Ed Woodward’s time thus far as executive vice-chairman of Manchester United has been a strange one.
First of all he was blamed by many United supporters for the bizarre summer of 2013, when new manager David Moyes’ only senior signing was Marouane Fellaini – brought in £4million more than a release-clause that had expired just weeks earlier.
More recently he was hailed as a brilliant negotiator, securing the signatures of Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin in a flurry of transfer activity earlier this summer.
In the time it took Woodward to sign a few cheques he had gone from zero to hero…but following the claims and counter-claims that United either had or had not been beaten to the signing of Pedro by Chelsea this month, he was quickly branded a clueless negotiator once more.
However, could he have been playing us all along?
After all, a recent report from the Sun claimed Woodward’s trip to Spain was not to do a deal for Pedro but was instead to conduct secret talks over a possible move for Brazilian superstar Neymar.
The 23-year-old may be out of the reach of United considering his importance to Barcelona and the fact that he has three years left on his current deal, but stranger things have happened.
The simple fact is if Woodward pulls this one off he will have gone from hero to zero and back again in no time.
Whatever happens, Woodward’s reputation among the fans could be defined – in the short-term at least – by what happens in the next few days.