The madness of the January transfer window is about to begin and clubs are already being linked with moves to improve their squads. Most experts would agree that Manchester United is the club that has the largest holes to fill. The club’s failures to add quality to its midfield/defense during the summer transfer window is well-documented and most feel that United must spend heavily in January if they are to have any chance at finishing in the top four; or as title contenders.
Premier League legend and television pundit Alan Shearer has voiced his opinion on what Manchester United needs to do in order to remain as the top club in England, as well as one of the major forces in Europe. He recently told The Sun: “I would keep midfield duo Tom Cleverley and Darren Fletcher in the squad. But really, they need another four or five top-quality players to be able to go straight into this team to get them back in the mix at home and in Europe. That means an outlay of £100million-plus. I know January is a difficult time to get players in, but they have to try and if not, then they must do so in the next window. The noises from the boardroom are that the money is there. Well, it needs to be spent. The days of this team being regarded among the best in Europe are a world away and that is where United should be.”
The key points of Shearer’s statement are buried within his message: “They need another four or five top-quality players to be able to go straight into this team” and “January is a difficult time to get players in.”
You will hear these statements repeated over and over during the next month, but rarely will the media or the fans put the proper thought behind any transfer speculation their club is linked to. Fans will get caught up in the story and won’t think things through logically; and the media will take advantage of this thought process while pumping out ‘fresh’ rumors each day.
The hard facts are, the time for clubs to bring in players was during the first window; preferably early in the summer. That way the player could have a preseason and a handful of games to get acclimated to his manager, teammates, the league, his living situation, a new culture, new climate, etc. That adjustment period is huge in regards to how a player gels with his new club; it takes time.