After yesterday’s interview with Lucia Zanetti about the City-United rivalry and David Moyes’ ability to do the job, today we welcome Musa Okwonga to the site. Musa is a sportswriter, author and broadcaster, whose work has featured on the BBC, ESPN, The Blizzard, The Independent and much more. I got his thoughts on the contrast between City and United’s transfer window, and both teams’ new managers.
I know it’s early days but how do you assess United’s start?
“Phew”, is the short answer. Two wins, one draw and one loss is actually a pretty good start by historical standards, and all the more so given the brutal sequence of the early fixtures. Plenty of people thought Palace would be a walkover but they defended very well away from home against Spurs on the opening day of the season. Chelsea were always going to be tough, and it’s rare that we get anything much at Anfield: and the drubbing of Swansea was as much a surprise as it was a delight. So, I’m actually very happy and relieved.
Ed Woodward has come in for a lot of criticism after the summer transfer window. Is that criticism justified?
Sadly, I think most of it is, really. There just seemed to be little discernible strategy to many of the targets at times. Fellaini shouldn’t have cost as much, and I think that we disrespected Everton and Bilbao in the way that we dealt with them. We could have conducted business a lot more quietly and effectively I think.
Who would you have liked to see United sign?
Another winger, and another central midfielder. Ander Herrera would have been terrific, Woodward deserves credit for his pursuit, belated as it was. Another winger: maybe Angel di Maria. I was a little perturbed when I heard that we’d turned down the chance to buy Ozil. He’s the type of player you find room for, whoever’s in your squad.
City completely altered their approach to the transfer window this summer. Compared to last year we were organised. What did you make of our approach?
I thought it was very, very good. Swift, silent and efficient. The defence looks like a problem though – Kolarov, Garcia and Demechelis aren’t cutting it, and Hart’s composure seems to evaporate at odd moments. I think Jovetic will be a gem once he gets going, though.
Will Rooney remain at Old Trafford beyond this season?
Haha. I have absolutely no idea. He and United sometimes seem to be a couple trapped in a loveless marriage. Other times he seems at ease. It’s an odd one.
What will Fellaini bring that United didn’t have?
Power, presence, aerial threat, the possibly of goals from distance, and the desperation to prove doubters wrong. That final quality is perhaps the most important as a United player.
Will United win the league?
Haha, yes. Why not eh, you’ve got to be confident about these things.
Your take on Pellegrini?
He seems like a gentleman, which is always good in my book, and he’s an excellent tactician once he works out his best line-up. A great acquisition for City, I think.
Haha, it’s questions like this which will get me in trouble. We seem to be better against you at your place than at Old Trafford, so it’ll be 2-1 to United, I think. Fellaini will get a yellow, a goal, or both.
Interview by Rob Pollard