Finally. Manchester United fans saw talent arriving at their club in the form of 6 players. Previous years of departures became frustrating and with 5 senior, experienced players leaving the club Louis van Gaal had to deliver in the transfer market with Chief Executive Edward Woodward. Yet the summer transfer market involving the signatures of Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Ander Herrera and more valuable players in United’s season thus far, wasn’t the summer that attempted to replicate the organised, dominating transfers of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Louis van Gaal was appointed on May 19th with the petite distraction of the FIFA World Cup and his own nation’s success guided by himself in the back of his mind. There was little time for van Gaal to ponder over his transfer options before he headed into the intense fixture list of the World Cup in addition to the intense traveling caused by the size of the host nation, Brazil. For van Gaal, publicly at least, he was fully concentrated on managing his Netherlands side to as far as possible, eventually reaching the semi-finals. In comparison to Jose Mourinho, Manuel Pellegrini, Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers at United’s rivals, van Gaal had little time to assess his squad for the new Premier League season and scout the depths of Europe for the talent to fit his new squad. He had just 7 days between leaving his Dutch squad and taking control of his Manchester United squad, at which point he had less than two months to add to an
average United squad relative to their previous Championship winning sides.
With little time and no previous experience with the players van Gaal, despite his usual meticulous approach, had to accept that all of his signings would not be perfect. In the Ferguson era, or at any club where the manager has already served for at least a season, the manager could begin planning his summer activities at the close of the January transfer window. Chelsea and Jose Mourinho brought in Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas to properly strengthen their squad and form a side in the style of the ‘Special One’, Filipe Luis was another brilliant squad player as well as Didier Drogba and Loic Remy. Pellegrini at City signed Mangala, Fernando and Willy Caberello to strengthen all areas required to retain the Premier League title. Brendan Rodgers and Arsene Wenger each signed replacements for gaps left by departing players – especially Rogers who was without Suarez.
Having a style critically different to David Moyes and even Sir Alex Ferguson to some extent, the players at disposal were far from his preferred type of player. In Wayne Rooney, he had and has a perfect captain to lead United through revival and in Michael Carrick he has an intelligent player, thus offered him a one-year extension recently, and with few players like Carrick he brought in Daley Blind who he described as a ‘a player who can see situations in advance,’
Yet a player like Blind for Manchester United is not currently a long-term starter. For van Gaal it seems as if Blind is a player to add some stability in an undoubtedly shaky season for the club. Next season, once the squad has adjusted – as it is beginning to as the season comes to the business end – van Gaal can bring in players of his style and really of his liking, not in quick fashion to ensure the season isn’t a replica of last year.
The rumours are beginning to swirl around Old Trafford as they always do. Paul Pogba is set for a £60 million return to United while Lazio’s Felipe Anderson and Stefan De Vrij are also linked with moves to van Gaal’s side. The Louis van Gaal Manchester United is beginning to threaten the Premier League with its strength – having beaten both Tottenham and Liverpool, at Anfield – and with the first summer since 2012 with a manager in his second season, he can rebuild a side to challenge for the title that United made their own in the 1990s and 2000s.
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