Wednesday 26 October 2016

So Louis van Gaal woke up on Wednesday and decided he didn't want Pedro?

Published 20/08/2015 | 18:22

Manchester United's Dutch manager Louis van Gaal
Manchester United's Dutch manager Louis van Gaal

As Pedro trained with his Chelsea team-mates for the first time today, the Manchester United hierarchy were sticking to their story that their manager Louis van Gaal was the man who decided not to sign the forward from Barcelona.

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It is a claim that many have struggled to believe.

Having made bids for the player, let it be known that they were confident of signing him and even going as far as to send executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to Barcelona on Monday in a bid to seal the deal, the notion that United boss Louis van Gaal woke up on Wednesday morning and suddenly decided he didn't want the Spanish World Cup winner in his squad is surprising at best.

As United's announcement that they were no longer interested in Pedro came (conveniently) just as news emerged that he had agreed to join Chelsea, it looked as if they had been beaten to the punch for the player by a chief Premier League rival.

Pedro is clearly content with his switch to London and while he may well have been equally willing to move Manchester, the idea that he was forced forced link up with Premier League champions after his dreams of a transfer to United were shattered seems implausible.

This story took an unexpected twist when the same Old Trafford 'sources' who were talking up the Pedro deal just a few ago days emerged to reveal that they had pulled out of the move for a three-time Champions League winner, but were now setting their sights on signing Southampton’s relatively unproven Senegal forward Sadio Mane.

No one at Southampton knows anything about the ‘bid’ that was lodged for the player last week and many United fans were less than convinced by the news that Mane was the player equipped to transform Van Gaal’s forward line in the final weeks of the season.

This curious chain of events is nothing new. Three summers into his reign as United’s transfer negotiator in chief, 'transfer guru' Woodward has long near miss list when it comes to players he has made unsuccessful bids for star names, with leaks to the media that his club has ‘decided’ to walk away from the deal tending to come when the player moves elsewhere.

Arturo Vidal, Cesc Fabregas, Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos, Petr Cech, Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller are some of the stellar names United have been strongly linked with in the last two years and yet not one of them will play in their home match against Newcastle on Saturday.

Okay, so Woodward did manage to bring Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Bastian Schweinsteiger to United the last year, yet paying over vast sums of cash in transfer fees and wages eased all of those move over the line.

Whatever the truth may be behind United's failed transfer bids, the time has come for the club to change the way they go about their business and follow the Van Gaal line, by refusing to talk about transfer targets - on or off the record - until a deal is all-but done.

United ‘sources’ should be silenced and maybe those being given the leaks also need to change the way they are using it, as they look as foolish as those giving them the information when they promote the nonsense.

Manchester United may still be the biggest name in English football, but they are in danger of becoming the club top players aim to be linked with as they look to get bumper pay rises with their current employers.

This club should be better than that.

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