After the David de Gea saga ended in acrimony, the fallout from the summer transfer window continued for Manchester United, who – lest we forget – probably sorted out a midfield bereft of depth for a decade.
The additions of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin in the centre of the park were welcomed gratefully by the Red Devils faithful, as were the captures of right-back Matteo Darmian and wide-forward Memphis Depay, but other aspects of United’s business left plenty to be desired.
Anthony Martial could be anything and would want to be at £36m, but buying a 19-year-old with plenty of pace and promise is one thing. Getting over the line with a deal for Thomas Muller would have been something else entirely.
Bayern Munich president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge admitted that a club, believed to be United, made a bid that, if he were a bank manager, he would be forced to accept, while noting that the increased TV money being pumped into English football is not great news for his crowd.
Chasing Muller, whose space-finding abilities have led to the nickname ‘Raumdeuter’ in Germany, may rank as an admirable pursuit, but it seems there was never any chance of convincing Bayern to sell, which makes Red Devils gaffer Louis van Gaal and Old Trafford money-man Ed Woodward look rather foolish.
Even worse, Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has suggested that he wasn’t far off joining United, with the collapse of De Gea’s move to Real Madrid eventually killing a deal.
When asked about the potential move on international duty with France, Lloris said:
“A lot of things were said and written. There could have been a development there but the desired movement didn’t happen”
Instead of Van Gaal obtaining a man many football watchers believe would be the perfect replacement for De Gea, the Iron Tulip now faces choosing between the disgruntled Spaniard and Sergio Romero, who has not looked world class, between the sticks.
All that being said, the 13-time Premier League champions still managed a much better summer than Chelsea, who can only really claim Pedro as a marquee signing from their seven purchases.
It could all have been so different had Juventus’ Paul Pogba plumped for a move to Stamford Bridge, with Gazzetta Dello Sport claiming an €85m bid was accepted by the Old Lady, which included Blues midfielder Oscar going the other way.
Alas, Pogba clearly didn’t fancy even a week or two in the lower reaches of the Premier League, where the title holders find themselves after picking up just a point-per-match on average from their four 2015/16 fixtures. Who could blame him?