Keown: United an ’embarrassing soap opera’

Date published: Thursday 3rd September 2015 10:19

Martin Keown

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has branded Manchester United’s business on transfer deadline day as “embarrassing” and a “soap opera”.

Significant arrivals were expected at Old Trafford on the final day of the summer transfer window, with the club in desperate need of a striker to support captain Wayne Rooney.

However, United made just two signings on deadline day, with unheralded Monaco striker Anthony Martial arriving for £36million and Newport defender Regan Poole also joining.

The club were also embroiled in debate with Real Madrid over the protracted sale of goalkeeper David De Gea, with each side blaming the other for the collapse of the deal.

Arsenal legend Martin Keown has criticised United’s handling of the De Gea deal, and has also branded their deadline day business as “embarrassing”.

“Banishing him to the reserves will have done nothing to encourage him to stay,” Keown wrote in the Daily Mail on De Gea. “The international break now means things can start to settle down but De Gea, who stayed professional throughout the saga, must surely play on his return.

“You also wonder whether Van Gaal’s treatment of De Gea and fellow Spanish keeper Victor Valdes had any influence on why one-time target Pedro ended up at Chelsea.

“We do not see what happens in the dressing room but it is a concern when former players queue up to criticise Van Gaal’s ruthless treatment. Once a relationship is broken, there seems to be no going back.”

Discussing United’s deadline day, Keown continued: “It felt like United were rolling the dice on deadline day. It is hard to imagine that kind of soap opera happening under Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill. It was embarrassing.

“The signing of Anthony Martial is a huge gamble. He has been compared to Thierry Henry and if he is half as good then he will be a decent player.

“Van Gaal likes a pacey ball-carrier — he had Arjen Robben at Bayern Munich and tried and failed to make Angel di Maria that man at United — and Martial fits the bill.

“He might even be the answer to their striker dilemma but it is still a big risk to take on an uncapped youngster.”

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