Gary Neville offers insight into how Alex Ferguson conducted his transfer business
"It was announced to us when it was announced to you."
The transfer window has closed and Manchester United failed to sign another player, despite being linked with several new additions. After landing Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant earlier in the window, Jose Mourinho had set his sights on a new central defender and a winger.
However, the window closed on Thursday evening without United adding any new stars to the team, while some out of favour players remain at Old Trafford.
Mourinho stated on several occasions that he wanted a new central defender, and had been linked with moves for Toby Alderweireld, Harry Maguire, Yerry Mina and Diego Godin.
Throughout pre-season, the former Chelsea boss repeatedly voiced his displeasure at the lack of transfer activity at Old Trafford. He appeared to be trying to use the media as a way to put pressure on the United board to complete the deals. Yet, it didn't work and the club host Leicester on Friday night with largely the same squad as they had last season.
This public approach to conducting transfer business has worked for Mourinho in the past, but it is in stark contrast to one of his predecessors at Old Trafford - Alex Ferguson.
"You would never have known about it," Gary Neville said in Dublin on Thursday when asked about how Ferguson conducted his transfer business.
"We didn't know about players being signed until they were signed. It was announced to us when it was announced to you. There was no sort of grand announcement three weeks before. Imagine Sir Alex walking into the dressing room going, ‘Gary, Paul, Ryan, Roy, Peter, Cristiano, I’m looking at Robin van Persie at the moment’. That’s not what happens. You know, if your boss is going to bring in another journalist to replace you, he’s not telling you, is he?! And he might be."
Neville said that all managers put pressure on directors to sign players, just that some are able to get their transfer business completed. The Sky Sports pundit claimed that the main reason the focus is on Mourinho now is that the club failed to sign the players he wanted.
"Again, look at the situation where Manchester City ditched four full-backs and brought in three new ones in for 130 million quid," Neville said about Manchester City's transfer business last summer.
"Or when they signed a goalkeeper for 20 million quid, and then got rid of him after one year and got another one for 30 odd million quid because Pep Guardiola didn’t like him. That happens. So, Jose will say, 'I don’t like these three centre-backs, go and get rid of them and bring me two in'. Other managers have done that, and Pep has been successful at it and no-one talks about it now. I’m sure Pep went up to the boardroom."
"It is being played out in public, which is never great," Neville said about United's pursuit of new players.
"And that was the one thing that, to be fair, historically at United, or at any club, you don’t want it playing out in public if you can help it. But Jose obviously felt there’s been an inaction in the boardroom and he needs to put pressur on and he needs to speak his mind."
United begin their Premier League campaign at Old Trafford on Friday night against Leicester City.
Gary Neville was speaking in Dublin as an ambassador for Cadbury, the official snack partner of the Premier League.