Yesterday saw Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in world football, sign one of the biggest players. Radamel Falcao joined the twenty times English first division champions, initially on a season-long loan, but also with an option to purchase him next summer. This follows a summer spending spree in excess of £150million.
Whilst Manchester United have most definitely splashed the cash, it is still believed that even more money must be injected into the transfer fund, in order to rebuild the team to their past glories. United finished 7th in the league last season, despite being defending champions, and have got off to another poor start this month, with Louis Van Gaal failing to register his first competitive victory to date.
Angel Di Maria has smashed the club record transfer fee (previously held by Dimitar Berbatov, when he signed from Tottenham Hotspur for £30.75million in the summer of 2008), as well as the english record transfer fee, when he left Real Madrid in exchange for a figure just shy of £60million (before the inclusion of inevitable add-ons).
In fact since Sir Alex Ferguson retired from the managerial role, fifteen months ago, United have spent over £200million.
However, Sir Alex Ferguson was not the only big name departure. David Gill, the understated Chief Executive, also moved onto new pastures. Just as David Moyes replaced Sir Alex, David Gill was replaced by Ed Woodward. Whilst David Moyes has since been dismissed and Louis Van Gaal instated, Ed Woodward remains.
United had a terrible transfer window last summer, recruiting only Marouane Fellaini, at an over priced £27.5million. The club had been attempting to ship Fellaini on this summer, until an injury cut short these plans. Ed Woodward promised big money signings, but last year he failed to deliver.
Manchester United were in for Gareth Bale, but failed to agree terms with Spurs, despite allegedly offering more money for the player. (Bale signed for Real Madrid for a fee in the region of £85million). United also spent the summer persuing Cesc Fabregas, who was reportedly looking for a move away from his boyhood club Barcelona, in search of more regular first team football (Fabregas has since signed for Chelsea for £32m).
Transfers this summer have been more successful, although there is still plenty of room for improvement. Woodward although he has recruited much better, has once again failed to negotiate effectively in the clubs transfers. The footballing world know how desperate Manchester United are for new top players, other clubs have seen united coming, and have slapped a premium figure on their players.
When Luke Shaw signed in July from Southampton for £27million, he became the most expensive teenager in world football. Ander Herrera signed shortly after, with United activating his buy-out clause of £29million. The Marcos Rojo deal, saw United spend£16million as well as the departure of Nani on loan for a season, with United continuing to pay his £4.8million a year wage. As previously stated, the signing of Angel Di Maria broke many British transfer records, in spite of the fact that it was initially reported to be a £50million fee.
Ed Woodward though has certainly succeeded in Daley Blind’s and Radamel Falcao’s deals, which seem to make the most sense to me. Blind’s fee is easily the most accurate of all the united signings this summer, whilst taking Falcao on loan for a season with the view to a permanent deal, is sensible. Falcao has only just returned from a serious leg injury, which he suffered in January. Consequently there is a risk in paying big money for him. There is no doubt, if he can return to his best, then a £50 or £60million fee is worthwhile.