It is fair to say Manchester United did not enjoy the best of transfer windows last summer.
Despite the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara and Ander Herrera being linked with a move to Old Trafford, David Moyes ultimately managed to bring in only Marouane Fellaini, on deadline-day and for considerably more than if he had acted sooner.
In January, the United boss went some way to putting those summer woes right, bringing in club-record signing Juan Mata to put a smile on many fans’ faces. But the Spaniard was the only arrival – and he was unable to inspire a league surge that would secure Champions League qualification for next season.
With another transfer window just around the corner, the rumours have already begun – did they ever stop? – linking United with some of Europe’s most exciting talent. But there is a sense that Moyes is no longer looking at quick-fixes, but at players who can form the bedrock of United for the next decade.
Fellaini’s signing has been deemed in some quarters to be a panic buy – the player Moyes moved for when he was unable to secure any of his other targets.
How true that is will never be known, but the Belgian is not the kind of player United fans can imagine their side being built around.
That can certainly be said of Mata, who has already shown glimpses of the player who shone in his early campaigns at Chelsea, but again, he was a quick-fix – an expensive signing Moyes no doubt hoped would spark his club’s season into life.
Neither Mata nor Fellaini were players for the future. Moyes could not afford that. They were players for the here and now, and they have had differing levels of success.
But with the likes of William Carvalho and Luke Shaw now being linked – players who are 22 and 18 respectively – it seems the quick-fix mentality is about to be ditched in favour of building for the future.
Both players are experienced first-team footballers who could slot into United’s side now; hence their reported price-tags. But they are also young, up-and-coming, next generation type of players.
Whether this is Moyes building for his own long-term legacy or the club securing the future of the club whoever may be in charge further down the line, it appears United may be about to undertake a different kind of spending that has little to do with panicking and everything to do with forward-thinking.