Missing piece of the jigsaw or simply saving face at Manchester United?

Everton's Marouane Fellaini

A shambolic window by all accounts has left many fans of Manchester United already disillusioned by the new regime at the club. Be it the perceived inadequacies of Ed Woodward or David Moyes, the Premier League club have been left well behind their rivals going forward. The endless string of sponsorship deals will be scant consolation for a summer of disappointment for the Manchester club.

But is there a beam of light at the end of the tunnel? Was the deadline day capture of Marouane Fellaini the tonic to the fans’ transfer woes?

The capture of the Belgian midfielder in the late hours of Monday was meant to be the addition required to bolster a somewhat ailing United side. Moyes has long admired Fellaini, having acquired him at Everton where he proved highly successful, but is it time he stopped resting on his laurels at United?

The Fellaini deal just embodies the amateurish new face of Manchester United for me. A club that used to have the first pick on the worlds finest, now subjected to the second tier of footballs offerings.

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If United wanted Fellaini so badly why not pay his release clause in July rather than pay £27.5m in September? This was a costly knee-jerk by the club, that in reality is unlikely to ever have the effect of galvanising the club as was hoped.

A team that wins the domestic league clearly doesn’t need a mass overhaul, but what it does need are small tweaks to allow it to stand up to competition. The teams around United are all getting better and therefore the champions had to be on their game this summer.

The priority for me was always an enforcer. United have never effectively replaced Roy Keane, and this physical side to their midfield has been decidedly lacking. Is Fellaini the answer? Not really.

Fellaini is of course capable of playing the deeper holding role, but he is it at his absolute best playing further up the pitch where he is able to assert himself more readily on the game. His physicality combined with undoubted ability made him a menace to opposition at Everton, and whose to say this won’t be the case at United? Fellaini is a quality player, but when you have Rooney, Kagawa and Welbeck able to play just in and around Van Persie is he really that necessary. Were United not better off buying a ready made holding midfielder?

For much less money United could have got Luiz Gustavo or the exciting young Dutchman Kevin Strootman. Fellaini may well be very good but does he really improve upon what United have already?

Even if the priority was to get in someone a bit more creative, surely Luka Modric or Mesut Ozil were better bets?

To me this underlines United’s problem this window. Whether it is Moyes or not, United do not seem to have the same pull of previous years. Failure to bring in their first choice targets has left them in a state of panic where they have had to go back in for a player who was obviously deemed overpriced and overrated in the early months of the summer.

United fans clamoured for that big name signing all summer and Moyes obliged.

I don’t think United fans are so short-sighted that they will be near satisfied with this move. A desperate attempt by the management to save face, but in reality all the deal has done is ask more questions about the new naïve approach to management at United. Long gone are the days of prudent planning and targeted approaches, replaced by panicked knee jerks.

Fellaini is a quality player, but he is not the answer to United’s problems. Until Moyes can grapple with the changing horizons at the club he may well be in trouble going forward. Whilst the Belgian may offer some reassuring comfort to the manager, it should only spread worry amongst the fans of the Manchester club.

Was the signing of Fellaini a panicked end to a disappointing summer for United?

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