Manchester United have forgotten the very principles that made them a success during this transfer window.
Manchester United are playing fantasy football. As the dusts settles on one of the most dramatic transfer deadline days ever, the Red Devils will be proud of the work they have done in bringing some of the biggest stars in world football.
Ed Woodward and Louis Van Gaal can look at a squad who represent a major stage of transition at Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson has only been gone for just over a season, but his philosophy has already evaporated.
United have produced an ostentatious gem of a squad. The team is littered with eye-catching quality, but it is not built on solid foundations and it is only a matter of team before the gloss begins to wear off.
The club have turned their back on the very principles that made them great in one window of lavish expenditure and nothing represents this more than their deadline day dealings.
A youth team player has featured in every game the side have played since 1937, but that record looks in jeopardy now.
At the eleventh hour yesterday, United announced the acquisitions of Daley Blind and Falcao, whilst they lost Danny Welbeck and Tom Lawrence.
Quality wise, they have unquestionably upgraded, but they are in danger of damaging their principles.
This is more than a team Van Gaal is changing at United – it is an ideology.
As Manchester City rose up the leagues banners at Old Trafford proclaimed the principles that United have built their success upon. ‘Your players make money, our players make history’ they said. That can no longer be true.
Any United fan still criticising their supposed ‘noisy neighbours’ for their spending to win the league is simply hypocritical because the Red Devils have adopted the policy of if you can’t beat them, join them.
Indeed, it is hard to know exactly what Sir Alex thinks as he watches the core values of what his teams in the past were made on torn apart.
‘We are not like other clubs who can spend fortunes on proven goods,” Ferguson said back in 2012. “We invest in players who will be with the club for a long time, who will create the character of the club and the excitement for our fans.
“We are good at that and we are going to continue that way.”
Except they haven’t. United slumped to seventh placed last season, but this summer has been the most reactionary in living memory.
It almost appears a cry of desperation from a side who are determined for a short-term fix.
Of course, United had their deficiancies and they needed investment this summer, but were £153 million worth of purchases really needed?
The core of this squad were title winners in 2013 under their previous manager and to suggest that this scale of rebuild was needed is ludicrous.
It sends out a message to the rest of the Premier League, but at what cost the rest of the squad?
Hidden in amongst the high-profile stars is Adnan Januzaj, a youngster with a wealth of potential who will have to watch from afar, and what of James Wilson, widely regarded as the finest up-and-coming star the club have produced in years?
United proved that you can win things with kids all those years ago, and whilst a heavy recent cup defeat to MK Dons may have belied this notion it is hard not think the next generation would have had more faith place in them under a different manager’s stewardship.
Van Gaal has shown that he can bring through youth previously – Xavi, Thomas Muller and Edgar Davids, who he has developed previously, will testify to this.
However, at United his approach is at best short-term and at worst knee-jerk.
Already the aforementioned Welbeck and Lawrence have moved on, with Tom Cleverley likely to follow.
How long until others follow suit with their chances of displacing the star-studded line-up ahead of them?
A once clear route to the first-team now has some hefty obstacles blocking it and if United are not careful the expense of this £153 million summer will be far more costly than an exorbitant monetary value.
Are you happy with the business that United have done this season?