It has been a chaotic deadline day at Old Trafford and Manchester United face ending it without a striker.
The club spent the best part of the morning trying to sign Josh King from Bournemouth, before BBC Sport reported in late afternoon that United had given up.
Rumoured moves for Salomon Rondon and Willian Jose failed to materialise, while there were reported failed enquiries from United too.
United’s desperate search was akin to a drunk reveller in a nightclub trying to pull, unsuccessfully, at 2am.
Perhaps a late deal will be done, but this will be through luck, rather than judgement or planning.
A tweet sent out by former United captain Gary Neville eight years ago suggested a club’s deadline day activity was a measuring stick for whether a club is well run or not.
If that’s the case, then United should be worried. As this reflects terribly.
Unbelievably poor planning
Top striker target Erling Haaland signed for Borussia Dortmund on December 29. Not January 29.
The club should have had a second option lined up, regardless of the fact that Haaland looks like an elite, one-off talent. It’s always sensible to have a back up plan.
Marcus Rashford’s injury against Wolves came on January 15. Why did it take the club two weeks to decide he needed replacing?
This boils down to United’s inability to conduct two transfers at once, which we saw in the summer.
Three weeks spent haggling over Bruno Fernandes meant the need for a striker took a backseat.
After a Times article in October boasted about United’s thorough search for a right-back in the summer which had 804 candidates whittled down to Aaron Wan-Bissaka, how was such a supposedly slick operation so under-prepared on this occasion?
It’s worrying, and while we are thrilled to have signed Bruno Fernandes this window, this late deadline day scrabble for a striker should be beneath United.
It’s almost embarrassing, and this is why there are calls for Ed Woodward to be sacked from his position in charge. A deal at 10.59pm for Odion Ighalo would not undo the damage which has been done to the club’s reputation over how this striker search has been handled.
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