Keith Curle on transfer deadline day activity
United manager Keith Curle spoke to us about a frustrating final day of the January transfer window as he headed away from Everton’s U21 behind-closed-doors fixture with Manchester United tonight.
“It’s been no secret that Gary Liddle was one of the targets we went for,” he said. “We were able to compete financially, which was pleasing, and we got to a point where his club had accepted our offer.
“We also met the demands the player had but the one thing we couldn’t guarantee at this moment in time was League One football. He wasn’t comfortable with the idea of dropping down into League Two and the cup run we’ve enjoyed has probably hampered us on this occasion.
“We have games in hand but it might have been a different story if we were still in the play-off places and pushing for automatic promotion. We’re sat in mid-table, even though we do have those games in hand, so that means you can’t show a player who wants to play at the higher level that you will definitely be involved.
“It’s disappointing that we missed out on that one because that’s the calibre of player we want to bring into this football club.”
“The day has been frustrating and it’s been an extremely long one,” he explained. “I’ve been told the answer was 'no' on three enquiries I made, and we have worked extremely hard on trying to get them over the line. We made contact with their football clubs and conversations were carried out at all levels.
“Ultimately we got a 'no' on one permanent move and the same on two potential half-season loans. We’ve done our business correctly and one thing I will never do is panic. I know the areas I want to improve but I won’t waste the club’s money if I’m not sure about a player. I need to know that he will fit into our dressing room and into our way of thinking before I look to finalise a move.
“That’s why I was in London at 9.30 this morning to talk to a player’s representative. I went from there straight to Manchester to do the same with another representative and also to talk to the player he was working for.
“I then went to Liverpool to watch two potential loan signings to see if they were what we wanted. We’ve worked hard at it but, when it comes down to it, the player has to want to come to the club and his representatives have to want him to do that as well.”
“I was at Finch Farm to watch the Everton U21s take on Manchester United tonight,” he commented. “I had two players I wanted to see again, having seen them before, because we are always keen to complete our due diligence before we commit ourselves to anything.
“I had good conversations with Everton on Sunday about the availability of their player and we were told they would potentially be very comfortable with the idea of a loan move for him. There was also a Manchester United player involved who we have been monitoring, but we wanted to make sure that both lads are ready to step into our first team environment before we took it any further.
“We’re constantly looking for improvement from inside and outside the squad and that won’t stop. We know we aren’t the finished article but we want the right players in. We don’t want to be in a position where we’re making signings just for the sake of it.
“I won’t allow that to happen and I won’t become a manager who makes signings just so that we can say we have. If we start to panic and follow that path it will ultimately be to the detriment of what we’re trying to achieve.”
“The pleasing thing is that we do have a good squad of players and we added to that recently with the arrival of Brandon Comley,” he told us. “Midfield wise that gives us Comley, Sweeney, Balanta, Kennedy, Joyce and Hery in direct competition for a maximum of three positions. It also means we can mix the combination and try different things.
“As we said on Sunday, Brandon acquitted himself excellently on his debut and he showed that he can handle a football. He gave a good account of himself and there’s still more to come from him. He’s had an excellent foundation in the game, having come from QPR, and he has that ability of being able to change defence into attack.
“We’ll keep working on getting the players in who will improve and add to the group. That doesn’t stop now just because the window has shut. Our thinking is very much long term and that means identifying the right type of player and doing whatever we can to get him in. Money is there to work with but, and as I will keep repeating, I will not start wasting it just for the sake of it.”