On the FLIP Side

Theatre of Dreamers

Written by Daniel Raza

Manchester United’s Summer of Fun

You’d think from the amount of links Manchester United have had to top quality players during this transfer window, there would have been a truck load of signings. Sure, they signed Depay. Sure, they signed Schweinsteiger. Sure, they signed Schneiderlin and Darmian, but is it really enough?

I mean, when you take into account the players they’ve been linked to this summer, it’s pretty easy to make a World XI. There are obvious deficiencies in the current side, especially up front where Rooney has been struggling (bar the hat-trick this week) and what made it more laughable was the fact two prime targets flew over to England after Ed Woodward was rumoured to be in Spain, and signed for two of their biggest rivals.

unitedA team of 11 players United have been linked to this summer.

Otamendi was supposed to be the saviour in defence – where Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo have been reigning and where Daley Blind has had to fill in this season. They haven’t conceded in the league yet, but the defence has hardly been tested, and it hardly seems like one that is league winning. Now he’s going to be guarding the defence of Manchester City.

Pedro, similarly was seen as the marquee Di Maria replacement, coming from Barcelona where he glided past defenders and created countless opportunities, boasting 58 goals in 204 matches. At £19 million you’d have thought he would have been snapped up, especially considering Di Maria went for £44 million, and yet he’s ended up at Chelsea, strengthening their already potent attacking threat.

When you look at Mata, Depay and Rooney – at first glance, you’d think United were sorted in the forward territory, a strong force to make any defence fear. Add to that Januzaj and Hernandez in back up and it may seem as though they have enough. The reality is however, Depay is unproven in the Premier League and will take time to adjust. Rooney has been suffering through a lack of form and Mata doesn’t always get the chance to play in his favoured position behind the striker. If Rooney were to get injured, Hernandez is not sufficient back-up, especially in a side that doesn’t suit his style of play as a poacher. It was almost laughable to hear pundits talk about Adnan Januzaj as United’s new threat as a number 10, ready to set the world alight. He’s talented sure, but they need one of two more forwards if they’re going to impress this season. They’re lacking that top class option to make them as strong as sides like Manchester City or Chelsea who each have 2-3 world class strikers.

So where do United go from here? Fans often make the assumption that you can just lump a bit of money at a club and sign their stars. But ‘Stonesgate’ and Tottenham’s failed pursuit of Berahino shows this is not always the case. It’s not as simple as Ed Woodward flying over to Madrid with a whole wod of cash, saying “here you are!” and Florentino Perez handing over Ronaldo. It’s the nature of big teams to hold onto the best they have because they don’t necessarily need the money. It’s ridiculous to think United could pay in excess of £150million for Neymar as sites have reported this week. Why on Earth would Barcelona sell? He’s a young player that isn’t even at his peak yet, and is still considered one of the best in the world.

United need to be realistic in their expectations. No team is likely to sell their star player this close to the end of the transfer window unless a substantial offer is made. The truth is, teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid would rather win trophies at the end of the season than gain a relatively small sum of money up front now. That being said, Manchester United need to strengthen if they’re expecting to have a good run in the Champions League as well as finishing top of the domestic table. The next few days are incredibly important for Ed Woodward and co.

About the author

Daniel Raza