After this summer’s transfer activity, some United fans are still feeling a little spoilt after some of the world’s biggest names signed on the dotted line to play at the Theatre of Dreams. Radamel Falcao and Ángel Di María were two huge statements of intent that Manchester United (and Ed Woodward) meant business in the coming season. Not to mention World Cup finalist Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind from Ajax and the earlier additions of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera. Despite the burst of excitement that came from the 4-0 win against QPR, it was clear from the demoralising and crushing 5-3 defeat to Leicester City there was still plenty of work to be done.
Injuries have been an issue. Probably the understated of the season. Injuries cannot be helped, but the regularity of the injuries is a cause for concern, especially when they occur in one specific area. The defence! Many of Louis Van Gaal’s line ups have been forced upon him due to the vast numbers on the treatment table. Players such as Tyler Blackett, Paddy McNair and even Ashley Young would not be names anyone would have thought would play so heavily in United’s defence. The decision Louis Van Gaal now has to face is whether to replace the ‘injury prone’ players or implement his trust in the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Rafael Da Silva hoping they will not become burden to the team. The talent is clear to see but it is only so long before action must be taken!
So what can we expect? In all honestly there could be some movement however big or small in every position despite Van Gaal’s attempt to squat off the media in this particular area.
We have arguably the best goalkeeper in the league. His performances this season have been nothing short of World Class. One key area of his game which was questionable was one on ones, something he has changed drastically this season coming out on top more times than not! Believe it or not I’m not talking about Anders Lindegaard! The one signing every Manchester United fan is praying to see is David De Gea to new long term contract due to the ever present interest of a certain Spanish club. With only 18 months left on his current deal many fans are sweating on why there is no talk or offer to the young Spaniard increasing speculation that he’s off to join Ronnie and Co. On the flip side another Spanish Goalkeeper in Victor Valdes is still training with the club. It has been stated that a deal could be done regardless of any move for David De Gea but would almost certainly be snapped up if De Gea were to fly the nest.
Have you got all day? Each position is still in question despite the summer spending due the consistent injuries within the back line. At centre back Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling Marcos Rojo even Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair have all been injured at some point this season. It has reached a point now where some of these players despite their talent are becoming a liability and change is needed. Marcos Rojo has just joined of course but we know all too well about the regularity of rest. Matts Hummels has been the cry from many fans and with Dortmund in a surprising relegation fight and the likelihood of no European football next year, he could be available at the right price. Diego Godin is another name spread amongst numerous tabloids however Godin has recently stated he is going nowhere. Where have we heard that one before?
As much as it hurts to say it aloud, or on paper, or laptop, I don’t think Rafael Da Silva is cut out to be our first choice Right-back. The fan favourite knows exactly what it means to wear the red shirt. He had and still does have so much potential but the recurring injuries has caused a stunt in his progress and just does not play enough games to be relied on. Antonio Valencia has filled in on more than one occasion but is not and never will be a right back. Seamus Coleman and Dani Alves have been the only names linked with this position so far but both seem a little unrealistic at this stage. Especially in January.
At left back despite the need for Ashley Young to cover for the majority of the season I feel this is a position that can be over looked. A couple of unlucky injuries to Luke Shaw have kept him out. Both Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind can also fill in on the left if needed.
The one name that does not want to go away is Kevin Strootman. Linked with a January or summer move every other week despite his recent injury. Isn’t that all we need? But in terms of what the player can bring to the team; he is exactly the player we are missing. Fellaini has performed extremely well under Louis Van Gaal and should not be overlooked, however he lacks the simplicity in his play to go alongside his physical attributes; both of which Strootman can bring. Ander Herrera has been in and out the side for a number of reasons but has looked extremely promising when he has been given the chance. Angel Di Maria and Michael Carrick; both of whom have had their injuries but will be vital to the team’s success in 2015. On the way out, surely Anderson?! How the former Golden Boy winner, (yes that’s right) is still on our books I will never know. We cannot even give him away. Surely in January a loan move at least just to give some of the other players a chance of eating in the canteen! Adnan Januzaj and Darren Fletcher have been linked with moves away but have been recently dismissed by Van Gaal. One final note is just to mention the ridiculous rumour of Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale coming to Manchester United for a world record fee. Why we would need him? Why would Real Madrid sell? Some seen convinced there is something in the rumours due to the heavy speculation, but we all know not to get carried away with speculation, ey Wesley?
The only focus in an attacking sense would be the decision to make Radamel Falcao’s loan move a permanent one. Many ‘sources’ have quoted he has until April to prove his worth. By this time we shall see where he is in terms of fitness and form. Probably before we turn him down, gets sold to City and scores 70 goals next season!
All in all there is a lot of thinking to do from Louis Van Gaal and his ‘CEO’ Ed Woodward. In my own personal opinion I would go for an experienced defender, one who can stay fit and guide the younger more inexperienced defenders through to the rest of the season and then decide on the make or break decisions. We could be in for shock as we never know with Ed Woodward but don’t be surprised if there is no activity what so ever! After all, we are a club built on youth development aren’t we?