Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has been criticised for missing Bruno Fernandes’ Premier League debut against Wolves on Saturday.
The Portugal international joined United from Sporting Lisbon this January in an eagerly-anticipated move, and fans will have been thrilled to get a first look at him in action at Old Trafford this weekend.
However, it seems Woodward wasn’t as bothered, with the United chief staying away from the game – something Garth Crooks was hugely unimpressed by.
Writing in his BBC Sport column, the pundit hit out at Woodward for not being there to watch Fernandes, questioning what could have been important enough for him to miss the game.
“What a pity executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward wasn’t there to see his new signing make his league debut,” Crooks said.
“I can’t see what can be possibly more important than seeing your £47m purchase come through his first major test for his new club – can you?”
Crooks went on to criticise the club’s transfer activity in general, with the signing of Odion Ighalo clearly not as promising an addition as that of Fernandes.
He added: “Who sells Romelu Lukaku and replaces him (if only in the short term) with Odion Ighalo? Manchester United it would appear. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sold the Belgium international to Inter Milan and now finds himself in the middle of a striker crisis having lost Marcus Rashford, his most valued goalscorer, to a rather unfortunate but avoidable back injury.
“Ighalo is a proven striker made very much in Solskjaer’s image. Professional, a team player and most importantly just happy to be at the club of his dreams. But the Nigerian is not in Lukaku’s class, even if he is only on loan.
“This latest signing comes at a time when United fans have become increasingly frustrated by their team’s lack of impact on the Premier League title race. They are playing second fiddle to their noisy but very successful neighbours City and having their noses rubbed in it by arch enemy Liverpool, who are running away with the title. It just doesn’t get any worse than that.”
Woodward has not been Mr Popular at Man Utd for some time now after plenty of poor work in the transfer market, though Fernandes looks an exciting purchase.
The 25-year-old shone on his MUFC debut and could end up being one of Woodward’s finer pieces of business if he can adapt to the style of play in England.