Old Trafford was filled with hope and expectation on Saturday lunchtime as the reign of Louis Van Gaal was ushered into Manchester. Two hours later United fans were left wondering if Van Gaal was suffering from the ‘Moyes effect.’ In the aftermath of their 2-1 defeat at home to Swansea Van Gaal said that he ‘needs new faces’. But which faces will appear in the Old Trafford dressing room? So far Van Gaal has signed Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo but which players will follow them into the Theatre of Dreams?
The summer’s longest transfer saga continues to rage on and doesn’t look set to end anytime soon. Will Arturo Vidal ever be a Man Utd player? The move has been in constant flux since Chile were knocked out of the World Cup and the rumours don’t appear to be stopping soon. Vidal is a marvelous player scoring 11 goals from midfield as Juventus retained their Serie A title. He is the exact player that United need, a box to box midfielder who can score goals. United won’t get their man easily though. Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has urged his star player to stay because he already ‘ plays for a great club.’ It’s likely that this saga will run through until the window slams shut, but if Van Gaal has genuine title aspirations he needs to spend as much money as possible to get the Chilean. Could Javier Hernandez be used as a makeweight in the deal?
Another long running saga has been which club Angel Di Maria will be playing for in September. Will Real Madrid keep him or will he move to either PSG or United? PSG have ruled themselves out of the running while reports suggest that United are lining up a £50m bid. Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has other ideas. He said that the Argentine star remains a ‘big part of his plans’ after excelling last year in central midfield, a position that was new to DI Maria. He scored 9 goals and was central to Argentina’s march to the World Cup final. United need to test Madrid’s resolve. After the signing of James Rodriguez, Di Maria’s role at Madrid already seems to be more limited. His obvious charisma would breathe new confidence into players and fans alike.
…if Van Gaal has genuine title aspirations he needs to spend as much money as possible…
Despite the signing of Shaw and Rojo I think United still need another defender. Smalling hasn’t quite done enough to convince United fans of his class yet whilst Phil Jones can be inconsistent. Because of this the Red Devils have been linked with Roma’s Moroccan defender Mehdi Benatia. Benatia scored 5 goals from the back as Roma secured a Champions League berth. He is exactly the defender that Van Gaal wants; robust, strong and can play out from the back. However, it appears that United may not secure his signature. Bayern Munich have put a bid in for Benatia and the player himself has told Roma that Munich is his preferred destination. United’s chances of signing the Moroccan appear to be minimal.
Could a member of the Netherlands team be reunited with Van Gaal in the near future? Daley Blind impressed for his country in Van Gaal’s 3-5-2 system as the Netherlands stormed to a 3rd place finish in Brazil. Blind has all the attributes to fit in at the new look United. He’s very comfortable playing the ball out of defence and can play at centre back and at wing back. He got 3 assists during the World Cup, including the ball for Robin Van Persie’s flying header against Spain. With Blind saying that he is open to a move to United and his manager Frank de Boer saying that he would sell for the right price this is one transfer that appears to be nailed on for United.
If Van Gaal can galvanise his squad with 2 or 3 of these players I’m sure that results will start picking up and we can start talking about Manchester United as title contenders once more.
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