My piece on the impact of Manchester United’s transfer business so far.
anchester United has made four very big signings this summer, but any talk of a title should be put on hold.
The Red Devils enter a second season under Louis van Gaal and, much like they did last summer, have brought in a lot of talent. Longtime fans of United will have their gripes about this new approach from their club, but they must be excited by the possibilities.
Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Matteo Darmian have all been brought in by the club, and they each address areas of need. Manchester United’s midfield, considered its weak spot in recent times, is now an area of strength with the addition of the world-cup winning Schweinsteiger and the sought-after Schneiderlin. Depay adds individual brilliance and versatility in the attacking midfield and forward areas while Darmian is expected to solidify the right back, or right wing-back position.
There are still areas of concern throughout the pitch, though.
The possible departure of central defender, Jonny Evans, may not be a major cause for concern where depth is concerned but United still lack real quality in that area. Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind, given his role in the club’s first preseason game, are likely to battle for time in those two spots provided Van Gaal uses four at the back. Youngsters, Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair, provide further cover and can help out in a three-man defense as well. All these players have their good qualities and have room to improve, but one wouldn’t say they are the makings of a title-winning defense.
The departures of Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie means Wayne Rooney is the only reliable option in the forward areas. It’s likely that Depay will spend time in that position, allowing Angel Di Maria to say wide on the left, but if the Argentinian leaves then options are limited.
Manchester United CEO, Ed Woodward, says that more transfers should be expected, which is understandable and necessary. The Red Devils aren’t the only ones likely to improve though.
Manchester City have kicked off their summer spending with the capture of Raheem Sterling, Chelsea have held unto their stars and Arsenal signed Petr Cech and are a club growing in confidence. Question marks remain as far as Liverpool’s concerned, but they are putting together a decent squad. There is no shortage of competition for United, and while all their new signings have to adapt to the pace of the Premier League their major rivals don’t have that worry. The constant pressure to win every week, and the added European duties, will make it a tough season for the Red Devils.
Louis van Gaal has proved himself time and again in situations like these so United faithful will be confident and expectant. The Premier League is an unforgiving place, though, even after you look at the top teams mentioned above. Mid-table sides like Southampton, Swansea and Stoke City will all provide challenges for the big sides, United included.
The Red Devils are building a squad that should have the depth to cope with a multitude of competitions but there’s no guarantee. All the new additions will no doubt help the squad but incorporating them into Van Gaal’s structure may take some time.
Manchester United are making moves to become the force in England and Europe they were under Sir Alex Ferguson but immediate success isn’t a given.