Martin Keown has not pulled any punches in his Daily Mail column, with the former Arsenal man questioning the man-management skills of Louis van Gaal.
With David de Gea frozen out at United for wanting to move to Real Madrid, and a host of other players shipped out, Keown has asked, reasonably we think, would what we saw from United on deadline day have been allowed to happen under Sir Alex Ferguson?
We’re no stranger to things going a little bit pear-shaped, especially in relation to transfers, but even though Arsenal were relaxing on deadline day, it was still rather entertaining to watch everything that was happening at Old Trafford.
“…it still felt like United were rolling the dice on deadline day,” Keown wrote
“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.
“The biggest issue for Van Gaal, though, is his man management. The David de Gea saga was farcical but if no offers had been made by Real Madrid until deadline day then he should have been playing.
“Banishing him to the reserves will have done nothing to encourage him to stay. 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.
“Players will have much more respect for a manager who is consistent and takes time to explain decisions.
“I was shocked when Van Gaal publicly criticised Luke Shaw for being unfit last year, he obviously has issues with Marcus Rojo and what must Adnan Januzaj be thinking? At the start of the season it looked like he was going to get a chance. A few weeks later he is packed off on loan.
“What will hurt the fans is the loss of academy graduates who have United blood in their veins. There are only eight left from United’s 2013 title-winning squad and with the likes of Danny Welbeck, Darren Fletcher, Tom Cleverley and Jonny Evans gone, there is a feeling that United are losing part of their identity.
“Big names come and go but Van Gaal is in danger of ripping out the core of the club. The same goes with their playing style. Everything looks controlled and safe but they do not attack like the old United.”
You can say what you like about Arsene Wenger, but the one thing he does (perhaps too much) is protect his players when he’s in front of the media. There have been some occasions when I’ve actually wished he’d have just shipped a player off to the u21’s or called him out instead of taking all the blame himself, but you can’t help but think that LvG goes a little too far.
Anyway, it’s all highly amusing. Long may it continue.