United’s director of football David Holdsworth spoke to us today about what had been a very busy month of transfer window activity.
“I feel that we’ve been very responsible in the way we’ve recruited and in the way we’ve found solutions to bringing players into the positions and areas the manager had identified as those that needed to be strengthened,” he said.
“We’d done a lot of background work anyway and, now that that the window is closed, we have to say that we’re delighted with the quality we’ve brought through the door.
“We did talk to a number of agents and representatives, as is normal in any transfer window, but the only two we would have really liked to have to added to the business we did were Ashley Nadesan and Jerry Yates. We’ve been very transparent about that.
“Having said that, bringing Mark Cullen into the building has been a fantastic bit of business for us. We think that one will work our really well for all parties.
“With Nadesan and Yates, we did everything we could to ask questions and to try to tempt their parent clubs into dealing with us but, in the end, it just wasn’t to be.
“We respect that because both clubs have their own business to look after, but that doesn’t change the fact that we would have been extremely pleased had we got them over the line. Both lads remain very much in our thoughts going forward.
“I’ll be honest, and I don’t mind saying this, it’s frustrating for me that I didn’t manage to get those two deals done. Both lads loved their time here, the fans enjoyed watching them, and they contributed in getting us to where we are now.
“I did everything I could within the boundaries of what I had at my disposal, but they’re now part of the reckoning at Rotherham and Fleetwood and there’s nothing much we can do about that, unfortunately.”
On how the transfer business was conducted, with the level of activity taking the fan base by surprise, he explained: “From the moment I walked through the door my aim was to make sure everything we did in this area was economically viable.
“The club has stretched itself in the past, but we’ve adopted a sensible approach this time round which has also proved to be very productive. Our intent, whatever we do, is always to support the manager as much as we can.
“By being tactically astute, combined with very hard work, we’ve got ourselves into a good position in the table and we want that to continue. The manager and board want promotion, I certainly want us to get promoted, so it was always going to be important to do everything we could to give Steven, his staff and squad every chance of achieving that.
“We now have some fantastic players with a range of qualities and attributes at our disposal and we feel we have a very, very strong squad. We maintained throughout that we weren’t going to let any of our senior players go, and we were true to our word on that.
“As well as keeping hold of the likes of Jamie Devitt, who had rumours following him all the way through, we also persuaded Anthony Gerrard to stay with us. When it comes down to it, things like that are as big, in terms of business and showing our intent, as two or three more new players coming in, as far as I’m concerned.
“So, that’s a very exciting transfer window done, but the next page of my business is to focus on what we want to do in the summer. We’ve already started to talk about retention and recruitment and, as we’ve already seen, Steven has bought in very quickly to helping us to establish a DNA and a way of doing things.
“It’s a very positive time for the club and I’m looking forward to the next 16 games. Hopefully it will lead us to a successful end to what has been a season filled with plenty to talk about already.”