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Perhaps it's understandable that David Moyes looks a bit like a boy scout who has been asked to become Chancellor of the Exchequer. This isn't Everton's small world of small money. This is The Big Time. And in this world of course the club is going to give its manager the green light to sign 'stellar' players and to spend big to do so. It has to say that in order to look like a major player in global football.
This must be rather exciting for the rather gauche-looking Moyes but there is a greater truth that he needs to grasp. United don't make so-called 'marquee' signings, almost never in fact. So when United's chief executive Ed Woodward says: "We could have broken the transfer record in the past if we'd wanted to. Alex may not have got all the players he wanted but that was never down to not releasing funds. There's never been a cut-off price," he accidentally reveals the problem United have.
United haven't broken their transfer record recently because no player the club wanted to pay big money, for actually wanted to go to United, and that is why Sir Alex didn't get all the players he wanted. No, there wasn't a cut off price - it was down to United not being attractive enough.
Historically, Manchester United almost never buy the best players in the world for large amounts of money. Whoever have been the world's best footballers at any one time have rarely wanted to go to United and they still don't.
When the board says money is available to buy marquee player, no marquee player is ever bought. I suppose it does depend on what you mean by a marquee player - but I'd wager that none of the top ten players in world football sign for United this summer.
United have always dominated the domestic transfer market and many of their best signings have been domestically sourced. The big money signings are much less impressive though. Dimitar Berbatov was their most expensive player but that didn't work out as they hoped. Juan Sebastian Veron was the third biggest and that didn't work out. Admittedly Anderson was a marquee signing at £20million, though this was only because they needed to buy a marquee to use as a shirt for the lad.
Their best transfers over the years have been young talent who have then flourished at United into great players. The exception to this usual policy was in buying Robin Van Persie, but even that was really a domestic transfer which is territory that United feel stronger on. There's no-one bigger than United in England so they can dominate the market, but in world football, considering they are one of the biggest football 'franchises' on earth, their red glow is clearly a lot less appealing to players.
The Van Persie signing showed that buying a ready-made, at-the-top-of-his-game player can work really well so why, when it comes to buying in top players, can't they compete with Bayern, Dortmund, Barcalona, Real Madrid, PSG, Monaco and more?
Maybe players didn't relish the idea of working under Sir Alex Ferguson, maybe United didn't offer enough money, maybe they didn't fancy the weather or the Premier League but now under Moyes they are an unknown quantity and thus even more off-putting. Moyes might be useless and gone within three months after starting the season with three points out of 30. So if you're a primo player it'd be sensible to wait until he turns out to be up to the job before considering playing for them. This might take three or four years. Can United wait that long?
Of course plenty of marquee signing and stellar players who cost a fortune are flops, often at Chelsea and Manchester City and of course developing players has paid dividends in the past and continues to do so. But this isn't just about getting in good players, it's also about status.
When all the most feted players in world football choose to give your club a body swerve it looks bad and looking bad will affect United's business, long term. They rely on huge world support and being massively attractive to sponsors and advertisers. Long term, as world football stars drift away to other clubs, United will not be a premium product any more. It hasn't happened yet but when you are not that attractive to the cream of the crop, the danger is that this becomes self-fulfilling. The fact that no-one wants to go there at the peak of their career leads others to be put off in doing so. If it's not good enough for one, then it's not good enough for another.
So in order to correct this, United have to start becoming a home for some of the top ten world footballers season after season. By Ferguson's own admittance, a club of United's domestic dominance has failed in Europe more than it should have. They're getting trapped into a circle of negativity where they can't win in Europe because they don't have the best players and they can't get the best players because they look off the pace in European football. However, even as Champions League winners in 2008, it still didn't pull world football's biggest stars into their orbit.
Trying to operate on the basis of nurturing young players is all very well but United is not a little local domestic football club, they're in the top echelons of world football. Football has changed a lot in the last three or four years. The Premier League at the highest levels is not about growing your own players and hoping they flourish, that's for the groundlings and also-rans, you buy big and buy often to win in Europe and because by buying big you look big. Different rules apply to United and precisely because the likes of Neymar, Cavani, Lewendowski and many more don't end up there, the club ends up looking like the poor relations and ever less desirable to the crème-de-la-crème.
So Moyes and the club can talk about limitless spending on 'stellar' players all they like, but until they buy not just one but two or three, no-one will believe them, rather it looks like an attempt at PR to make the club look like they are competing for top names when in reality, they really are not.