Manchester United: Grading the Last 5 Years of Transfer Windows

Thomas AttalCorrespondent IAugust 8, 2012

Manchester United: Grading the Last 5 Years of Transfer Windows

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    Sir Alex Ferguson has been at the helm of soccer powerhouse Manchester United for 25 years. Under his leadership, the club has won 12 Premier League titles, the FIFA Club World Cup once, and the UEFA Champions League twice.

    That kind of resume speaks for itself.

    However, with the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009 and the failure to make it out of the group stages in the Champions League last year, the question can be raised as to how well he has really been doing as of late.

    One of the most important skills a manager must possess is the capacity to attract great players and know when to let go of others. So, how good has Sir Alex Ferguson been at that in recent years?

    Here is an intensive look at how Sir Alex and Manchester United have done in the past five transfer windows. 

2008 Transfer Window

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    Key Additions: Dimitar Berbatov, Fabio, Rafael

    Key Losses: Chris Eagles, Mikael Silvestre, Louis Saha

    Analysis: As great as the signings of Berbatov and of Rafael were, the real story of the 2008 transfer window was Cristiano Ronaldo. After The Daily Mail reported that Ronaldo wanted to leave for Real Madrid, Manchester United's entire transfer window revolved around whether or not the Portuguese star would stay. By convincing him to stay, and adding an elite forward in Berbatov, Sir Alex Ferguson perfectly set up a season that included a Premier League title and appearance in the UEFA Champions League Final.   

    Grade: A-

2009 Transfer Window

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    Key Additions: Antonio Valencia, Michael Owen

    Key Losses: Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Fraizer Campbell, Ben Foster, Danny Welbeck (loan)

    Analysis: This time around, Cristiano Ronaldo wasn't going to be convinced. According to BBC, Man U did get a record £80 million for the superstar. Additional bright sides were that Carlos Tevez ended up being a nuisance for Manchester City, and Valencia has been productive. So, it wasn't a total loss for the Red Devils. However, it's never a good offseason when you lose the defending FIFA Player of the Year. 

    Grade: C-

2010 Transfer Window

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    Key Additions: Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, Chris Smalling, Anders Lindegaard

    Key Losses: Gary Neville (retired), Danny Welbeck (loan out)

    Analysis: It wasn't a huge transfer window for Manchester United, but results speak for themselves. Man U were unable to land big names such as Mario Balotelli, but they did add fan favorite "Chicharito" and won the Premier League title once more. Fans were likely disappointed that the £80 million the club received for Ronaldo wasn't spent on another superstar, but Sir Alex made the changes he needed to make. Furthermore, Anders Lindegaard turned out to be useful addition despite it not being likely that he will start this season. 

    Grade: B-

2011 Transfer Window

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    Key Additions: Ashley Young, Phil Jones, David De Gea

    Key Losses: Edwin van der Sar (retired), Paul Scholes (retired), Owen Hargreaves, Wes Brown, John O'Shea

    Analysis: According to Sky Sports, Manchester United barely lost out on Samir Nasri last year. Previous to that, The Telegraph announced that Man U were close to acquiring Daniele De Rossi but ultimately couldn't sign the Italian midfielder. So Manchester fell short of a few big names, but they did complete the acquisitions of national team member Ashley Young and goalkeeper David De Gea. In the end, however, Sir Alex didn't do enough and his team ended up bounced from the Champions League in the first round. 

    Grade: C+

2012 Transfer Window

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    Key Additions: Shinji Kagawa, Nick Powell

    Key Losses: Park Ji-Sung, Michael Owen

    Analysis: This offseason is far from over. If the Manchester Evening News report stating that Robin van Persie is set to join the Red Devils is true, this grade goes up a minimum of an entire letter. However, the report from ESPN that Manchester United has missed out on another big name in Lucas Moura currently leaves the club short of a truly successful transfer window. True, Man U hasn't lost any key players and has added supremely talented Kagawa, but after a disappointing season more changes need to be made. The potential addition of van Persie would make this team a Champions League contender once more, but until then it's just not enough. 

    Grade: B-