Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has built his reputation by getting what he wants – whether on the field or off it, the boss refuses to yield.
With the signing last week of highly rated Crystal Palace youngster Wilfried Zaha, Ferguson sent a resounding message to his competitors that Manchester United is the biggest club and that he, the head of the outfit, is prepared to go the extra mile to get what he wants.
United put in an early offer for Zaha, reportedly around £6 million which, naturally, Crystal Palace rejected because it was much lower than the valuation of one of the most highly rated and sought-after young talents in the land.
What Ferguson and his staff did achieve with that opening bid, however, is they let the player and his representatives know they were interested – not just interested but intent on bring him to Old Trafford to join the league leaders and one of the most prestigious and decorated football clubs in English, and European, history.
Whilst Zaha was a reported target of Arsenal who, despite manager Arsene Wenger dismissing that he ever had any interest in the player, were very keen to seal the deal for his signature.
The fact that Manchester United had already bid meant they would have to beat them on price to get him, firstly, which wouldn’t have been a major problem. The major problem is that the seed of a dream of putting on a United shirt and walking out onto the pitch at the ‘theatre of dream’ had already been strategically planted in the young boy’s mind.
If the player and his agent and his bank manager and his family believe there is a good chance and a high possibility that he could play for United, why would he want to go anywhere else?
Arsenal could have offered double that opening bid and, whilst Palace would likely have accepted it, the player would have likely held out. That is the genius of Ferguson’s transfer market tactics and now it looks set to be repeated with Celtic starlet Victor Wanyama.
Arsenal, again, along with a number of other Premier League outfits, are interested in signing the 21-year-old Kenyan. Whilst manager Neil Lennon is reluctant to let one of his best players go, he has probably resigned himself to the fact that is inevitability.
Reports have surfaced claiming that Ferguson is considering a £10 million bid for Wanyama before the transfer window slams shut. Celtic will likely reject that offer but the same narrative could very likely play out all over again – Wanyama will wait for Ferguson to come get him, even if that’s not until the summer.