United boss attempts to put positive spin on deadline day fiasco, writes Greg Leedham and Alex Ballard
David Moyes defended Manchester United’s handling of the summer transfer window yesterday, saying the champions left it late to sign Marouane Fellaini from Everton because they were desperate to also sign Leighton Baines from the Merseyside club.
Red Devils boss Moyes and his club’s board came in for widespread criticism for their failure to add greater quality this summer, but Moyes was bullish when questioned over his conduct.
Asked why United waited so long to sign Fellaini, who joined for £27.5 million despite the player having a release clause of £23.5m in his Everton deal until July 31, Moyes responded: “We didn’t want to give up on Baines so we kept the deals together and only split it (for Fellaini) at the last minute.”
Of Fellaini, Moyes added: “Marouane Fellaini has always been incredibly focused, he trains hard every day. He’ll be an asset for Manchester United.”
Crystal Palace arrive at Old Trafford this lunchtime buoyed by a superb 3-1 win over Sunderland in their last outing.
Jonny Williams (ankle ligaments) and Jack Hunt (broken ankle) both miss out but new acquisitions Adrian Mariappa, Barry Bannan, Cameron Jerome, Jimmy Kebe and Adlene Guedioura are all in contention.
Arsenal’s record signing Mesut Ozil is set to make his debut against Sunderland and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger believes the German can make a big impact.
The £43 million playmaker could go straight in to replace the injured Tomas Rosicky (thigh) and, after drawing comparisons between Ozil and Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp, Wenger admitted that he was looking forward to seeing his record signing in action.
“Ozil is already a great player,” he said. “There is room now between 25 and 30 for him to become a dominant player and to make a step up from that.”