Manchester United’s failed bid for Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho (assuming it really has failed) represents another in a long line of transfer disappointments for Manchester United fans.
When United do not complete a much publicised transfer, the fanbase tends to be divided between those supporting negotiators Ed Woodward and Matt Judge, agreeing that the club should not be held to ransom, and those condemning them as incompetent and/or penny-pinching.
In Woodward’s time – he first took charge of transfer business seven years ago in 2013 – United fans have spent their summers being dragged through soap opera after soap opera.
Moyes era: Cesc Fabregas, Tiago Alcantara, Gareth Bale
Van Gaal era: Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos, Pedro, Nicholas Otamendi
José Mourinho era: Kalidou Koulibaly, Ivan Perisic
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era: Matthijs de Ligt, Erling Haaland, Jude Bellingham, Jadon Sancho
That is thirteen ‘ones that got away’ for Woodward and Judge – almost two per year. Of course, it is hard to say how many of those deals United were right to pull out of and how many were never really serious in the first place. But we all remember the pain of watching the stories play out over every summer and dominate the back pages throughout the odd January.
And whilst Woodward and Judge have had their successes, some of them – notably Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes – came six months to a year after the first window of negotiations, so the fans endured plenty of pain in those instances, too.
The Paul Pogba transfer was also a protracted sh-tshow.
There have, of course, been more straightforward transfers under Woodward’s watch. The full list to date is:
Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata, Ángel Di María, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Falcao, Anthony Martial, Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sergio Romero, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, Victor Lindelöf, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexis Sanchez, Fred, Diogo Dalot, Lee Grant, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James.
It should be said that more than half of those 27 have already moved on to pastures new, with a couple more in the shape of Diogo Dalot and Marcos Rojo likely to follow shortly. And too many of them were dreadful pieces of business.
Watching Woodward and Judge negotiate is like watching someone with both erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation trying to consummate the business. For many negotiations you are rooting for them to get a hard-on, only to see them thrash away painfully before withering away under pressure. In other cases, you see them shoot their load at the mere sight of a Sanchez, Schweinsteiger, Falcao or Di Maria and United end up paying over the odds for a big name with a big reputation who is clearly not right for the club.
Most fans would agree that the appointment of a director of football would avoid much of the pain and humiliation that we have to endure twice a year. Failing that, let’s get some Viagra for Woodward and teach him the names of the 92 football league sides, in alphabetical order. Maybe that will spare us fans from a great deal of indignity when the transfer window is open.
Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood have scored over 60 goals between them so far this season. But how much do you know about other strikers who played for the Red Devils over the years? Take our quiz below to find out.