When the last season ended and David Moyes was sacked, there were concerns of equal measure on the working of one Ed Woodward. The twin losses of Sir Alex and David Gill has put increased pressure on Moyes and Woodward. Moyes may have got the sack following United’s pitiful performances on the field but Woodward didn’t come any cleaner. All the more reason that there is increased scrutiny on his performance in this transfer window.
Quick signings of Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw increased the expectations of United faithful but the alarming inactivity that followed and the loss to Swansea in the season opener has brought the focus back on the working of Woodward. The jury is divided on the adaptability of this squad and how quickly and how much will they fit into Van Gaal’s plans. But, it is for everyone to see that this squad doesn’t have the required legs or brains to see the 3-5-2 through. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are yet to convince of their abilities while Luke Shaw’s injury hasn’t helped either. Ander Herrera may have had a decent debut but Fletcher still looks short of confidence and fitness.
In the wake of all these, it becomes imperative that Van Gaal gets players that can help him play his formation. The team needs two central defenders and an enforcing presence in the midfield. If they can land a mercurial winger who can threaten defences with his runs, it would be a bonus. This makes Woodward’s performance more important. Add to this the fact that there are very few quality players available in the market, the pressure and situation for Woodward to deliver is doubly difficult.
There are many players who are fleetingly associated with United since the transfer activity started. There still are names that are being linked with like Benatia, Blind, Mexes (latest in the line of linked players), Di Maria, Vidal, De Jong (still surprised there isn’t a bid for this player) and Rojo. Some of these players are proving to be difficult to snatch (read Rojo), some are still waiting for an official bid (read Blind) and some clubs are proving difficult to deal with for some players (read Di Maria and Vidal)
The loss to Swansea has brought to light the magnitude of difficulties Van Gaal has in setting the house in order at Manchester United but more than Van Gaal, it is an indictment of Woodward’s actions. It is high time Woodward proves that he is not just a master marketer but also good at cracking deals at the right time. The jury is still out!