Before Barcelona went on to become the best football team of all time, they signed a clutch of players who will go down as greats in the history of the club.
Not all of them came to the boil straight away. But the likes of Pique, Mascherano, Alves, Busquets, Abidal, Toure, Fabregas all gave substantial playing time and helped to form the greatest nucleus in football.
Of course, none of it would have been possible without Lionel Messi. But Barcelona’s success is also very much down to the age of the players that they sign. Even last season they bought Luis Suarez who, at 27, was still improving.Barcelona have bought brilliantly
Manchester United, by contrast, may be going the wrong way about things. If reports are to be believed they are looking to sign the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger (30) and Sergio Ramos (29) this summer.
If they complete the signings Manchester United may well have a season, or even two, of success. But what then? Buy another load of declining, or soon to decline talent at top price to continue the short term success? Even the richest of clubs might not find that model financially sustainable.
Manchester United fans would surely rather see investment in a great nucleus of younger talent. Sir Alex got it right when he largely refused to buy players over the age of 27. He knew that, even if the players didn’t succeed, he could offload them with minimal financial loss.
But this current situation feels unsustainable and it seems as if Manchester United are cutting corners rather than attempting to learn from the very best.
Let’s hear from Manchester United fans on this one. Would you rather the club continued to buy youngsters with potential, as so often happened under Sir Alex? Or is a policy of signing top drawer veterans a good idea as the club looks to get back to the top?