United, Woodward, Pedro and the rest

by Timothy Masters on August 19, 2015

PedroMarcPuig24 hours ago, it looked as though Barcelona forward Pedro would be moving to Old Trafford, and probably finishing off their summer of transfer business in a logical way for a team still lacking in forwards. The Spain international is not the out-and-out striker some fans are crying out for, but his perchance would have allowed Louis Van Gaal to rotate his forward options and use the likes of Pedro and Memphis as intelligent alternatives when Wayne Rooney inevitably runs himself into the ground and needs a rest. As it turned out, this morning brought the news that Chelsea are set to wrap up the signing of the Spaniard, while the BBC Sport website sprouted a line about United chasing Southampton’s Senegalese forward Sadio Mane to reinforce the forward line.

This sudden change of events is not the end of the road for United this season of course, but it is slightly indicative of a strange evolution since Sir Alex left the club he built up to champions. Pedro was known to have a release clause in his contract that Barcelona were relatively happy to honour given their embarrassment of riches up front, but for a month Ed Woodward sat on the deal it seems, or maybe haggled over the price. The latter seems unlikely for a team that paid out so much for Angel Di Maria, but then you might equally argue that they had been stung before and wanted to make sure that this time they got a good price sorted before confirming a deal the player apparently wanted.

That it should be Chelsea to beat them to the punch is not a surprise, as the Blues are the quickest and slickest operators in the British, if not European game, and able to tie up deals in record time with little-to-no resistance, but United have always just thrown money at problems in the past until they went away. Now, though, is a very real danger that with only ten or so days left of the transfer window, they might end up being short a player up front despite having money to burn, and that would not only be embarrassing for the club but also very bad in terms of challenging for league or European honours as well. This is a big week and a bit for them now, and it is well worth watching as we might be witnessing a seismic shift in the English game.

Image credit: Marc Puig

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