The Football Column after the Transfer Window suggested panic on the streets of Salford.
On Sunday evening Falco was apparently being hawked all around Europe by Monaco, like someone trying to shift a spare ticket the night before the event through texts, social media and phone calls to every contact in the book. Not the way any normal business would treat one of its valuable human resources; it seems there is as much security in being a footballer as backing up your device to iCloud.
But a weekly pay packet in the region of £235k a week will soften the blow for the player. United had to match a tax-free principality to make up Falco’s wages but continuing their desperate spending of the last three windows that appears to have been of little concern. On Monday they were like a boy in the supermarket with eyes too big for his belly. No point worrying about five portions of fruit and veg or even five at the back when there is over-priced Colombian coffee flavoured luxury doughnut to fit in the basket alongside the jammy dodgers.
What makes United’s spending even more ridiculous since last summer is the waste of Shinji Kagawa. Last summer they paid three times as much as they should have for Maroune Fellani (£27.5m), after failing to unsettle Everton into letting Leighton Baines go when Fellani’s contract release clause meant he would have been a little less expensive at half the price. With Fellani and Carrick behind Kagawa, allowing Rooney to play up front with Van Persie, Moyes had the perfect opportunity to play 3-4-1-2 and make the most of his assets. He even had Jones, Vidic and Evra, players who would have been comfortable in a back three. But Moyes didn’t do that and rather than thinking outside of the box, he was more intent in lumping it in there.
As that failed he went and bought another Number 10 in January, over paying again for Juan Mata (£37m). The ludicrous price now paid for Angel Di Maria (£59.7m) plus the signing of Falco mean United have loaded their squad to the extent that they, and the Premier League, lose Kagawa back to Borussia Dortmund, where he was instrumental in them winning the double just over two seasons ago, staring in the cup final when they beat Bayern Munich in style.
United have strengthened in other areas, and Daley Blind may mean another of their over priced purchases, Luke Shaw (£27m) may struggle to get in the team, but their mixed-up thinking to spending is an example of inconsistent strategy. It wouldn’t happen in an organisation or industry where there were long-term plans and value of human resource.
But the industry thrives on it. Every single day newspapers, websites, online accounts and rolling sports news channels churn out hot air on the subject, feeding those who have never wanted any fresh air. It is a knee-jerk, panic station, where “Totalizers” are on a big screen, talent is more likely to be wasted then developed and where the unregulated free market remains a false economy.
Mel Gomes is the author of the e-book Glory Nights from Wankdorf to Wembley which documents the escape of travelling to watch sport. It is available to preview for free and download in full from Amazon and Smashwords. More details, including photos and links to reviews, here.
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