A good read, taken from the Manchester United Website.
David Moyes has made his first big signing by cooping Marouane Fellaini from Everton for Â£27.5m. Despite this, the Redâ€™s dealings this summer have been labelled â€˜not a typical Manchester United transfer windowâ€™ on the basis that Sir Alex Ferguson liked to do business early and not keep the Sky Sports News ratings up until midnight. Plus no â€˜big name signingâ€™ walked through the doors at Carrington.
Perhaps this is just the David Moyes way and maybe his shoe string budget at Everton meant he lacked the experience in throwing large sums of money about. One thing is for sure, despite his minimal summer recruitment he still portrayed a Fergie trait in buying a player that always played well against Manchester United.
Sir Alex Ferguson had a history of swooping for footballers who used to pull Manchester Unitedâ€™s pants down on a regular basis. His first bid of this nature was for Paul Gascoigne in 1988 when the midfield genius embarrassed Robson, Whiteside and Moses at Newcastle. After Gazza nutmegged Remi Moses for the umpteenth time at St Jamesâ€™ Park, the impish playmaker then patted poor Remi on the head right in front of the United dugout. Fergie fumed, Fergie told his hatchet men to bury him on the field. Fergie had to buy him. Unfortunately that deal never materialised after Tottenham Hotspur made an eleventh hour swoop for the England international. However a few years later when Manchester United played against Leeds United the same thing happened again. Whilst sitting in the post-match bath, Sir Alex overheard Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister raving about a French centre forward that they had just played against. This was something that the former boss had never seen before but he new that he had to bring Eric Cantona to Old Trafford. This signing, based on King Ericâ€™s performances against United proved to be the final piece of the jigsaw that ended Unitedâ€™s 27 year title hoodoo.
In 1998 United knew they needed more fire power to compete at home and abroad. Ferguson went for the player who â€˜caused them more problems than anyone elseâ€™ when he paid a then record transfer fee for Dwight Yorke. After failed attempts to lure Alan Shearer, Patrick Kluivert and Gabriel Batistuta, Many United fans saw this signing as substandard in comparison to the other names being thrown about. Yorke went on to score 29 goals in the Redâ€™s historic 1999 Treble winning campaign and justified Sir Alex Fergusonâ€™s reasons for his capture.
In the summer of 2003 United played against Sporting Lisbon in a pre-season friendly. For ninety minutes the Reds were ripped apart by a scrawny, spotty teenager. Sir Alex took umbrage to this and even went to the lengths of man-marking him in a game that meant absolutely nothing. After the game the whole of the United dressing room where asking each other if they had really seen this happen, and they were still talking about the young winger on the coach home. When the players said to the boss that they had to buy this kid, Sir Alex Ferguson was one step ahead and told them that he had already spoken to the chairman after the game and a deal was in place. Cristiano Ronaldo went on to win the Ballon Dâ€™Or at United, whilst achieving domestic and European glory.
Many United players have been bought based on their performances against the Reds. Rooney dominating United at Old Trafford for Everton as a sixteen-year-old in 2003, Valencia embarrassing Unitedâ€™s fullbacks for Wigan in 2009, Tevez scoring against United on the final day of 2007 to save West Ham from Relegation and Zaha terrorising The Reds in a home cup-tie against Crystal Palace in 2011. Sir Alex Ferguson never resented them; instead, he wanted them.
So now in this â€˜not so Manchester Unitedâ€™ transfer window we can see that despite the last minute nature of it, they have bought the player who has caused United the most problems over the last few years â€“ a dominant trait in most of the Redâ€™s big signings.
Last yearâ€™s 1-0 opening-day defeat to Everton was due to Fellainiâ€™s winner and man of the match display. United capitulation the year before, in a 4-4 draw against Everton at Old Trafford was down to the Belgianâ€™s goal-scoring and work rate. In 2009 he scored an equaliser against the Reds. In 2010 he was instrumental in another Everton comeback against United, when he caused chaos in a 3-3 draw.
To put this into perspective, when United played Everton at Old Trafford last season, Fergie played Phil Jones solely to man-mark Fellaini. A tactic only deployed once before that season, when Jones shadowed Ronaldo in the away tie against Real Madrid.
Alas, this has turned out to be a typical â€˜Manchester United transfer windowâ€™ after all, because they have bought a player who has been the hardest to play against. So let us hope that Fellaini causes our opponents the same problems he has caused us, and lives up to a price tag that is bigger than his height and hair put together.