Article featured on The Secret Footballer Fan Zone
There was no doubt that Louis van Gaal was going to make big movements in the transfer market again this summer as he continues to shape the Manchester United squad into his own and one that can match his philosophy and challenge for the major honours over the coming years.
Last year alone Van Gaal spent £150million in the transfer market on the likes of Luke Shaw, Marcos Ander Herrera and Angel Di Maria to name a few in his first season in charge. He again followed in the same vein this summer with an outlay of just under £110million on several players, only bettered by city rivals Manchester City having spent £153.50million out of all the Premier League teams.
The money spent by Manchester United has in part been due to their ability to pull in sponsorship deals from all over the world for a large amount of money on a regular basis. This includes the world record kit manufacturing deal just started by Adidas during the summer, which alone is worth £750million to Manchester United over the next ten years. I’m sure Adidas would want nothing more than to see this money spent on some of the world’s top players to ensure they don their branded Manchester United shirts in exchange.
Most Manchester United supporters would say that we’ve had a fairly successful transfer window bringing in Sergio Romero, Matteo Darmian, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial. This group of players bring a blend of experience and youthfulness into the squad as well as quality, with Martial and Depay both having huge potential that will hopefully be realised at the Theatre of Dreams.
We also now have strength in depth in vital positions, namely central midfield with Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger arriving, as last year Michael Carrick was relied upon too heavily and we felt his loss when out injured. Louis van Gaal also resorted to playing Wayne Rooney in midfield for a period of games, which for obvious reasons isn’t his strongest position at this stage of his career, but don’t rule it out in a few years time.
One area of the pitch that wasn’t sufficiently strengthened was the Manchester United backline, with all the talk last year of Van Gaal needing to bring in some much needed experience and leadership as this was deemed to be the weak point of the team. The likes of Mats Hummels, Nicolas Otamendi and Sergio Ramos were all courted with moves to Old Trafford at some point during the summer, but none of these materialised for one reason or another.
Throughout the summer Manchester United were linked with just about every top player going, including Gareth Bale, Thomas Muller, Neymar, Karim Benzema, Raphael Varane, Cristiano Ronaldo, Pedro and many more to boot. The fact that none of these players were brought in either highlights that Manchester United don’t have that pulling power anymore or that Ed Woodward is still trying to learn on the job, as completing commercial deals is totally different to bringing world class players into the club.
In terms of departures from Manchester United you can’t really argue with them as they had already been deemed surplus to requirements by Van Gaal or had disappointing campaigns and failed to contribute enough. Manchester United managed to offset their spending this year by selling the likes of Angel Di Maria, Javier Hernandez, Jonny Evans, Robin van Persie and others for approximately £75million. Adnan Januzaj also left on a season long loan to Borussia Dortmund that will hopefully aid his development after stagnating over the last couple of years after bursting onto the scene under David Moyes.
Angel Di Maria could have been worth another season at Old Trafford after his record breaking move last year. as you don’t just become a bad player overnight per say. Every fan was always hoping he’d recapture the form he showed early on after such a promising start at Manchester United. Ultimately his heart wasn’t in it and after failing to report for pre season and forcing his way out of the club – with a move to Paris Saint Germain – it was probably for the best that he moved on.
One player that didn’t move on though when it looked inevitable on deadline day in Spain was David De Gea. In the aftermath of the window shutting both Manchester United and Real Madrid have been playing the blame game, with neither wanting to admit their incompetence to get the deal over the line on time when it looked nailed on. Manchester United therefore missed out on a £29million fee and Keylor Navas in exchange, which looked like a very good deal for a player highly sought after and in the last year of his contract.
It now looks likely that De Gea will move on a free transfer next summer to Real Madrid. Although Manchester United will try and tempt him into signing a new lucrative contract to stay at Old Trafford, which we can all hope he signs but that is very doubtful. De Gea must now surely get back into the first team after being omitted so far as he’s too good to leave out and Sergio Romero looks to have been found out in the Swansea defeat.
Over the last couple of summer transfer windows Louis Van Gaal has made significant changes to his Manchester United squad and probably for the better freshening it up. There’s no doubt that there’s still work to be done to the squad though with a few key signings still needed, namely a replacement for David De Gea (when he eventually moves on), a leading centre half and a potent attacking player that can create that spark in the final third.