Now that Manchester United’s pre-season tour is almost at an end — they just have Valencia to play at Old Trafford on Tuesday — talk can now turn to the serious matter of returning the Red Devils to the summit of the Premier League.
Last season’s debacle under David Moyes, which saw the incumbent champions finish in a lowly seventh place, has been swept under the rug by the club. New manager Louis Van Gaal has instantly brought his own style and discipline to the side, which has many United fans dreaming that they might actually have a chance of claiming their 21st league title in their history.
Of course, it would take an impressive effort from the Dutch impresario to instantly return the club to the heady days of Sir Alex Ferguson, but having successfully managed Bayern Munich, Barcelona, and Ajax, Van Gaal knows the expectations that come with being in charge at a huge club. And they don’t come any bigger than Manchester United.
But in order for Manchester Untied to challenge again they still need to make a few changes to their team. The likes of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera have already been bought from Southampton and Atletico Bilbao, respectively. While Juan Mata will have benefitted from joining the club in January from Chelsea, but will still feel that he needs to prove himself in a red shirt.
There are still a number of comings and going that need to take place at Old Trafford though. The Daily Mail has reported that Maraoune Fellaini, one of Moyes’ big summer buys from his old club Everton who cost over $45 million but has been a huge disappointment at the club, is set to be sold for a fraction of the price.
Meanwhile, The Guardian believes that Shinji Kagawa will move to Atletico Madrid, where Mexican international Javier Hernandez could join him, and speculation over the permanently inconsistent Nani also suggests that he will leave for another European club too.
But who is coming into Old Trafford? Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent declaration that he would love to re-join Manchester United had many supporters dreaming that the Portuguese icon could once again play in front of the Stretford End as a Red Devil but that isn’t likely to happen for a few more years.
Meanwhile Arturo Vidal has been flirting with a move to United all summer long after his impressive World Cup stint Chile, and, according to the Express, Van Gaal isn’t perturbed by Juventus’ $75 million asking price. Vidal would certainly add more steel and skill to United’s midfield, and, alongside Herrera, the duo would help to solve the midfield crisis that has dogged the club for a number of years now.
A few more additions to United’s defence are needed too, and it looks as though Daley Blind, who played under Van Gaal at the World Cup with Holland, might be about to trek west across Europe, as long as the club can agree a fee with Ajax.
He would certainly fit into United’s new 3-5-2 system that Van Gaal deployed during the recent U.S. tour, and if they play with the same vigor and skill that they showed over the last few weeks then Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool will soon learn that United’s decline was brief.
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