On January 31st, when the clock stuck 12:00 in the United Kingdom, Manchester United announced the signing of Odion Ighalo. Few hours and days before, United were scrambling striker after striker in their shortlist with a view to sign someone, anyone.
They had to replace, 2 players that left during the last window, who could have helped United in these times. Their main striker told them that he wanted to leave in March, 2019. The other one was forced out on loan with United having to pay a whopping 300,000 grand a week wage out of the 400,000 a week he was earning.
NO PLAN = LESS SUCCESS
Pushing out the deadwood is absolutely fine when it’s done with a plan. The plain simple fact is that United don’t seem to have one, albeit, a concrete one rather. A club of Manchester United’s size should be looking to bring a striker in before letting Lukaku go, especially, when the Belgian had made his stance clear, even before the window even began.
United went through to the summer and went ahead and sold Lukaku and got a decent enough price from the transfer to reinvest it. The problem was that, the transfer was completed with 24 hours to go for deadline. United had no time and had to make do with Martial, Rashford, Greenwood and Sanchez……..?? Cue the surprise.
20 days after selling their main striker, Manchester United decide to loan out their other versatile forward. All this without replacements and 6 months after Lukaku first informed he wanted to leave.
A MESS OF THE HIGHEST ORDER
No big club or their fans would tolerate such inefficiency, incompetence and lack of care towards their football club. The manager’s intentions to push out players who didn’t like it here was right. But, there’s a limit to everything. If they sold your centre forward without replacing him, don’t sanction another sale or loan before the replacement is in. Did he do that? Nope. He went ahead and sanctioned the loan and his squad has struggled with injuries.
HAALAND AND THE MEETING
Erling Braut Haaland, a striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer coached at Molde was available for a paltry sum of €20million from RB Salzburg. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ed Woodward went all the way to Austria to meet the player’s entourage and according to the Athletic, Alf Inge Haaland, the Norwegian’s dad, had visited Manchester United’s training HQ, Carrington. A transfer looked closer. But, the Norwegian chose Dortmund in January. He chose the Bundesliga over the Premier League. It was a natural choice for the player.
But, for Ole Solskjaer, that was his main target gone now. What did United do next? They waited till deadline day or the day before that, to scramble through their choice of strikers.
SCRAMBLING FOR A LOAN STRIKER IN JANUARY
On deadline day, it was revealed that, United were in for Bournemouth striker Joshua King, another Ole Gunnar Solskjaer protege. It’s being said across the British media that the deal failed halfway through deadline day because of two main reasons: one being United’s interest in a loan deal and Bournemouth reluctance to releasing him without a striker replacement.
It took United to Shanghai and Ighalo was signed. It has always been Ighalo’s dream to play for United it was revealed later. For Ighalo, this was a dream come true. For Manchester United Football Club, this is another damning example how poor their recruitment policy is.
Odion Ighalo might turn up and prove the fans wrong. It might turn out that United were smart once in a while.
But, fact remains, that United should have signed a striker that would start for the first team. Either in the summer or now. A club of United’s size MUST NOT be scrambling to get a 30 year old striker from the Chinese Super League on loan on the last hour in January.
P.S.: The author is fully in support of the signing in general and he fully wishes that the signing smart than sober.