United scout says Buttner was ‘third or fourth’ best left-back in Holland.
Manchester United scout Ed van Stijn has admitted that the club’s latest acquisiton, Alexander Buttner, was only the third or fourth best left-back in the Eredivisie last season.
The 23-year-old signed a five-year deal with the club on Tuesday after a fee was agreed between the Red Devils and Vitesse Arnhem.
However, Van Stijn, who leads the Old Trafford outfit’s recruitment in Netherlands, has revealed that Buttner is not the full-back whom he rated most highly.
“Every season [United] ask all European scouts for a list of players,” said the Dutchman.
“They ask you to create a top five of the best players in the league for every position. I had Buttner at number three or four on my list.”
Not only do these comments give an interesting insight into how Sir Alex Ferguson conducts his transfer business, they might also prove embarrassing to the Scot.
A club the size of Manchester United are unlikely to chase the third or fourth best left-back in the Premier League, let alone in the Eredivisie, where top quality often shines through immediately.
United have made no secret of their desire for a new left-back this summer, with Patrice Evra not quite the player he once was and young Fabio out on loan at QPR.
United looked set to move for Everton and England star Leighton Baines but the Toffees’ £15m asking-price proved too steep for Ferguson and he turned instead to relative unknown Buttner, a snip at £3.9m.
You get what you pay for, however, and Van Stijn comments will concern United fans, particularly those that fell Evra needed genuine competition, rather than an understudy.
Buttner was linked to Southampton earlier in the summer and there are those that feel the newly-promoted club are more the 23-year-old’s level, an assertion backed-up by Van Stijn’s comments.
Still, the attacking full-back (who is also a decent set-piece taker) must be given time to settle and a chance to prove himself at Old Trafford. If he turns out to be a success, it wouldn’t be the first time Sir Alex has pulled off a masterstroke in the transfer market.
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