Tag Archives: Sir Alex Ferguson

Five shocking Manchester United transfers

One of the best clubs in Europe and a traditional top-six club in England, Manchester United have been a poor side in their performances since the departure of legendary manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.

Most of the poor performances can be attributed for the flawed transfer policies of Manchester United under both Sir Alex Ferguson and his successors. Here are the top five shocking transfers that went on to raise the eyebrows of Old Trafford fans.

Morgan Schneiderlin

Under Louis van Gaal, Manchester United were looking to sign some fresh talent and rebuild the club.  Legends such as Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes had just retired or were on the verge of retirement. Subsequently, Manchester United signed Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton for a reported fee of £25m. However, the French international failed to impress at Old Trafford and was shipped off to Everton in 2017 by Jose Mourinho for a fee of €23 million following his inconsistent performances at Stretford End.

Radamel Falcao

The Columbian international was one of those European league players who came with a high reputation to England. However, within the days of his arrival, “El Tigre” proved that he is not up to Premier League standard.

Ed Woodward signed Radamel Falcao on a loan deal following his impressive performances at Atletico Madrid, Porto and Monaco. Manchester United had signed the player on a season-long deal worth £6 million on the deadline day.

During his stay at Old Trafford, Falcao was able to score four goals and notch up five assists in 29 appearances across all the competitions.

United however chose not to make the loan move permanent and The Columbian forward experienced another unsuccessful stint in the Premier League at Chelsea.

Diego Forlan

The Uruguayan’s spell at Old Trafford was rather disappointing and proved to be one of the disastrous decision by the legendary manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.

 

Manchester United acquired the services of Forlan for a reported fee of €11 million from the Argentinian club, Independiente. However, the striker failed to live up to the hype with just 17 goals to his name across all the competitions. Forlan  did manage 98 appearances for the club under Ferguson as the manager looked to avoid the backlash from supporters after splashing out a huge amount in the transfer market.

Following on from his spell at Old Trafford, Forlan enjoyed rather more success at clubs such as Villarreal and Atletico Madrid, proving that a move away from the Premier League was the best decision for his career. 

Alexis Sanchez

If Manchester United fans were allowed to undo one signing ever, that would be Alexis Sanchez without a doubt. Jose Mourinho signed Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in a cash+player deal. Henrikh Mkhitaryan moved to Emirates and Alexis Sanchez to Old Trafford.

Coming with a huge reputation, Alexis Sanchez failed to be that star player whom the whole world admired in his Barcelona and Udinese days. In his 45 appearances for Manchester United, Sanchez managed just five goals and added nine assists to his name across all the competitions.

After Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the reigns at Old Trafford on a permanent basis, Sanchez was loaned to Inter Milan with the Norwegian international looking to transform the club. In one of the recent transfer rumors, Alexis Sanchez is rumoured to be part of deal for wonderkid Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.

 

Bebe

Ferguson has pulled the strings perfectly when it comes to transfers.  However, there is one instance where the successful Scottish Manager’s gamble on a player failed to come off.

Bebe, the Portuguese youngster was signed by Ferguson for a reported fee of €8.8 million in 2010 from the Portuguese club Vitoria de Guimaraes. The player was literally living on the streets of Lisbon before he got offered the chance to wear the esteemed jersey of Manchester United.

 

However, Manchester United realised their mistake early and allowed the winger to appear just seven times across all competitions for Manchester United. Moreover, Manchester United recovered some of their investment on the player by loaning him out to several clubs across Spain and Portugal.

In Modern football is too much blame being placed on the manager?

The past seven days in the premier league has witnessed two managers relieved of their duties.

Both Unai Emery at Arsenal and Quique Sanchez Flores, at Watford that was his second spell at the club and marked the hornet’s second managerial change of the season. 

Arsenal director Josh Kroenke revealed that the decision to remove Emery from his position had been ‘weeks’ in the making as they felt that the head coach had lost the backing of the fans. The former Sevilla and PSG boss was on a run of seven games without a win.

Former Arsenal player, Freddie Ljungburg, replaced the 48 year old and the Swede opened his managerial account with a 2-2 draw away to Norwich this past weekend.

Ljungburg is the latest appointment by a club chairman and the board of a former player at one of the big six clubs following the trend of Frank Lampard at Chelsea at the start of the season and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United and has prompted Kroenke to say that, “ Ljungburg has Arsenal DNA and understands the club.”

These latest managerial sackings however prompt the question… Is too much blame being placed on the manager?

Head Coach versus Manager role

For a start some teams nowadays have Head Coaches while others have Managers.

The former Tottenham Manager Mauricio Pochettino speaking in 2015, highlights the subtle differences between the roles:

“If you are the manager, you decide many things about the club.  But if you are a head coach, your responsibility is to play better, try to improve the players and to get positive results.”

Pochettino continued:

“At Southampton, I was manager my responsibility was not only to coach the team. With Tottenham, I am a head coach.  A head coach is head of your department. My department is to train the team.”

The attributes needed to be successful are reportedly the same for both roles, being adaptable in terms of training and good judgement on team selection for instance.

The head coach however can protest regarding lack of signings, but there is a lack of authority on the role compared with being a Manager.

It seems that the days are long gone when an Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson figure end up having complete control in terms of how things are run at football clubs.

Ultimately however is enough time given to managers or head coaches these days to implement the changes they require?

Former Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson, speaking to Harvard Business Review said:

“I believe that the cycle of a successful team lasts maybe four years and then some change is needed.  So we tried to visualise the team maybe three or four years ahead and make decisions accordingly.”

Ferguson continued: “Because I was at United for such a long time, I could afford to plan ahead – no one expected me to go anywhere. I was very fortunate in that respect.”

Is football after all a team game?

Football is supposed to be a team game, so shouldn’t the players, coaching staff and those who run the club be held equally accountable?

There is a squad of 25 players and even though the manager is there to inspire, implement tactics and produce impactful substitutions, he is not out there on the field playing the matches.

Sir Alex Ferguson was often praised for bringing on substitutes that would lead to last minute Manchester United winners. More recent examples include Jurgen Klopp and Brendan Rodgers, who have been praised for the way they set up their teams at Liverpool and Leicester City respectively.

Managers therefore are quickly praised but equally critics are ready to pounce if things are not quite going to plan. This leads to increased scrutiny on the man in charge and he is more often than not, provided with enough time to turn things around.

Flores for instance was only given 87 days so the window provided is getting shorter for managers to make the desired impact that the clubs fans and owners are looking for.

When asked about the recent pressure that Everton manger, Marco Silva was under, England and Everton’s number one goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford said:

“ A few bad performances should not put the manager under pressure”

Pickford continued:

“ We have to look at ourselves as individuals and as a squad.  You are a team and you win together and you loose together.”

Sacking managers is not always the answer

Pickford has currently had 11 managers throughout his Premier League career to date, since his introduction seven in three seasons at Sunderland, who are now currently in League One and four in the past three seasons at Everton.

Although Silva and his team enjoyed an impressive conclusion to the previous campaign, there is little suggest that Everton will challenge currently for the top six positions that they are looking to break into.

Owners expecting quick results

The influx of money, particularly in the Premier League and the spending power of clubs has changed, particularly in the past few years.

It has become harder for the top clubs to get the players that they want as other teams are under less pressure to sell and want to get the maximum amount for the player in question.

When the high transfer fees are spent, Emery for instance had over 100 million to spend on transfers over the summer, including 70 million on Nicholas Pepe from Lille, both the fans and the owners expect the side to hit the ground running.

If the desired results are not being delivered the boardroom will look for someone to blame. The easiest answer will ultimately always be the person in charge, the manager.

Challenging football schedules

Liverpool Manager, Jurgen Klopp eluded to this matter at the start of November as the German said,

“ Crazy football schedule for international players, there is no time for the manager to work with the players on the training field.”

Sadio Mane, one of Liverpool’s key attackers for instance has only had two weeks break all year round. The league leaders are currently at a start of a run that will see them play 13 matches over a six-week period.

It is therefore a struggle for a new manager or one that is under pressure to implement a new style of play or change tactics for an upcoming game if he does not have enough time to coach the players.

There is also the addition of international tournaments such as this year’s Nations League competition that increases the amount of time that players are away from their club sides.

The demanding schedules lead to the increased chances of injuries to significant players for key games as well as player fatigue that leads to a greater chance of players making mistakes out on the field of play.

Pressures of qualifying for Europe’s elite competitions

All the elite clubs strive to be apart of the Champions League with the prize money seemingly increasing year on year, for this season clubs would have secured roughly 15 million just for reaching the group stage.

This would drive club owners to make knee jerk decisions, especially if their team was not performing on the field.

Media scrutiny on Managers

Finally the media scrutiny on managers in this day and age is enormous.  Particularly for sides such as Manchester United and Liverpool, who have former players as pundits such as Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.

They are quick to point out what the manager should and should not do using video technology in their Sky Sports Studio.

The influence of the Video Assistant Referee is also proving to be a game changer this season.

The manager also has to watch what he says in the pre and post match interview. He is ultimately put under the microscope more than any one individual player as he is exposed to the media every week.

If a player has a bad game he can choose to avoid the media and public eye following the match and can always redeem himself the following week.

When it is going well, the manager is quick to be praised by everyone and can supposedly do no wrong.  When things however start to go wrong, fortunes can change very quickly, owners want to see a return on their increased investment and it is on the whole easier for them sack one person rather than wait till the transfer market to sell and sign numerous players. 

 Feel free to give 24/7 your opinion, is too much blame and pressure being put on the manager or head coach?

 

 

Rating every Man United signing since Fergie retired

Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, United have gone through a transitional period where the success they had previously enjoyed has so far not been replicated. Since his retirement, United have signed 31 players with varying degrees of success, read our ratings on every single one of them below.

 

Guillermo Varela– 4

The first post-Fergie signing was Uruguayan right back Guillermo Varela. The 20 year old could not break into the first team, only making 11 appearances, and had spells on loan at Real Madrid Castilla and Eintracht Frankfurt, before rejoining Penarol in the summer of 2017.

Marouane Fellaini– 6

Fellaini joined United from Everton for £27 million, and in the intervening four and a half seasons has endured an up and down time thus far. His first season flopped massively, as he only made 16 league appearances. Since then he has played in a variety of roles, and under Mourinho became an important part of the side before injury hampered his involvement.

Saidy Janko– 2

Janko joined in the summer of 2013 and failed to make a single appearance before being carted out to Celtic in July 2015.

Juan Mata– 8

Mata joined United in the 2014 Winter window, and was given the task of steadying an already sinking ship under David Moyes. Mata has been an important fixture of the post  Fergie United sides, getting into double figures for goals in each of the 14/15, 15/16 and 16/17 seasons. This season he has struggled somewhat, but overall has been a great signing, and potentially David Moyes’ only good decision as United gaffer.

Ander Herrera– 7

Van Gaal’s first signing, Herrera has been important to United, and has become a fan favourite for his passion and all action style of play. The 28 year old is capable of going forward, and also doesn’t shirk his defensive duties, often becoming an indispensable part of the side.

Luke Shaw– 5

After becoming the most expensive teenager in world football following his £30 million switch from Southampton, expectations were high. His first season he often sat on the sidelines. He started his second season as first choice left Back, before a double leg break in September ended his season, and many would argue he is yet to fully recover from this setback. Mourinho has often criticised his work rate and desire, but at 22 there is still time for him to turn it round.

Vanja Milinkovic-Savic– 1

A Serbian goalkeeper who agreed to Join United from Vojvodina in 2014, before being immediately loaned back. When the summer of 2015 arrived he was unable to gain a work permit, and was released by United in November.

Marcos Rojo– 6

Rojo had a very good World Cup with Argentina, and was snapped up by United for £16 million in 2014. The aggressive defender has struggled to nail down a regular first team place, and has suffered from injury problems during his time at Old Trafford. During the 16/17, Rojo formed a strong partnership with Phil Jones and enjoyed his best season to date. However, this season he hasn’t been able to replicate that form due to injury.

Angel Di Maria– 3

Di Maria’s signing was seen as a massive coup for United, as he had just had the best season of his career at Real Madrid, staring in the Champions League Final with a man of the match performance. His one and only season in Manchester started brightly, but turned sour quickly and his time at Old Trafford was cut short when he joined PSG in 2015. Since then he has regained his best form in France, but the fact of the matter remains, for £59.7 million Di Maria is one of United’s biggest flops.

Daley Blind– 5

Blind has suffered from being moved around the pitch too much, and as a result no one really knows his best position. He was important under Van Gaal, but his importance under Mourinho has diminished. Overall a good squad player but is unlikely to be considered a United great.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah– 6

A shrewd signing from Ajax’s youth setup, the Dutch defender has shown glimpses of real talent in his 21 United appearances, and is currently enjoying a good loan spell with Crystal Palace. At 20 years of age, Fosu-Mensah could definitely be one to look out for.

Victor Valdes– 2

Brought in as back up to David De Gea, Valdes was never likely to usurp his fellow Spaniard. Playing twice before leaving in January 2016.

Sadiq El Fitouri– 2

His journey from non league Salford to Premier League United is legendary. His career at Old Trafford was anything but, leaving after never making an appearance.

Radamel Falcao– 2

Another expensive flop, Falcao arrived on loan for £6 million on transfer deadline day. The legendary striker was easily one of the most feared strikers on the planet in his heyday. Four goals in 29 games was a measly return, and Falcao left the Premier League a flop, then returned with Chelsea the season after and again flopped.

Andy Kellett– 1

Perhaps an unknown signing to most fans, Kellett signed on loan from Bolton in January 2015. However, he never got close to the first team in his six months, and returned to Bolton, now playing for League Two Chesterfield.

Memphis Depay– 4

Depay’s time at Old Trafford was short and many fans felt he should have been given more of a chance than the 18 months he was afforded. His £25 million move from PSV had fans excited, especially after his 28 goal haul led them to the league title. His first season wasn’t an out and out success, but 7 goals in 45 games for a player adjusting to a new league isn’t terrible. But as the 16/17 season it became clear Mourinho wasn’t convinced by Depay and he was shipped out in January to Lyon.

Matteo Darmian– 6

Darmian has suffered due to the sudden emergence of Antonio Valencia as a world class right back, but has still performed adequately when called upon. The 28 year old is good back up and has adapted his game to play on the left side of defence, as well as his more comfortable right side.

Bastian Schweinsteiger– 4

A World Cup winner in 2014, Schweinsteiger came with a near unrivalled pedigree after 13 years at Bayern. His time at Old Trafford didn’t live up to expectation, with it being quite clear the midfield general wasn’t the player he once was. However, he was well liked and respected by United fans, and never looked completely out of place in a United shirt.

Morgan Schneiderlin– 4

On the other hand, Schneiderlin never really looked good enough for the Red Devils, unable to recapture the form that made him a standout player at Southampton. £25 million seemed a good enough deal at the time, but particularly under Mourinho, Schneiderlin didnt fit and his move to Everton suited all parties.

Sergio Romero– 6

A free transfer from Sampdoria, many expected Romero to fill the shoes Valdes was to vacate, as second in command to De Gea. Romero has so far exceeded that role, played 35 times and put in some brilliant performances when given the chance. His presence ensures De Gea is always at the top of his game.

Anthony Martial– 8

The £36 million move was seen by many as a risk for an unproven youngster, his debut goal against Liverpool put an end to those ideas, and ever since he has looked like a brilliant acquisition for the Reds. Second season syndrome set in slightly, but this campaign has seen Martial back to his best, with 11 goals and counting.

Regan Poole– 4

The young welsh defender has only made the one appearance for the first team so far after his move from Newport, but is held in high regard by those at the club and looks to have a bright future.

Eric Bailly– 7

Bailly has looked very calm, confident and assured every time he has donned the United shirt. But his main problem has been failing to stay injury free for long enough to become a main stay in the team. His talent and potential are there to see, if he can stay fit he could be a key figure in the first team for years to come.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (part 1)– 10

Ibrahimovic was simply unbelievable in his first spell at United, his goals secured them the League Cup and he played a major role in helping United to win the Europa League. Add this to the fact that he came on a free transfer, Ibrahimovic must be considered one of the best signings in United’s history, and if injury hadn’t cut his season short, who knows what might have happened.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan– 5

Mkhitaryan is one of the strangest signings United have ever made. He struggled to get into the first team during the early stages of his first season, then when he finally did his form was unbelievable. His second season started with him in the first team, but he then lost his place and was part of a deal to bring Alexis Sanchez to United. When he played he was more often than not very impressive, and his departure was very bitter-sweet for the Old Trafford faithful.

Paul Pogba– 7

The prodigal son returned for the measly sum of £90 million, breaking the world transfer record in the process. During his first season he showed glimpses of his talent, but not often enough to justify the huge price tag. This season he has started to prove the doubters wrong, with his displays often being spectacular, but injuries have hindered his playing time somewhat. On top form there are not many better.

Victor Lindelof– 4

The Swede arrived for £31 million from Benfica, and has thus far had no real impact. It is often the case that new signings need some time to bed in, in particular defenders, and that allowance must be made for Lindelof. Given time he could prove himself and justify his price tag.

Romelu Lukaku– 7

He started brilliantly this season, then hit a dry spell, but is now slowly regaining his form. The big Belgian splits opinion amongst football fans, and there are still big areas of his game that he must improve on, but he scores goals and that is the most important thing. Given time to adapt to playing for a big club, Lukaku will come good for United, and could one day lead them to their first post-Fergie title.

Nemanja Matic– 7

Matic goes about his work quietly and does it with minimum fuss. His arrival from Chelsea was surprising, as to allow a player of Matic’s quality to go to a direct rival was a terrible move on Chelsea’s part. A two time Premier League champion, Matic knows what it takes to win the league, and his experience could prove vital to United over coming years.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (part 2)– 4

His second coming has not lived up to expectations so far, injuries have meant he hasn’t been able to play as much as he would have liked. At 36 years of age it may be the case that the legs have gone, and with Lukaku or Sanchez more likely to start ahead of him even when he returns to full fitness, it is unlikely Ibra is guaranteed a starting spot.

Alexis Sanchez– 6

It is almost impossible to judge Sanchez on one game (a game in which he was voted man of the match). But having said that the signing of Sanchez shows real intent from United, and on his day he is one of the best players in the world. If he can replicate the form he showed at Arsenal, United have a brilliant player on their hands.