I’ve always wondered about the anatomy of a transfer window. Open for over two months, nobody does much for a while. And then, at some pre-determined point a club just unleashes a madness. In the case of any Harry Redknapp managed team that means signing Crouchy, Sandro, Niko, Azza and Benoit at 11.59 on transfer deadline day. Ed Woodward clearly likes to play a little transfer poker too, from his position topless on a horse, of course. Screw Putin. This morning Ed will feel like invading several western countries simultaneously, just because he can. Playdough face always gave the impression that he knew what he was doing this summer, which is quite a f*cking turnaround from the shambles of 2013. Memphis Depay was wrapped up in May with great haste as PSG loitered. He even let the cocky Dutchman be extensively wooed by Liverpool before sidling through the saloon doors, pulling his Smith and Weston and shooting them dead before they had time to put down their roasted rat leg and and reach for their water pistol.
But then nothing happened for a while, presumably because Ed was drinking double whiskies at the bar. People started to panic. I was not one of these people, for the first time ever. I think I’m getting old. It always appeared that the club’s executive Vice President had it covered, particularly after he laid a chocolate Mr Whippy in Florentino Perez’s bed for trying to bully United into giving up David De Gea on the cheap. But with the tour approaching, a relatively short tour and part of a pre-season involving only four games, it was imperative that United did as they had briefed they would and do the bulk of their business early. Early seemed to be passing without such promises being made good. With hindsight, Ed was just sitting on his little chubby hands, waiting to strike like a cobra. July 1st, golf. July 2nd, Opera. July 3rd, Theatre. July 4th, Shopping. July 5th, Kite Flying. July 6th, Lazer Quest, July 7th, GRENADES.
6 days before the squad set off on tour off went the alarm on Woody’s iPhone and, immediately jumping to attention, he blew sh*t up. Well, strictly speaking he phoned Di Marzio first, but then began THE MADNESS. First came Darmian, as Nani was levered out of the back door. United signing a player in a position they definitely needed to strengthen for a modest fee. This was new. As was finding someone stupid enough to take Nani’s wages off United’s books. Ed clearly saw Fenerbahce coming and even persuaded them to take RVP too. Sad times, but necessary, what with the Dutchman’s legs looking like they may fall off at any moment. What a season 12/13 was for Van Persie and United. What memories. His contribution that year will never be forgotten. What a disappointment after that. Nani too. We really did have some fun with him, and circa 2009/10 he was amongst the most productive wingers in Europe, but since then he’s been a joke, albeit a joke who Dave and Ed decided was worth a five year deal two summers ago. Strange logic, as Moyes didn’t seem to particularly want the player any more than Fergie had towards the end of his glorious reign. Hey ho, he’s gone now. Let’s paaaaarrrtaaayyy.
Still, offloading players, whilst a necessity, does not win football matches. We needed some inbound shizzle and quick. Ed had it covered. As the clock ticked down towards the flight to the United States he decided to relax and take in some of the tennis at Wimbledon. How nice. But Ed has TENTACLES. One of those tentacles was busy signing German World Cup winning captain and Bayern Munich legend Bastian Schweinsteiger. What a rush. Social media was immediately flooded by fans of rival clubs falling over themselves to announce how ‘over the hill’ the magnificent Teuton is. Which is sweet. Bless you all. As Henry Winter masturbated wildly for 24 hours straight, Duncan Castles took to Twitter to further develop his reputation as a slightly unhinged parody that’s not a parody, mocking United for signing a player with the German’s injury record. You’d do well to focus on your own sanity record Dunc. He’s got his idea for next week’s Sunday Times United whine though, so he can relax for a few days. I just want to stroke his shiny pate and tell him that it’s going to be ok and that there is help out there, albeit probably not in South Africa. Unlucky. Actually, mental health services in the UK are pretty much non-existent now thanks to Dishface and co, so there’s no point in flying home either. Bummer. He’ll have to make do with his standard form of counselling, that being turbo DMing insignificant critics such as myself. He didn’t react well to my claim that he’d praise Mourinho if he unleashed his bowels on his mum. Harsh, but fair, I thought.
Anyway, back to The Mighty Ed. There were rumours that Schneiderlin may be signed on Sunday, but nothing concrete. A lad tweeted a picture of a bag of blood with the Frenchman’s name on it and claimed that his mate had just picked it up from Carrington. Lots of people got excited. I was scornful. The joke was on me. The Manchester Evening News broke the story of the secret medical and signing, their first exclusive since 1986. This is slightly awkward now, as I’m going to have to re-follow James Robson after telling him he was a know-nothing fanny and unfollowing in a strop. The joke is on me again. Strange that the journalists at the MEN suddenly become good at their jobs within weeks of the perpetually odd Peter Spencer retiring as chief recycler of news already reported by others. Coincidence I’m sure.
But back to Ed. Secret signings, medical on the quiet, the tentacles, what a guy. United have finally signed a genuine alternative to Antonio Valencia at right back and the two midfielders which they needed five years ago but whom Sir Alex of Infinite Wisdom refused to sign, preferring to trust Tom Cleverley instead. Dementia is an awful condition. But it’s done now. We can relax. We have a world class Number 6 with incredible experience and a younger model who will provide the bite that was desperately lacking last season. Throw in Herrera and Carrick and those are some seriously fine midfield options. I feel a little faint when assessing the lineup permutations.
Returning to those exiting players, that’s 22 players out in two years. What a mess the Glazers, Fergie’s stubbornness and the epic storm of sh*t that was Moyes made of a squad which won the Champion’s League in 2008. The whole group needed machine-gunning and Van Gaal has been unafraid to pull the trigger. Suddenly the team is starting to look potentially competitive again. But the work is not complete. A top-class centre back is a must, as is a forward and probably a goalkeeper. Then we can talk about title challenges. Indeed, we will be talking about title challenges, because Ed is still sat on his horse and his tentacles get EVERYWHERE.