Manchester United have moved to appease disillusioned fans by writing a letter that defends their summer transfer dealings.
Empty seats were impossible to miss, according to John Edwards of the Daily Mail, as Manchester United kicked off their Champions League campaign on Tuesday. The Red Devils beat Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 at Old Trafford thanks to goals from Wayne Rooney (2), Robin van Persie and Antonio Valencia.
Marouane Fellaini, the club’s one big-money capture of the transfer window, made his first start, but there remains frustration over how the club’s summer business was conducted, prompting a response, as reported by David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror:
The club had two main priorities for the transfer window. The first was to keep Wayne Rooney. He is a world-class player and the manager is very keen to have Wayne as a key part of the club's drive to retain the Premier League trophy. That aim was fulfilled.
The second priority was to add a midfield player, and the capture of Fellaini has met that need.
Add to that the fact that Wilfried Zaha is a new signing and that the manager has added the highly-rated young player Adnan Janazaj to the squad and the team does in fact have a different feel to it than the one that finished last season.
A lot of empty seats at Old Trafford and subdued atmosphere. CL fatigue?— Sonja McLaughlan (@Sonjamclaughlan) September 17, 2013
United’s summer dealings drew criticism on two levels. Not only did they fail to land a lengthy list of targets, but they also became uncharacteristically public in their pursuits.
Approaches for Herrera and Fabio Coentrao emerged on deadline day and, certainly in the case of the latter, came too late in the day. Eventually Fellaini marginally beat the deadline, suggesting a lack of organisation at Old Trafford.
New chief executive Ed Woodward came under fire for his failure to land a big name, while Moyes was questioned for landing only a player he already knew at former club Everton.
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However, United claim they were in control of their summer activity, insisting they were determined not to enter an “eight-week panic.”
The letter also states that money is available to be spent on the right player, which offers the potential for United to head back into the market in January.
Moyes remains keen to add a left-back to his squad, having missed out on first-choice left-back target Leighton Baines. And he may also look for another creative influence. Given time to negotiate with Athletic Bilbao for Herrera, there remains a void in the United squad the Spaniard could fill.