While Manchester United are on a downward spiral, for the past seven years in conversely feels like we are stuck in a loop. The same cycle keeps on going round and round.
Stage 1: Under-perform on the pitch.
Stage 2: Promise to deliver in the transfer market.
Stage 3: Fail to meet expectations in the transfer window.
Ed Woodward’s comments this week reinforced that United are still trapped in the same cycle.
Disappointment is now expected
Amid a backdrop of United sitting in eighth place in the Premier League, Woodward promised a big summer of spending.
At a fan forum, in which he was not present, Woodward’s statement promised ‘high-quality acquisitions’, while commenting: “As part of the rebuild we see this coming summer as an important opportunity.” [via official club website]
Cynics would rightly point out Woodward is trying to ensure disenchanted season ticket holders renew, in the hope next season will finally be better.
The problem is not so much the message, but where it comes from. Nobody believes Woodward can get the job done.
Woodward’s comments place United firmly in ‘stage two’ of the above cycle, heading straight towards the crushing disappointment of ‘stage three’.
We will all get our hopes up, and wish that United will be able to secure the best players in Europe, but it is not going to be easy. Inevitable disappointment lies ahead.
Opportunities were wasted under Woodward when it was possible to sign top players, with his mistakes in the summer of 2013 still looking unforgivable.
Woodward hoped his biggest success would be Paul Pogba. This has backfired. The midfielder does not buy into the planned rebuild and reportedly wants out [MEN].
It shouldn’t even be Woodward making the comments at this point. Responsibility for United’s on pitch strategy and transfers should have been re-assigned a long time ago.
Clubs across Europe will probably do their usual trick of hiking up prices when United come along. Woodward’s comments make this more likely. And this means long, drawn out negotiations while he and Matt Judge haggle for the best price.
United would be better off if Woodward didn’t say anything. It is far better to under promise and over deliver, than promise the world and end up letting the fanbase down once again.
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