Manchester United give chance of a lifetime to young defenders

While Manchester United did manage to sign a household name in January, in the form of Victor Valdes, their window was much more focused on departures than arrivals.

Long-term servant Darren Fletcher ultimately did a permanent deal with West Bromwich Albion, calling time on a career that was petering out at Old Trafford. And the uber-talented, but arguably far less committed, Brazilian midfielder Anderson moved back to his homeland with Internacional. Both players needed to get away to enhance their chances of regular football. At 26 Anderson could well enjoy a renaissance, but you feel that a full recovery was never going to happen at Manchester United.

Another who needed a move was Wilfried Zaha, who returned to Crystal Palace permanently after a couple of tortuous years at United.

But perhaps the most notable pieces of business involved two young defenders who must still think that they are dreaming.

Andy Kellett

The 21 year old defender has joined Manchester United on a 6 month loan, with Saidy Janko going the other way. The received wisdom on this one is that Janko needed first team action but that left the reserve team short of defenders. So he won’t be going straight into the first team! Nevertheless, it’s a fantastic opportunity for the lad to impress.

Sadiq El Fitouri

This one really is a dream come true. El Fitouri was released by Manchester City before Salford City (part-owned by Manchester United’s Class of ’92) picked him up. He impressed there and was summoned for a trial at Manchester United. They liked him and now he gets the chance to show what he can do.

So it’s been a really quiet window for Manchester United, without the raft of high profile signings that many had expected. But it will be a different story in the summer when major targets become available. For January, it’s been a case of streamlining the squad and shedding a few high earners who weren’t getting game time for the first team.