. Can we all say welcome to Baines, Jagielka, Naismith and Pienaar.