David de Gea of Manchester United would have exhaled heavily when the final whistle was blown. His team earned a much-needed first three points of the season, even though he may not have left Old Trafford on Monday night with the clean sheet he so sorely desired.
During the first few weeks of the season, the Spaniard has drawn harsh criticism, and the heroics of Dean Henderson at the City Ground have only served to inflame the anger of United supporters. Even though it is merely a temporary change, Erik ten Hag’s departure came as a surprise because he is a fan of Henderson and attempted to sign him when at Ajax.
Seventeen thousand of the more than 32,000 United supporters who have cast votes in our “Good Deal or Bad Deal?” series to date believe that United made a mistake by letting Henderson leave for the season and that he should have remained at the club.
This summer has been challenging for United supporters as the team maintains a record of subpar hiring. And the approval ratings for key agreements reflect that. It remains to be seen if the recent acquisition of Casemiro by Real Madrid would help to lessen some of the unfavourable feelings associated with this transfer window.
Only 55% of voters approved the five-year contract for Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez. Since entering the Premier League, the centre-5 ft back’s 9in height has been a point of contention. And following his clumsy attempts to deal with Brentford and Brighton’s stature and power, the issue has erupted.
However, he quickly won over supporters after his outstanding performance against Liverpool, which served as his comeback. According to Mike Verweij of De Telegraaf, Ajax was astounded by United’s great offer of 1.75 million euros for a centre-back.
Interestingly, despite Paul Pogba leaving for nothing after an unimpressive six-year tenure after paying a record transfer fee to join. Jesse Lingard’s release caused more controversy. Nearly 80% of fans supported Pogba’s release, while slightly more than 65% thought Lingard’s was a good deal.
Not everything is gloom and doom, though. Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen both received strong approval ratings. 88% and 85% of respondents thought the pair’s move to Old Trafford was a sign of successful business.
But for most United supporters, this summer’s poor transfer window is a microcosm of a decade-long transfer market failure. And an urgent indication that ownership and hiring practices need to change. The situation has only worsened due to United’s link, Marko Arnautovic’s subsequent about-face, the Adrien Rabiot failure, and Antony’s rejection.
In many ways, United scored a victory with the acquisition of Casemiro. And it’s possible that the transfer window won’t be remembered as a complete mess. On a fundamental level, adding a second player over 30 to a squad to fill in self-inflicted holes indicates short-termism. That has characterised most of United’s recent transfer activity.