It’s been a case of out with the old, and in with the new. Manchester United have completed the triple signings of Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin; joining the first purchase of Memphis Depay roughly a month before writes Oswald Gerard Emmanuel.
Louis van Gaal has done business a little differently compared to last season, managing to complete four vital additions to the team before the pre-season tour.
“I’m very happy because, in my opinion, they are very good players,” the boss said. “That’s why we have bought them.“
“I’m very happy they’re here before the tour – we can prepare all the team elements with them. There’s also Memphis Depay and now the three new signings. It’s much better than last year.”
We take an in-depth look at the new-look squad…
First on the list is Hollywood superstar signing Bastian Schweinsteiger from Bayern Munich. While most United fans must have been pinching themselves to see if they were dreaming, this was the only move met with mixed reception. The German international has won everything there is to win, having done the treble at club level and lifting the World Cup, yet he has chosen to link-up with his old boss, Louis van Gaal. Yet the criticism from all around the globe is that he is far too old for the Premier League. Ahead of his 31st birthday, this is what he had to say to his critics during the 2015 US tour’s press conference,
“I am very happy to be here and to play for Man United,” said Schweinsteiger. “It is a big honour. It’s a new step in my life. I want to win titles. Manchester United is used to that and I am too, so that’s my goal.”
Whether German captain will be able to replicate his amazing performances for Bayern remains to be seen, just as fellow new signing Memphis Depay said, he would like his feet to do the talking. Following the purchase of Schweinsteiger, many thought it was safe to assume that the hunt for a solid defensive midfielder was over – and boy, were they wrong.
United snapped up Morgan Schneiderlin. The French international was up there with the very best of the Barclays Premier League’s best midfielders, possibly second only to Nemanja Matic of Chelsea. Regardless, the former Southampton player represents the most important buy of the lot. Its been well documented that the reason for United’s failure to mount a serious title challenge was their soft center, this includes the defence, but the first problem, the midfield, has been fixed with the arrival of Schneiderlin; his performances in the heart of midfield gaining possession from the opposition and driving from box to box, was integral to the success that Southampton achieved. Having already plied his trade his trade in England for many years, he will be the most assured signing that United have made this pre-season and should be in their midfield for years to come.
Last but not least is the signing of the Italian, Matteo Darmian. Probably the most unknown of the lot, but sure to be highly essential in United’s new look defence. Rafael and Valencia have proven to be rather unreliable at right-back, with the former out of favour with van Gaal and the latter unable to defend – the fact that he is a winger by trade not helping his cause. Darmian on the other hand, is a player is equally adept at defending and attacking, something United have lacked since Gary Neville. Another difference is that he stands at 6-foot tall, an advantage the team sorely needs, think of the problems Rafael and Evra have faced. Arriving from Torino, the defender is a player the skeptics pry on for not playing in the champions league, however, many players that have become world-class today did not. Darmian came under United’s radar because of his highly impressive performances for Italy at the World Cup, and the club will expect more of the same for seasons to come.
As for the rest of the squad, there has been quite the shake up, deadwood such as Tom Cleverly, Nani, Falcao and Robin van Persie have all left the club – with Johnny Evans rumored to follow in their footsteps. Although United have made four shrewd buys as replacements, according to van Gaal, he still expects two more players in two positions before the transfer deadline,
“It is what I have said already in many press conferences. We need a balance in the selection and I think we still need to improve at least two positions and we shall do that when it is possible”, said the Dutchman at the pre-match press conference.
One can only assume it’s the central defender and striker positions that need strengthening. As for the former, Argentinian defender, Nicolas Otamendi is seen as the ideal one to play in the heart of defence. Speculation has intensified, as the defender has pulled out of a kit launch for his club in a bid to become club teammates with Angel Di Maria and Marcos Rojo – so all we can do is watch this space. As for the position of striker, United have been linked to virtually everyone from however none has materialized. However, I think that it’s the situation for the club, is to retain their Mexican firecracker.
Having just returned from loan from Real Madrid; Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, is set to meet his teammates in the US on the 25th of July. The situation right now is Rooney is captain and 1st choice striker. Whichever striker united might bring in has to come in and be able to sit on the bench quite a lot, and also have the quality while allowing some play time to Wilson. In my mind, I can’t think of anyone other than Hernandez.
Sure, you could try to prise someone from a foreign league that might or might not adapt quickly enough or ever at all – i.e. Lacazette or Benzema or Cavani – who are all not proven in the premier league. Only other option would be to get someone like Harry Kane or Chrsitian Benteke who is linked to almost all the big clubs and would also cost a fortune with Daniel Levy of Tottenham Hotspur sure to put up a tug of war, till the ‘price is right’. Either way, any striker that comes in, is not going to be happy to sit on the bench, and let a 30-year old Rooney play in the first-team.
Chicharito will not exactly be happy about having to be the impact-sub that he was just before he went on loan, however, he will be determined to win his place as 1st-choice striker as there is only one ahead of him, instead of the situation before with van Persie and Falcao there. Plus in van Gaal, he has his new manager to impress, a second option if he decides to play two strikers. All Hernandez has to do his impress. Don’t forget, he has always a crowd favorites will all his contributions whether it was the late winners or stunning goals against the big teams.
Manchester United kicked-off their pre-season in the International Champions Cup (ICC) 2015 – in which they participated and won last season – against Mexican powerhouses, Club America winning 1-0. It was the first of a four match series against San Jose Earthquakes, FC Barcelona and Paris St. Germain. The squad includes almost everyone the club with the exception Javier Hernandez, Angel Di Maria and Marcos Rojo as well as lastly, goalkeeper Victor Valdes who is the subject of intense transfer speculation. As this United look to start on a high note, all eyes will be on the new boys to see how they fit in at their new club; and I reckon they’ll do just fine.
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