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Rant about Man Utd's transfer activities

A lot of you know me as the positive guy around here. Last season when people were losing their minds and doubting Sir Alex, I was spouting my esoterical philosophies and getting as many as people as possible to list their best case scenarios for the season.

If there is one aspect of Man Utd that keeps ****ing me off, it would have to be our performances in the transfer market.

Year after year, I witness how we pay over the odds for players we could have bought, if we had pounced earlier and at the same time we manage to sell players at a loss. In some cases we just pay too much – period.


Not since the days of Jaap Stam and David Beckham have we sold a player at a decent price and if you asked me, we were crazy to sell Beckham for £25million. When he left Madrid for LA, Real announced that they had made 300million Euros from David Beckham and merchandise they sold with his image.

Now to be fair, I would have to say that Sir Alex got it right on many occasions like with Roy Keane, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Andy Cole, Cristiano Ronaldo and Eric Cantona.

But even Eric Cantona was a bit of a lucky break, because it was the Leeds manager who mentioned Eric could be bought, if Alex was interested. Sir Alex was bowled over and took up the offer – he originally had called because of another player, so lady luck was smiling on us all there.

Consider the following:

Rio Ferdinand was sold from West Ham to Leeds for £18million and was bought 18 months later by Man Utd for £29million making him the most expensive defender in the world - a record that still stands.

Dimitar Berbatov finally joined our ranks on Monday the 1st of September 2008, but Sir Alex admitted, what I had read in the German press, which is that Man Utd knew all about Berbatov and had bid for him, but entered the transfer too late and in the end he went to Spurs for £10.9million.

According to the German press, Man Utd wanted to wrap up the sale of Ruud van Nistelrroy before focusing on Berbatov and in the end he went to Spurs.

On Monday we bought him for a reported £30.75million.

Speaking of Ruud, the brother of Sir Alex, Martin, had scouted him on a muddy pitch in the Netherlands and thought he had uncovered a marvelous player. The local scout who was with him kept saying he wasn’t United quality.

Martin instructed him to keep tabs on the player and to report back, if he was moving. The Dutch scout did not do so and the next time they saw Ruud he was banging in goals for PSV and ended up costing Man Utd £19million.
For goodness sake, hire an assistant for Martin Ferguson to remind him of which players he wanted the local scouts to keep tabs on!


Ruud was sold in the summer of 2006 for £10million with a lot of people saying it was a fair price for a 30 year old. In the same summer, Chelsea spent £30million to bring 30 year-old Andiy Shevchenko to Stamford Bridge.

This summer, Mikael Silvestre and Louis Saha were sold for a measly £750k and £4million respectively.

Now in the case of Silvestre, I can understand. He was up for a testimonial, but just wanted regular football and the club wanted to make it easy for him to leave. But in the case of Saha, £4million is a big loss on a player, who cost us around £12million.

Injuries and all, Lyon put in a bid of £9million for him last summer. Man Utd didn’t take it and the most telling contribution he made all season was to score against Sunderland. You might say, those points helped to win the league, but if we had sold him, we would have had the cash to pursue other targets. Maybe someone like Fernando Torres?

Or better yet, if we had bought Berba in the summer of 2006, we could have just sold the balsa wood man.

In short, with have too many cases like RVN being sold below value and not enough instances like Kieran Richardson being sold at decent or even above value.

It’s starting to vex me, because I can’t get my head around how a club like man United can’t hire enough people to pull of multiple transfers at the same time. How could we move too late for Berba, when we wanted him?!?!

For goodness sake higher one extra person to handle transfers and save the club millions of pounds!!!

In addition, it makes the club and the fans look a bit silly really. Having to pay so much more than any other club and then selling players like David Beckham and RVN on the cheap is a crime. Even if Sir Alex wanted them out, they should have been sold at market value. Can I mention that Thiery Henry was sold for £16.5million last season at the age of 29?

It seems to me that many, many millions of pounds are being wasted by the club I love because of simple bad planning. I would be much obliged, if someone could forward this to David Gill or the Glazers.

I would love to do a lot of Root Cause Analysis for them and help them plan their transfer activities.

I would work for a low-level manager’s salary and a pair of season tickets.

Thank you.
 

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we dont sell good players full stop, if the boss still thinks they fit his plans they stay . there are many players we could have theoretically got earlier and cheaper but the minute man utd come sniffing the price goes thru the roof .

we are also lucky enough to be in position of not having to gamble .

thats what our feeder club spurs is for .:D
 

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I actually fully understand your views.

And I would agree with them.

What really annoyed me about Van Nistelrooy was that, although the right decision was getting rid of him, he was certainly worth more money, or at least a player in exchange.

Paying over the odd's for these players is quite annoying. And who knows, if we had signed them earlier, they might have become better players. Rio has really became the player he is now in the last 2 years, but if we had signed him earlier, it may have happened a lot earlier.

Another thing is selling young players who are going to be stars after promising them first team football. That REALLY annoys me.

But I suppose, it usually works out in the end, no matter how annoying it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
manutd004 said:
I actually fully understand your views.

And I would agree with them.

What really annoyed me about Van Nistelrooy was that, although the right decision was getting rid of him, he was certainly worth more money, or at least a player in exchange.

Paying over the odd's for these players is quite annoying. And who knows, if we had signed them earlier, they might have become better players. Rio has really became the player he is now in the last 2 years, but if we had signed him earlier, it may have happened a lot earlier.

Another thing is selling young players who are going to be stars after promising them first team football. That REALLY annoys me.

But I suppose, it usually works out in the end, no matter how annoying it is.
Exactly, it's hard to argue because we've been successful, but it's annoying nonetheless.

Not to mention a waste of resources.

Rossi was sold for 7million pounds and 6 months later, AC Milan were ready to offer 15 million pounds for him.

I'm worried the other big clubs are starting to see Man Utd as an easy target. I have a distinct feeling if Rossi had been at another club, he would have been sold for a lot more than 7 million pounds.
 

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RedForceRising said:
Exactly, it's hard to argue because we've been successful, but it's annoying nonetheless.

Not to mention a waste of resources.

Rossi was sold for 7million pounds and 6 months later, AC Milan were ready to offer 15 million pounds for him.

I'm worried the other big clubs are starting to see Man Utd as an easy target. I have a distinct feeling if Rossi had been at another club, he would have been sold for a lot more than 7 million pounds.
No forgetting Pique, who sold for about 5m was it?

I wouldn't mind if we got good money for them, but Rossi in particular.

After all, Sir Alex once said, even when Van Nistelrooy was here, that he was the best finisher at the club.

So why only £7m?

And Pique was talented and is going to be a top defender. But 5 or so million? Yes, I know Evans will probably become a better defender. But all the same.

I also think that our scouting system should have been brought up to scratch earlier. Yes, we have now found the twins, Possebon, Manucho etc. But before that, we didn't find many potential gems, did we?
 

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Very good and valid rant. Keep ranting about it unti it is finally heard in the hierachy at OT. But since RFR has done his homework yet again to cover all grounds and has clearly excelled himself in the department of statisticis, I shall be brief.

Long story short, I am disappointed and slightly embarrassed that a massive club like ours could be so easy and generous on transfers but more importantly, about our finances. While I agree with Haggler that prices inevitably skyrocket whenever United come sniffing, there are 4 sticking points here.

Firstly, why do we seem to hesitate or drag our feet or indecisive over potential transfer targets in the first place? The latest Berbatov is yet another case for the archive. Besides the obvious escalation in the prices we have to eventually fork out, the length of services is perhaps more important in this ultra competitive era. The worst case in this aspect has to be VDS - we finally landed him 5 years later?! We could have had him for an extra 5 good years of service, instead of experimenting and wasting much precious time (and titles) with our previous short-lived keepers eg Bosnich, Taibi etc.

Secondly, I agree with RFR that should it be necessary (and it does look like we are in dire need as a matter of fact), it is definitely wise to employ an extra scout even if it saves you just an extra million in the next deal. But of course, I am just playing light, for the actual savings would be many more folds but you get the drift. Simple mathematics and common sense.

Thirdly and the most sore point of all, we are too generous with the sale of our own players. While I agree that it was probably time for RVN and Beckham to leave, selling the top scorer in EPL for 10m and the latter media darling for 25m are definitely very bad business. Worse when we are selling to another club that matches our size and stature. Just think about this. Will Real Madrid ever sell to United a player that must go but still at the top of his game for 10m? If not, why are we doing so?!!! Pray tell, I don't see other big clubs doing this sort of charity sale. And not even 1m for for a solid and experienced Silvestre to one of our closest rivals to boost their weakest link is laughable too and looks really silly on us. To add more misery, we see Arsenal holding out at 16.5m for their top striker Henry and Real Madrid fetching a new British transfer price for a must-go Robinho (do remember they still refused to sell to Chel$ki over the replica shirts and if not for a final-day bid by Citeh, would have most likely be rotting in Madrid until he 'repents').

Fourthly, there seem to be a careless attitude towards finances and a poor sense of business acumen in this transfer aspect. I am not really sure what is wrong or who could be so gullible behind it. Is it Gill or is it Fergie? Or is it just the financial controller (a convenient scapegoat for the 'untouchable(s)?!) that needs to be 'sacked for poor financial control'?
 

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I totally agree, and there isn't really much more I can say, although I do think we have improved when it comes to selling our players.

Smith - 7M
Heinze - 8M
Bardsley - 2M
Richardson - 7M
Pique - 5M (last year of contract remember)
Rossi - 7M BUT Fergie said we have a set buy back price where we can buy him back at any time.

I'm still angry over the Beckham deal though. 24M is a lot of money, except when it comes to Beckham as Madrid probably got that fee back within the first month due to shirt sales.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
versa said:
Very good and valid rant. Keep ranting about it unti it is finally heard in the hierachy at OT. But since RFR has done his homework yet again to cover all grounds and has clearly excelled himself in the department of statisticis, I shall be brief.

Long story short, I am disappointed and slightly embarrassed that a massive club like ours could be so easy and generous on transfers but more importantly, about our finances. While I agree with Haggler that prices inevitably skyrocket whenever United come sniffing, there are 4 sticking points here.

Firstly, why do we seem to hesitate or drag our feet or indecisive over potential transfer targets in the first place? The latest Berbatov is yet another case for the archive. Besides the obvious escalation in the prices we have to eventually fork out, the length of services is perhaps more important in this ultra competitive era. The worst case in this aspect has to be VDS - we finally landed him 5 years later?! We could have had him for an extra 5 good years of service, instead of experimenting and wasting much precious time (and titles) with our previous short-lived keepers eg Bosnich, Taibi etc.

^Very good point. What's even worse is that we didn't try to get him when he went to Fulham. I read in oneof his interview that he was actually shopping for houses in Manchester before he transferred to Juventus. So we dragged our feet over him twice

Secondly, I agree with RFR that should it be necessary (and it does look like we are in dire need as a matter of fact), it is definitely wise to employ an extra scout even if it saves you just an extra million in the next deal. But of course, I am just playing light, for the actual savings would be many more folds but you get the drift. Simple mathematics and common sense.

^Yep, we definitely need another one. I put up thearticle on this site before. In the interview it's clear that Martin Ferguson is the only main scout for transfers outside of the UK. He relies on local scouts to give him reports and then flies there himself to check out players or opponents.

It doesn't seem like a very professional set-up to me.


Thirdly and the most sore point of all, we are too generous with the sale of our own players. While I agree that it was probably time for RVN and Beckham to leave, selling the top scorer in EPL for 10m and the latter media darling for 25m are definitely very bad business. Worse when we are selling to another club that matches our size and stature. Just think about this. Will Real Madrid ever sell to United a player that must go but still at the top of his game for 10m? If not, why are we doing so?!!! Pray tell, I don't see other big clubs doing this sort of charity sale. And not even 1m for for a solid and experienced Silvestre to one of our closest rivals to boost their weakest link is laughable too and looks really silly on us. To add more misery, we see Arsenal holding out at 16.5m for their top striker Henry and Real Madrid fetching a new British transfer price for a must-go Robinho (do remember they still refused to sell to Chel$ki over the replica shirts and if not for a final-day bid by Citeh, would have most likely be rotting in Madrid until he 'repents').

^ Silvestre to Arsenal was really ridiculous. He's not going to get first team football there and yet they get to benefit from his experience; especially about Man Utd's tactics. Even if the player need to go, at least get top dollar for them or AT THE VERY LEAST don't sell him to your fierce rivals

Fourthly, there seem to be a careless attitude towards finances and a poor sense of business acumen in this transfer aspect. I am not really sure what is wrong or who could be so gullible behind it. Is it Gill or is it Fergie? Or is it just the financial controller (a convenient scapegoat for the 'untouchable(s)?!) that needs to be 'sacked for poor financial control'?
BTW, the colour you write in, is really quite difficult to read. Would you consider switching to a different colour? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
manutd004 said:
No forgetting Pique, who sold for about 5m was it?

I wouldn't mind if we got good money for them, but Rossi in particular.

After all, Sir Alex once said, even when Van Nistelrooy was here, that he was the best finisher at the club.

So why only £7m?

And Pique was talented and is going to be a top defender. But 5 or so million? Yes, I know Evans will probably become a better defender. But all the same.

I also think that our scouting system should have been brought up to scratch earlier. Yes, we have now found the twins, Possebon, Manucho etc. But before that, we didn't find many potential gems, did we?
Let you in on a little something. Anderson and the wins were spotted by Sir Alex himself, as was Ben Foster.

Manucho was spotted by contacts of Carlos Quieroz, so really what have the club's sqouts found lately?

By all accounts, Gibson and Possebon. We need to step up our game in the scouting department.
 

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RedForceRising said:
Let you in on a little something. Anderson and the wins were spotted by Sir Alex himself, as was Ben Foster.

Manucho was spotted by contacts of Carlos Quieroz, so really what have the club's sqouts found lately?

By all accounts, Gibson and Possebon. We need to step up our game in the scouting department.
I knew Anderson was spotted by Sir Alex, as Foster kind of was, as he was on loan at his so Darren Fergusons team at the time I believe and his son told him about Foster.

However, I didn't know about the twins. And I knew Manucho was spotted by Carlos's assistants now that you mention it.

But two players in the last 2/3/4 years isn't good enough imo. I guess theres Petrucci and Macheda, but Petrucci came from Roma so I suppose he didn't need much scouting (I've forgotten who Macheda came from ;)) But its too early to tell whether they can be counted yet.

Thats why I believed we should have had a foreign assistant, preferably with a lot of contacts, to try to recreate Carlos's scouting ability.

Hopefully he still tips us off ;)
 

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I've heard that the twins were first seen at a youth tournemant in Hong Kong if I remember correctly, and Fergie says that we have 3 scouts who cover all of Brazil, so they probably found them and Rodrigo Possebon.
 

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^As far as I can remember, United were in Hong Kong for a friendly pre-seasn promotional type tour and Fergie saw them in the U-17 competition that was being played at the time.

I guess lady luck comes into the equation. it was also during a friendly with Sporting that Man Utd were bowled over by a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.

I'm glad we have scouts in Brazil, because that country just keeps producing outstanding footballers, who come from poor backgrounds and need to fight to be good at football and get a chance at a better life.
 

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i think all utd fans agree we get ripped off when we buy players ,yet when we sell we normally leave them go cheaply .its not very clever business really is it and like some other guys said if utd showed some bottle and bought the player on first viewing we would have saved tens of millions ,nistelrooy being the perfect example £4m-£19m.
 
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