Manchester United Are Nearly There

Posted: January 4, 2016 in Football, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


It always seems to me, nowadays anyway, that Manchester United are never far away from having a team to challenge for trophies.

Never mind who is manager, as long as it is somebody with experience of a big club, who knows what he is doing, the manager shouldn’t be the deciding factor on whether or not the club wins trophies, the players should.

When you consider the players they have and the money they have spent the only surprise is that it is taking so long to get things right on the pitch.

Louis van Gaal and the United fans don’t need me to tell them that more goals are required but at least the signs were promising against Swansea, when Martial and Rooney both scored.

I am still not a lover of playing too many people out of position and think that the great teams of the past, not just at United, have usually had specialists in each position.

It does appear though, that United are looking at strikers, centre backs and full backs during this transfer window. That is not to say they will buy all three, but at least they seem to be looking which is an acknowledgement that they know where they can improve.

Obviously, injuries haven’t helped. The leg break of Luke Shaw seems to have been a double whammy. Not only has it left United without a recognised left back, but it has seen a loss of form for Memphis Depay, who had struck up a good relationship with Shaw on the left and now doesn’t seem to know what to do on his own.

The jury still seems to be out on Matteo Darmian who started his United career very well but now appears to be suffering due to his inability to settle in England. Again, as is the case with Luke Shaw, there is no specialist cover at right back.

Since Phil Jones’ latest attempts at returning from injury have not exactly been of the highest standard, it will be nice to get Marcos Rojo back from his shoulder problem. He was playing fairly consistently when it happened.

A back four of Shaw, Rojo, Smalling and, maybe, Darmian, would be good enough to challenge until the end of the season if necessary although I would prefer cover to be brought in now.

The priority is still a world class striker, even if it is only to cover for injuries, although I doubt anyone world class would come under those terms! Rumours suggest that Cavani is available, yet again. He is someone I am not sure about. He seems to be scoring for PSG even though he is played out of position but he is not prolific and is being kept out of his favoured position by a 34 year-old, that situation does not suggest that he will be banging them in on a weekly basis.

Yet another rumour suggests that United are considering smashing the world record transfer fee on Neymar. Time for another pinch of salt I think. Firstly, I can’t imagine Neymar wanting to leave Barcelona. Secondly, thanks to Ed Woodward, United are now frequently being used as a lever for players to get a better deal at the other big clubs. So I don’t expect this to happen anytime soon.

Ed Woodward needs to realise that it is fine when United are linked with the top players in the world but, as they rarely end up at Old Trafford, it just annoys the fans. Their hopes get built up and then knocked down again within days.

Take, for example, the situation with Mesut Ozil. Having had a successful World Cup in South Africa he was of interest to Fergie, who even went down to watch a friendly game between Fulham and Wolfsburg to try and sign him. At Craven Cottage he was told that Ozil had already agreed to join Real Madrid. Fair enough, United missed out.

What is not so “fair enough” is that Ozil, when told he could leave Real Madrid, kept Arsenal waiting until the very last minute because he was waiting for a call from United which never came. That was a missed opportunity, particularly when you see how he is playing now.

I would prefer United to stick to targets which can be achieved. Don’t let Woodward get carried away dreaming of Messi and Neymar, get him on the job with players who will actually sign for United. Ozil was one, he is gone, so move on to another one and then another one, but target players who want to play for United.

United will return to the top where they belong and transfers may play a large part in determining how long that process takes. It is time for Ed Woodward to do less talking about how much money United have and more spending. A couple of good buys during this window and, who knows, Manchester United may even be champions come May.

  1. Mark says:

    I’ve seen enough of Darmian to suggest he would be good enough to hold down the United right back position on a permanent basis. It’s always advantageous to have an attacking minded fullback on one side and a defensive minded one on the other side IMO.
    If both Shaw and Darien are kept fit, we might just have the youngest and potentially the best, if not the most experienced, pair.
    In attack, few defenders his age can match the pace and invention of Shaw while his ability to retreat quickly into defensive positions when caught out is impressive.
    In defense, the timing of the challenge that Darmian displayed in some matches have often left me breathless.
    A better defender to pair up with ‘Mike’ Smalling and I’m seeing great things possibly happening down the line for the United defense.


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