At Manchester United, it’s the Glazers – and Joel specifically – who have the final say when it comes to the club’s transfer business.
That means both signings, none of which will be arriving before Monday’s deadline, and outgoing as well.
So, with Donny van de Beek poised to join Crystal Palace, it appears they’ve made yet another bad error of judgement at Old Trafford.
Big things were expected of Van de Beek when United announced his signing back in the summer transfer window of 2020.
Having sparkled for Ajax, particularly in the 2018/2019 campaign when they came agonisingly close to making the Champions League final, his arrival was seen as a major coup.
Many at the time also believed he’d been brought in as a replacement for Paul Pogba, who was being courted by Real Madrid and Juventus at the time.
And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appeared happy with the signing, with the 48-year-old saying: “Donny has all of the technical attributes needed to perform in this team and has the personality required to succeed at Manchester United.
“His ability to see space, time his movements and read the game will really complement the qualities that we have in midfield and his arrival really strengthens the depth of talent we have in that position.”
Except, Van de Beek’s time at United hasn’t worked out.
Under Solskjaer, he was often left on the bench and forced to watch on from the sidelines – no matter how matches were panning out.
It was perhaps ironic that Van de Beek was the best player on the pitch in United’s 4-1 defeat to Watford, a match that ultimately triggered Solskjaer’s sacking.
And the Netherlands international has fared little better under Ralf Rangnick, with the 24-year-old starting just one match under his new manager.
Now, a loan move to Crystal Palace is on the cards.
Patrick Vieira is set to welcome the midfielder to Selhurst Park thanks to a little intervention from Van de Beek’s father-in-law, Dennis Bergkamp.
Yet United fans aren’t happy. Understandably so.
They’re now short on midfielders, an injury away from being left in a tricky position.
Throw in the fact that Nemanja Matic is waning, Pogba wants to leave and Scott McTominay and Fred are too inconsistent, it’s definitely a gamble.
And the Glazers must take responsibility for yet another poor signing having deprived Solskjaer of the reinforcement he wanted instead.
Back in 2020, the Norwegian was adamant Jack Grealish should be signed from Aston Villa.
He was a huge admirer of the England international’s directness, believing he’d be perfect on the left wing along with other talents such as Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
Except the Glazers flatly refused to make a bid for the player.
They felt that while Grealish was a good forward, Villa’s asking price of £75million at the time was far too steep.
Solskjaer was disappointed but, with United also focusing on Jadon Sancho, accepted the decision.
Yet United then bought Van de Beek from Ajax instead and Solskjaer was left with a player he never really wanted.
That has set the tone for what’s unfolded over the past 18 months, with the 24-year-old regularly left on the bench no matter what’s happening on the pitch.
Had the Glazers coughed up the cash for Grealish, who would later go on to join Manchester City for a massive £100m in the summer just gone, this whole situation would have been avoided.
Instead, it’s allowed Van de Beek’s career to drift.
For Palace, his arrival is certainly a major coup. Especially given the potential in his partnership with Connor Gallagher, who has sparkled since moving on loan from Chelsea.
Yet United made his signing for all the wrong reasons and, now, they’re set to pay the price by being so short in the middle of the park.
Whether Van de Beek can rediscover his mojo over in the capital is something only time, ultimately, will tell.