On the last transfer deadline day, it is safe to say things did not go according to plan for Manchester United.
Following a late failed attempt to sign Fabio Coentrao on loan from Real Madrid, and some very confusing reports regarding Ander Herrera, David Moyes’ only business of note was the £27.5million capture of Marouane Fellaini.
And that particular signing has not exactly been a roaring success…at least not yet.
To judge the Belgian midfielder on his brief and injury-hit spell at Old Trafford would be both unfair and foolish. But as much as United fans will hope he comes good in the defensive midfield role he has seemingly been purchased to occupy, there are players potentially available during this window who could have done a considerably better job in the here-and-now rather than in an as yet hypothetical future.
One such player is FC Porto’s Fernando, who is approaching the end of his contract and has been heavily linked with both United and (more recently) Manchester City.
But while City do not need him – given the presence of Fernandinho, Yaya Toure et al – United most certainly do. And he would be available for considerably less than the £27.5million Moyes paid for his former Everton charge.
In fact for that price United could possibly have signed both Fernando and Nicolas Otamendi, the latter having been linked with United once more in recent hours, with Moyes’ club reportedly bidding £12.3million for the 25-year-old.
So for less than United signed Fellaini, they may have been able to bag a quality and experienced defensive midfielder and a centre-back to cover for the likely summer departure of Rio Ferdinand.
Then again, United could have spent the whole Fellaini fee on one man – Toni Kroos.
The Bayern Munich midfielder has been heavily linked with United in recent days, and while the latest reports suggest he may remain at the Allianz Arena at least until the summer, a bid in the region of that paid for Fellaini would have made both the player and his current club sit up and take notice.
Of course there is further money there should Moyes wish to spend it. But with Fellaini someway off making the required impact at the reigning champions, you wonder what could have happened if they had held back on spending on the last deadline day and instead taken a gamble or two this time round.
image: © joncandy