Football fans are fickle. None are more fickle than Manchester United fans. After almost two decades of domestic dominance under the helm of Sir Alex Ferguson, supporters of the Red Devils are used to success. Failure is not an option, it won’t be tolerated.
David Moyes’ reign as head coach is a prime example of this zero tolerance attitude by United fans and directors alike. Having been hand picked by Ferguson to take over at Old Trafford, a huge weight of expectation was landed on Moyes’ shoulders.
There is no doubt that Moyes consistently got the best out of his Everton teams. Under a miniscule budget compared to the bigger clubs, Everton punched well above their weight under the Scot. Many expected that Moyes’ full potential as a manager would be fulfilled while equipped with a much larger budget. Others doubted, but the overall view was that Ferguson had chosen a very competent successor.
Less than a year after his appointment, it was discovered that Moyes was most certainly not the right man for the job. United languished behind the top teams, finishing the season in seventh place. Moyes became a shadow of his former self and was faced with some vitriolic comments from disgusted United fans before he finally fell through the exit door.
Moyes’ United were much maligned for their boring style of play, something which is concurrent with Louis van Gaal’s first term in charge at Old Trafford. This is very worrying. While LVG’s first year was obviously an improvement on the previous season, it will have to get a lot better to appease those in charge.
Manchester United not only have a history of winning, they have a history of winning in style. So far, Van Gaal has won nothing, and his team is devoid of style, flair and excitement.
Van Gaal has only signed two players of note that could possibly add to United’s creativity and goal scoring prowess. Angel Di Maria had a truly woeful first season and the Dutchman decided to cut his losses and offload the Argentine to PSG. Memphis Depay looks to have serious potential but is by no means the finished article.
While Ed Woodward has overseen many other signings, they have been mostly midfielders or defenders. Ander Herrera could be considered an attacking midfielder and has looked promising when given the chance, but that’s the problem. He hasn’t got a run of games under his belt.
Despite numerous defensive signings, United still begin this season without a world class striker, another top quality attacker and a commanding centre half.
Daley Blind and Chris Smalling are LVG’s first choices to anchor his defence. Blind is a very composed footballer but he would be better utilized at left-back or maybe even as a holding midfielder. Smalling has come on leaps and bounds in the last few seasons but he would certainly benefit from a more experienced defensive partner.
Earlier in the summer, speculation of a swoop for Sergio Ramos had United fans drooling. To be honest, that had one inevitable outcome, Ramos signing a deal for megabucks with Madrid. One can’t see United mounting a serious title challenge without a leader in a mould of Nemanja Vidic at the back.
Van Gaal’s charges are definitely strong in central midfield. Going forward, however, they are very average. Juan Mata isn’t the same player he was at Chelsea. Adnan Januzaj is far from title-challenger standard at the present moment. Depay looks like he could be a really good player but he’s not going to be able to carry United on his back quite yet. Wayne Rooney has had a truly horrible start to the season.
Based on current form, it’s hard to see Rooney scoring over twenty goals this year. United desperately need another striker who can bag twenty to thirty goals for them. They also need another wide player.
United’s lack of strength at the back and up front really highlights their ineptitude in the transfer market. Pedro seemed to be on his way, an absolute steal at under £30m, yet Chelsea swooped in and picked him up and he has already shown how good a signing he will be for the Londoners. After this embarrassing debacle for United, LVG came out and claimed that Pedro wasn’t a transfer target anyway, a statement that was truly laughable.
This week we’ve seen the reds linked to both Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller. Realistically, neither of them will leave the powerhouses of European football, Bayern Munich, for the current Man United side. These ridiculous rumours have come and gone all summer, but not much action has happened. It’s worrying, disappointing and frustrating as a United fan.
At this stage, this writer feels LVG has two choices:
1. Continue to be stubborn and not sign a leader from the back and a quality forward or two. The repercussions for this could see him lose his job, unless he can turn a very ordinary United side into something special.
2. Take his head out of the sand, pull out all the stops and sign some world-beaters. We know he has the finances available to him, so why doesn’t he do it?
At this stage, patience is running thin with Van Gaal. He has between now and deadline day to put things right.
Tom Foley, Pundit Arena
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