The whimsical transfer window and bitter disappointment


AUTHOR: – Stretford_End

“Wesley Sneijder’s mum has been spotted in Marks and Spencers buying Manchester United underpants!” or “Luka Modric was seen eating a pickled egg walking down Didsbury” are just two of the things you may well hear (well maybe not exactly hear) in this loopy time known as the summer transfer window. Yes, it is the time clubs up and down the country throw out their old players onto the scrap heap, whilst dreams of a shiny new player (usually foreign) is seen galloping towards you on the horizon. What isn’t there to love about the transfer window? Speculation! Gossip! But most of all – utter bollocks!

The rise of social networking sites has seen the rise of the ITK trend. You know, the guy that knows a guy that knows someone who knows another person who once delivered a chicken tikka masala to the cleaning lady of Ryan Giggs’ mums friend – who has a source close to the club. How dare the agents of today command a fee when those good ITK folk are doing all of the negotiating for you! Here we address the highs and lows of the transfer window and look at some of the players that ‘got away’ over the years.

Just to clarify, I don’t hate the transfer window. There is nothing more exciting than bringing in new blood to freshen things up a bit. In United’s case, the signing of Phil Jones looks a decent piece of business long term – especially considering the FFP ruling that will be enforced over the next few seasons – and it will be interesting to see him lineup alongside Vidic or Ferdinand or Smalling or Evans. However, if we were ‘in negotiations’ with Jones, then I wouldn’t gave mentioned it at all, because he wouldn’t be a Manchester United player. What is with the constant desire to keep hitting F5 on the BBC Football website until the headlines PHIL JONES SIGNS FOR UNITED, flash up before your eyes. Fergie knows what he is doing. Why would we want United’s transfer proceedings to be common knowledge anyway? Look in 2003, United had to act quickly in order to stop the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Real Madrid and the Milan sides getting a piece of Cristiano Ronaldo. Imagine some buffoon had been banging on about it over Twitter. If this ITK knows, then I’m sure Europe’s finest know too.

So I like the transfer window. The likes of Roy Keane, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Jaap Stam, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Seba Veron, Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Nani and Javier Hernandez have all wandered through the Old Trafford doors on the eve of the season. However, it has thrown up some disappointments in the past. Below are some of the transfers that have left some reds, fists aloft – waving furiously, cursing the clowns involved in a transfer that either a) never existed or b) broke down because of wages/overall fee:

Ronaldinho: The bucktoothed wonder that dazzled the east coast of Spain for four seasons was apparently (I’m no ITK) extremely close to signing for the English Champions in 2003, however PSG were so enraged that United tried to talk down the agreed £19million transfer fee (believing no one else would match the fee) they went out and found a buyer in the 1992 European Cup winners Barcelona. I remember it now. Shopping in town with the wife, I received a text message from informing me that ‘Manchester United had pulled out of negotiations for Brazilian World Cup winner Ronaldinho’. I nearly let the Miss Selfridge mannequin have it, I was that annoyed having smugly assumed that all the papers were ‘telling the truth’. Ronaldinho went onto win the World Player of the year award, La Liga title and the European Cup. Whilst we signed ‘The man who won the World Cup’ Kleberson and some fancy pants bloke called Cristiano.

Frustrating transfer score: 90/100

Alan Shearer: Can lightening strike twice? When Alan Shearer is around, you betcha! Shearer chose Newcastle United over Champions Manchester United in a £15million move that saw the England marksman become the most expensive player in the world. Shearer had turned down United in the summer of 1992, when he left Southampton for Kenny Dalglish’s Blackburn Rovers. I’ve had numerous debates with non-Reds that ‘praise’ Shearer for going to his home town club, rather than opting for the glory and trophies at United. As you can imagine I’ve always argued that a top player, which Shearer was, should not doubt try and challenge themselves to the best of their abilities. Bryan Robson, in his autobiography, spoke of his bemusement that Shearer opted for the North East rather than the North West – where he would have won countless trophies. United went onto win the 1997 Premier League title, with Newcastle finishing in 2nd place. Shearer did get to two FA Cup finals, only to lose to Arsenal in 98 and treble chasing United in 99. It depends on who you talk to but many say that Jack Walker had no intention of selling their top asset to United. Cheer up Alan.

Frustrating transfer score: 80/100

Celio Silva: The barrel chested Brazilian defender was denied a work permit in the summer of 1997. Despite losing my idol, hero and favourite Frenchman a few months earlier, I now had the life crushing blow of losing out on ‘O Canhão do Brasileirão’ – the canon of Brazil. Who knows how the Corinthians man would have done in a Red shirt? He won 22 caps for ‘A Seleção’ – so he can’t have been that bad? Having said that, seasonal clown Roque Junior (who played, badly, for Leeds in the early part of the century) won 48 caps. So maybe he was shit.

Frustrating transfer score: 50/100

Zinedine Zidane: Although he may look like a comical balding character you’d put together on Pro Evolution back in the day, the mercurial Frenchman was the best player I’d seen since Maradona – and was heavily linked to United in the mid 90s prior to his move to the Old Lady of Turin in the summer of 1996. Some have cited Beckham’s development as a key factor (Zidane was apparently to play wide right) in not signing the Bordeaux magician, however we shall never know. Eric still had one year left at United and a team consisting of two number tens of such quality would have been interesting. However, spare a thought for poor old Blackburn Rovers – who were keen on signing the World Cup winner, again in the mid 90s before his move to Italy. Dalglish went to Jack Walker to discuss ‘this French bloke’ who he would like to sign. Jack Walker, famously, responded “Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?”. True story, unbelievably.

Frustrating transfer score: 70/100

Michael Ballack: “Manchester United fans. He is the one you need. Manchester United need to get on the phone and get an agreement sorted” shouted unknown radio presenter Paul Breen Turner at the end of 2005 on one of his shows as I drove home from work. The person who said it is irrelevant, however there were a number of Reds who thought the German captain would be an ideal replacement for the Celtic bound Roy Keane. Franz Beckenbauer once remarked that his countryman was a ‘better player than Zidane’ and had impressed in the Champions League for Bayern Leverkusen, however I think we can all agree that Zidane was a class apart from Ballack. He eventually joined Chelsea on a free transfer, although picked up a bumper signing on a fee and wage packet, but was far too pedestrianised for my liking in the Premier League. United were in transition, and lets not forget – we still had Eric Djemba Djemba on the books when our interested started…

Frustrating transfer score: 60/100

Gabriel Batistuta: Batigol may look like an annoying hairdresser from a reality TV show on channel 5, but by god – could the man strike a football. No one will forget his goal in 1999 against United at the Stretford End (in fact take a look below), Eric Young headband included, where he turned away from Jaap Stam and smashed the ball passed the helpless Bosnich. Younger fans might be surprised to find out that Batigol was actually relegated with Fiorentina in 92/93, indicating that there was once loyalty in football. Sadly, fans of the ‘Viola’ faithful sort of forgot this loyalty and destroyed a statue of the Argentinean great man in 2000 following his move to Roma. There is no denying Batistuta would have been a massive success at Old Trafford, however lets not forget that we did have a fair bit of quality at United at the time. Whether it was Batigol’s greed or Edward’s tightness (both have been cited as reasons as to why the transfer failed) – we’ll never know the reason as to why he did not sign.

Frustrating transfer score: 70/100

So, how about you? How frustrated were you when a nailed on transfer went tits up? Where you more annoyed at those self proclaimed experts that shout ‘a done deal’? Fast forward to the current day, can you see any of the creative midfielders linked to United actually making the move to the North West? I need to know, now!

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15 Comments on The whimsical transfer window and bitter disappointment

  1. United have NEVER bought a world ranking star

    Veron was on the decline.

    We won’t get wes, we won’t get luka, and we won’t get nasri

    Fergie will come out with the crap that he’s happy with the current squad.

    Fact is fact, the midfield Ain’t strong enough to win the league let alone win the champions league.

    I personally think its a joke.

  2. Um…. In case you heard, they just WON the league, and if it wasn’t for Barcelona’s unbeatable form, they would have won the Champs League…

    You’re dismissing the ability of an incredible coach/manager.

    You’re also stupid.

  3. Stuart. Are you referring to the article or to the comment by Alan? Don’t think I’ve slated Fergie ever in my life let alone in the post! Please clarify.

  4. I think Stuart was definitely meaning that for Alan.

    On article, this is a very well written piece. I’m with you on this one when I say I trust the big man. I accept any players that are signed. He knows best after all. It’s the shirt that matters to me, not the player.

  5. Hi guys,hope you don’t mind.Tottenham Fan here.But with the likes of Chelski and that other team across the road from you.The tranfers in the uk are becoming a joke.All the clubs with the exception of the two mentioned.Can just prize the rest of us out the market.By offering wages that are just out of reach of all the other clubs.(United inclueded.)I look forward to the day when there sugar daddies get tired of them,and they will both gom broke.Infair on their fans,but they seem quite happt to go along with the ride now.But at some tiime in the future when that money dissappears,the rest of us,will have no sympathy what so ever.Anyhow rant over and have an enjoyable season.

  6. My most frustrating recent transfer moment would have to be waiting the extra year for Owen Hargreaves. We had gone three years without the league title, and I thought Hargo would be the final piece of the puzzle that elevated Sir Alex’s next great side (and knocked the smile off Mourinho’s smug face). However, Bayern refused to sell that summer. As it turned out, we signed Carrick instead, and won the league the next season without Hargreaves, as Ronaldo emerged as the best player in the Premier League. However, the quest for the Champions League in 06/07 went down in flames as Kaka, whom Hargo would have marked, completely dismantled our midfield. We ended up getting our man in the end, and won the Premiership and Champions League in Hargreaves first (and only healthy) season.

    Off topic, but Sneijder’s wife looks like a total babe (even though she’s making a weird face in that photo)

  7. In regards to Zidane I always understood that it was between him and Poborsky, depending on who impressed at Euro 96. As it happened Zidane got injured and Poborsky, along with the Czechs, was a surprise package. The rest is history.

  8. i remember the celio silva transfer rumour,i was living in germany at the time. i got my dad to phone up(actually i have no idea who he called)the club,and asked if he had signed. coz for some reason i wanted his name on the back of my shirt

  9. Great article – I can remember wanting Batigol to sign so much and he would have been sensational for us for sure.

    Ronaldinho is another who rankles. Kenyon was the one to blame for that balls up!

    Veron was the right player in the wrong team. Needs the team built around him

  10. I’d argue that Shearer was more disappointing than Ronaldinho, purely because Ronaldinho turned into such a fat, disinterested lump.

    Shearer would’ve been as prolific in our team as van Nistelrooy proved to be, if not more. Of that I am confident.

  11. @stuart don’t be so naive and lullabyied by titles. the alan is right – fans want top world players in manchester shirt because we think we are worth it – club making millions and yet fergie always haggling that’s really piss me off, because of this ridicilous haggling we lost ronaldinho and now look slike we lose modric to cos for us unfortunately is too expensive (what a joke then you consider we are most valuable club in the world). and football to me it’s never a business football club it’s not for someone make profits and put it in a pocket. and i’am sure if we don’t invest in 2 more players (defensive midfielder and sneijder or modric) we will nothing next year, because of chelsea and city spending.

  12. and “barcelona unbeatable form” c’mmon man do me a favour plz..tell to somebody else, maybe to fergie who chose tactics so naive that is even i don’t wan’t to talk about it anymore:)

  13. I chose other, I’m still holding out on my dream of Fergie accepting the Napoli friendly, then being dazzled by Hamsik and realizing he’s the missing piece and signing him up after the team talks him up (ala Ronaldo).

    Sadly it probably won’t happen. I would be willing to bet that Fergie goes off the chart with someone that we haven’t heard too much of in the papers.

  14. i remember Super Ron, that was the most agonising transfer blunder ever! i mean if one’s gonna buy Wayne for as much as we did i would pay three times that for the Brazilian wonder. Imagine beating Barcelona and Mourinho’s Chelsea with Ronaldinho in our side. Would be great.

    I was also bitterly disappointed by the decision to let Hagro go, imagine if Wenger signs him now and he turns out great>>>i think the best solution would have been to offer him a one year contract on minimum wages an see how he turns out, what’s the point of waiting so long (3 seasons and pre-seasons) to let the bloke go?? bad business!!

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