Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s limitations as manager in Manchester United’s defeat to Arsenal is only half the story.
The other half lies with Ed Woodward and the club’s recruitment team.
Not a single player starting for United on Sunday was signed in the summer, either left on the bench or unavailable.
Arsenal meanwhile had new signing Thomas Partey starting in midfield, and he showed what he was capable of.
His performance impressed Roy Keane, who said he wished Partey was on United’s team.
Keane told Sky Sports: “He was outstanding. He’s obviously no mug having played in big games. When you watch a player live that’s when you can judge a player and the more I look at him the more I wish he was in the United midfield.
“He’s big, strong and aggressive – and he can pass it forward. He can deal with the ball.
“I had my battles with Vieira and I think this kid has got a chance of matching what Patrick used to do.”
Partey was there for the taking
Arsenal paid £45 million to sign Partey on deadline day, paying his release clause.
United could have done so, if Partey had been deemed a priority by the club.
It is not unreasonable to suggest Partey would have chosen United ahead of Arsenal if presented with a choice, with Champions League football on offer.
But after extending Nemanja Matic’s contract, United never really looked at signing a new defensive midfielder.
The club are determined to develop Scott McTominay for the role, although he may lack the qualities to really thrive there.
Partey was a player who United fans have voiced calls to sign previously. It’s too late now.
After he played a key role in knocking Liverpool out of the Champions League with Atletico Madrid, fans messaged him on social media asking him to join United.
The club didn’t have the same enthusiasm. Partey’s age, 27, may have counted against him, but this is a player at his peak.
He was the most complete midfielder on the pitch at Old Trafford on Sunday. Roy Keane’s praise speak volumes.
Players like Partey are not easy to find and not easily available. United have several options in midfield, but none with the same qualities and ability as the Ghanaian international.
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