Roy Keane has blamed Manchester United’s shortfalls in the transfer market over the past few years as the foundation for our struggles this year under David Moyes.
In January, United brought in £37 million Juan Mata which was a real statement of intent but it failed to address the bigger problems that United have had in central midfield and left-back.
Our failed attempts to sign the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Ander Herrera, Sami Khedira, Leighton Baines and Fabio Coentrao at least showed intent in the summer but the lack of necessary signings is an issue that stems further back than this summer, something Keane draws upon.
“They’ve kind of cut corners in terms of transfers in the last few years, they’ve not gone out and got the big players, and it’s just caught up with them this year,” Keane told itv.com:
“I think Man United need five or six players. If it happens in the summer then instead of being fearful of it, embrace it – it’s exciting. These can be exciting times for Man United. Get them back to the very top where they belong.”
Since the Glazers took over the club in May 2005, they have spent over £696m on interest fees, bank charges and debt repayment, and around half that much on players: £382m.
Moyes has accepted that United need a major overhaul this summer and there’s no doubt that United’s failure to genuinely strengthen key areas has hurt us this year. Ferguson was the glue that made an ageing squad outperform and without him, the side’s weaknesses are being exposed but Keane doesn’t accept that United are down and out this year.
He continued: “There’s always something to play for. You’ve always got to win your next football match so if you’re telling me in January that your season is over, or when the Champions League starts, that’s nonsense.
“You’re playing for pride, you’re playing for points, and United, if they do go out of the Champions League, still want to get in it next year.
“I think the man [Moyes] deserves plenty of time. I think people have been afraid to use the word that there might be ‘rebuilding’ going on but that’s exactly the word I would use.”
“I think beating Olympiacos will be the priority. On form at this moment in time you have to say the Champions League is a long way off for Manchester United. But lots will change over the next few months. I think United will beat Olympiacos.
“They’ll have Rooney, Van Persie back after injuries. At this moment in time, would I fancy United for the Champions League? Probably not. But they’re still a threat, they’re still there. Big team, big players and in a couple of months’ time when the big players are back up to speed with their fitness United will be a dangerous team.
“Watching United more closely perhaps than other people, you still think the Van Persie’s and the Rooney’s if they’re at it, will be a threat to the competition. I still think United can be dangerous if they get their act together over the next month or two.”
It’s not often I agree with Keane but in this scenario, he talks a lot of sense. Players should want to play for pride and no run of bad form should ever change that. They need to want to play for the shirt they are wearing.
His assessment that a lack of investment in the right areas is the foundation of our current issues is right as well and in terms of current pessimism, it is understandable given the run of performances we have had but if we do get our act together, we’ve got the squad capable of pushing for that top four spot if we buck our ideas up.