Ed Woodward: Biggest Transfer Blunders

Plenty of high profile players remain linked to United, so many transfers seemed close, but every time turn up empty-handed. 7 years post-Sir Alex, it is evident that United lost much of their pulling power with the club priced out of players or merely the fact that players do not believe in our rebuild plan. 7 years, four managers and loads of players linked with United, one name is a common denominator, Ed Woodward. This window is no different. It is hard to hide that he has frustrated United managers from their top targets. Let us shed some light on the failures of Ed Woodward to sign players in his tenure as CEO.

Ed Woodward: Top 5 Transfer Blunders:

5. Toni Kroos

After 6 years at the German’s top-flight, Toni became heavily rumored to have a verbal agreement with the then United manager David Moyes:
Toni Kroos had agreed to come to Manchester United with me,” Moyes told talkSPORT “The last year, I met him and his wife, and we agreed to it all when he was at Bayern Munich.

The Scotsman’s sack led to the end of the move with Toni preferring to sign for the Spanish side, Real Madrid. Six years down the line, the German has managed to win 13 major honors with the Los Blanco’s side. It is safe to say he does not regret the move.

4. Thiago Alcantara

United became linked heavily with the then two-time champions league winner, with Sir Alex spending his last years scouting Thiago for his successor. Still, Moyes pulled out of the deal, claiming he did not know much about the Spaniard even though he was a regular first-team player at Barcelona. Moyes had set his eyes on a different Spaniard, Cesc Fabregas, only to later in the transfer window settle for Maroune Fellaini, and we all know how that turned out. Thiago won 16 trophies after switching to Bayern Munich that summer. What’s more, while a transfer to United seemed on the cards this summer, he opted to play for Jurgen Klopp and United’s biggest rivals.

3. Harry Maguire

Maguire has come under criticism with fans questioning his abilities. The English centre-back became heavily linked with the club during Mourinho’s time as a manager. The Portuguese tactician could not convince the board to pay the then, £65 million for the Maguire. Woodward claimed the transfer would damage his reputation. Fast forward 12 months later and a defensive disasterclass that season, United paid an astonishing £80 million, making Maguire the most expensive defender.

While he has clearly made a difference at United and improved the defence, it shows Ed Woodward’s incapabilities on the footballing side. The fact he flip-flopped a year after only damaged his reputation even further. What could have been had he signed a year earlier is up for speculation…

2. Gareth Bale

On his early days at the club, Moyes looked keen to sign the Welshman and said:
I felt all along that Gareth Bale was a Manchester United player and I fought to get him right up until the last minute. We offered him a bigger deal than Real Madrid, but Gareth had his mind made up on going to Madrid.


Despite fan criticism, he played an integral part in winning four UCL trophies with Madrid. United had tried to sign him many times. Including recently, when the club offered to take him on a loan deal only for things to stall. Instead, Bale ended up back at Tottenham and under Jose Mourinho.

1. Jadon Sancho

This transfer, least to say, has been a rollercoaster of emotions, mostly confusion. Sancho had been United’s number one priority since March and would offer the club so much in the short and long term. Reports stated that he became desperate to make a move back to England. Dortmund stated they would allow this request but for a big fee and for that fee alone. This was always stated as £108 million. The nature of the deal attracted massive media interest (both mainstream and social media).

The news disparity was evident with Fabrizio Romano (transfer guru) claiming that personal terms were agreed. However, some English outlets claimed otherwise to which the work of a Woodward PR smokescreen played a hand. At some point, United voiced concerns on the leaks when a piece of controversial information got out. This led to both Ed Woodward and Joel Glazer went back to renegotiate already agreed terms with Dortmund. This stalled the deal substantially and could have concluded in August.

DORTMUND, GERMANY – MARCH 05: Jadon Malik Sancho #7 of Borussia Dortmund looks on during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur at Westfalen Stadium on March 05, 2019 in Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images)

United’s strategy was awful, missing the deadline set by Dortmund, waiting until the transfer deadline to make a move with the hope that Dortmund will sell out of desperation was not the way to go. True to their word, Dortmund has kept Sancho for another year with United fans hoping that the club will go after him in the coming January transfer window.


With the end of this transfer window, we, the United family (management and fans), should ask ourselves this question are we still one of the top clubs in England or World disregarding Premier League position? The club is still languishing in past glories clouding their judgment to do what is best for the club. Showing confidence in the manager and getting their priority signings will ensure success. Whether that will occur and change the cycle we seem to remain in is yet to be seen.

Author: Clinton Salmon