Back in the summer there was a lot of frustration among Manchester United fans amid a long drawn out transfer window.
United only seemed to wake up at the transfer deadline, completing four of five total deals on the final day.
This was in stark contrast to Chelsea, who embarked on one of their biggest spending sprees for years, snapping up Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, in addition to Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy.
It made a mockery of claims clubs ‘can’t go and spend like it is a game of FIFA’. Clearly it is possible. Whether it is wise, is another conversation entirely.
Chelsea actually had a fairly steady season last year, finishing in fourth. They hoped this spending spree would propel them towards first.
Instead it is United who can go back into first place with a win tonight, while Chelsea have slumped to eighth place.
Solskjaer saw it coming
Chelsea’s prolific spending was pointed out to Solskjaer back in September amid United’s reluctance, or perceived incompetence, in the transfer market.
Solskjaer made a point of warning that Chelsea’s spending spree could actually become a negative for them.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5‘s season preview, Solskjaer warned: “It is never easy to have too many new players in the team, it takes time for players to gel into a unit.
“We have seen some clubs go for the quick fix and some have trust in the process. We have to improve and get results but adding players with different qualities than we have.”
Chelsea have struggled to knit all of their individual stars into a cohesive unit. And their determination to play all of them together is proving to be a detriment.
United did end up spending, and the more cautious moves have so far paid off.
Solskjaer did not cause major disruption to a squad which finished third last season, and was the best team in the second half of the campaign.
Instead the more low key approach to strengthening has improved key positions at left-back, striker, and midfield, with a couple of long term punts on the wing.
All of these players could really come into their own in the second half of the season and pay off. United were deliberate in not wanting to change too much at once.
It’s easy to lose sight and get frustrated about the more patient approach, but Chelsea’s struggles are showing there is rarely a shortcut to success in football.
The season is only halfway through, but Solskjaer’s dig at Chelsea’s spending looks pretty smart right now. Expect another measured and moderate transfer window from United in the summer – and that might not be a bad thing.
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