As the transfer window closed for Premier League teams on the 2nd of September, eyes were drawn to the unveiling of Madrid’s new record signing Gareth Bale, to the extraordinary £42.4 million Mesut Özil heading to the Emirates and even to rising star Romelu Lukaku’s loan move to Everton. However, as fans looked to Manchester for another bank busting, superstar signing, they were met with the likes of a £27.5 million, 6ft 4 Belgian Marouane Fellani from new manager Moyes’ former club.
Deadline day was plagued by flitting rumours for a host of midfielders linked to United, another Real midfielder Sami Khedira, Bilbao’s Herrea and of course Barcalona’s Cesc Fabregas were all names whispered across the tabloids. Not forgetting the seemingly inevitable joint-transfer of Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellani from Everton that appeared to be but a matter of how much Everton would hold out for.
With Fellani handing in a transfer request, it seemed that United would finally be able to sign themselves a new midfielder. However, the finalisation of the deal seemed to spark an outcry from United fans claiming ‘panic buying’, ‘overpriced’ and questions at why Moyes would let Özil go to Arsenal when he is the calibre and style of player they so ‘desperately’ need? Surely Fergie wouldn’t have left it this late without an all but finalised deal?
Now, there’s no doubt a player of Özil’s quality wouldn’t fit into any managers line up, and comparison’s to Ferguson’s transfer prowess were always going to be lurking on the tongues of fans, but Manchester United won the title last season. They won it comfortably.
Looking at the team Moyes has at his disposal now, and comparing it to that of last season’s title winning squad, you might notice a few similarities. Who of significance has left United this season? Scholes, of course, has retired again, promising youth prospects Nick Powell and Bebe have gone out on loan again and Alex Ferguson, quite possibly the best manager in Premier League history.
Who has Moyes gained this season? Fellani, Wilifred Zaha has not gone out on loan and nor has Fabio. Who has Moyes kept? The Rooney issue is far from forgotten, but he’s still pulling on the shirt, there were rumours of Kagawa going back to BVB, but he’s still in the squad, recent news has also confirmed that Nani has signed a 5 year extension on his contract. It seems obvious that Moyes’ ‘lethargic’ approach to the transfer market was nothing but a confidence in the squad he’s inherited.
The fee for Fellani was a slight shock, especially considering that there was a rumoured joint effort of £28 million to sign both Baines and Fellani, but United have still signed a consistent, powerful midfield player with an almost unbeatable aerial record and a respectable history of goals. Fellani holding the midfield could quite easily free up Michael Carrick or Tom Cleverly to be more creative further p the pitch. A persistent defensive minded midfielder is always handy for taking pressure off of United’s already capable defenders and ever improving keeper De Gea.
It’s a struggle to pinpoint a weakness in this United squad, cover and understudy roles are deployed in every position, with Fellani anchoring the midfield there’s a healthy addition to an already strong squad. Talks of a potential left back loan signing in Fabio Contrao seemed knee jerk in light of the already bloated potential of both Buttner and Fabio covering the seasoned Patrice Evra.
Moyes may not have done much business in the transfer market, but he did do enough to keep a squad capable of challenging for silverware, bearing in mind that Moyes can’t have had adequate time with his new squad to have identified the weaknesses he needs to scout for.
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