Man United Mystify in Transfer Window

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Manchester United’s scramble to get the deal for Marouane Fellaini from Everton over the line moments before the transfer window closed symbolised the confusion in a summer when a clear transfer strategy was conspicuously absent from Old Trafford.

And coming just 24 hours after the disappointing performance in defeat at Liverpool, it will have only increased the concerns of any United fans worried about life after Sir Alex Ferguson.

When new manager David Moyes walked through the doors to succeed Ferguson after 26 years, it was expected that United’s new chief executive Ed Woodward would help him make a powerful statement of intent about the new era.

Instead, as Arsenal were claiming the honours with a stunning coup in the shape of a £42.4m deal for Real Madrid’s outstanding Germany midfield man Mesut Ozil, United were left looking off the pace and struggling to close the big deals that their supporters understandably demand.

From the bold early summer claims in pursuit of Barcelona pair Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas – a chase that rarely looked anything other than doomed – Moyes and Woodward were left burning the midnight oil to do the deal for Everton’s Fellaini and try to set up a loan deal for Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao.

And in the background in deadline week was another ill-fated move, this time for Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Herrera, that ran aground as United could not agree a fee centred on complications surrounding his proposed £30.5m release clause and claims of impostors (no fault of United’s if true it should be said) attempting to get involved in the deal.

While Moyes will be delighted to be reunited with Fellaini, who he brought to Everton in a £15m transfer from Standard Liege in September 2008, there are still questions about how United eventually arrived at a £27.5m deal for the 25-year-old and whether he is the sort of player they actually require.

He will be disappointed, however, that he was unable to complete a double deal for his former Everton players by signing England defender Leighton Baines.

Read the article by BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty

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