Both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Rene Meulensteen benefited this January Transfer Window from their past work at Manchester United.
The two singed several players from United, who they had previously worked with; the links between both the managers and the club clearly paying off.
Meulensteen’s acquisitions from United may have gone under the radar slightly, but he managed to sign both Larnell Cole and Ryan Tunnicliffe for Fulham. The two are products of the United youth system and Meulensteen would have had better knowledge than anyone outside of United on the two having worked as part of the coaching and development before he left the club last summer.
I doubt it ever crossed the rest of managers in the Premier League’s minds that these two could be brought in, so Meulensteen has key knowledge there which now means they have some players with at least decent potential. Having worked with the two before, I’m sure it took little effort to prize them away from Old Trafford.
Former United legend Solskjaer, however, managed to sign most notably Wilfried Zaha on loan from United for Cardiff City. There is a good chance that United and David Moyes would have preferred Zaha to spend his campaign with a coach that can be trusted and has good communication with the club, rather than somewhere he may actually waste more time.
Solskjaer also acquired Fabio, the brother of Rafael, from United. That is–for me–just as important and striking as the Zaha loan. Fabio is just 23, so to have a versatile full back who has played in a Champions League Final and won a Premier League is a very wise addition. He’s clearly not United material, but I feel under a good coach he can progress into a fine defender.
In the past we have seen the likes of Steve Bruce add Robbie Brady and others to his Hull City set-up which inevitably came from his previous relationship with both United and Sir Alex Ferguson. It is clearly a big bonus and it helps to have links with a big club when you are a team on the hunt for quality young talents.