- Signings so far will only make Manchester United stronger
- Clear objective to strengthen key areas
- How Manchester United should line-up
I know the Transfer Window is still open, but here’s my thoughts on the signings so far, what it could mean for other players, what to look forward to, and how I’d line the team up.
Transfer Window So Far…
First, before the transfer window even opened, the signing of Memphis was announced. Overall, it was a good and proactive signing. It came early, showing the understanding that getting deals done early is important. It showed that United can still pull the young, emerging talent away from the other top teams. People have started doubting that since Ferguson retired.
Van Gaal has stepped up to the plate and was able to convince Memphis that Manchester United was the place for him. Another wide player maybe wasn’t needed, but he’ll give the team quality in depth while, hopefully, pushing the other wide players to new levels.
Next up, confirmation wise, was Darmian. For me, this was the best transfer of all so far. Truthfully, I know nothing of Darmian and had never even heard his name before the United link. All I knew was that he is a right back and that that was the one position United needed to strengthen. This finally showed Manchester United were targeting areas that need strengthening rather than just signing anyone.
Third, and perhaps biggest name of the transfer window, so far. Was Bastian Schweinsteiger, United were linked with him after the Schneiderlin rumours had cooled off a bit. And I’ll admit, when I heard the reported price and the fact that we still hadn’t signed Schneiderlin yet, I was disappointed. At the 20 million mark, I thought it was too much for a player of his age when that money could’ve been used for Schneiderlin.
Who I believe should have been one of the top targets as he’s a player for now and the future. But once the price was down to more like 15, and Schneiderlin was confirmed. I was pleased with the transfer. Having his experience and knowledge will be hugely beneficial both on and off the field.
Lastly in this transfer window, for now, was Schneiderlin. For me, besides getting a right back, a centre midfielder was a top priority. Forever linked with Vidal and Strootman, we luckily didn’t get either. Strootman has had too many injuries to be able to trust, and Vidal, in my opinion, is easily one of the more overrated players in the world.
Schneiderlin may not be the most aggressive, or the best passer yet, but he breaks up the play wonderfully and has proven, for more than just a single year, that he can handle the rough nature of the Premier League. While still displaying an elegant side. He’s a player who can immediately help the team out, but is also young enough to have plenty to learn and grow as a player.
My fear with what’s happened so far is what will happen to the likes of Herrera or Mata. Many predicted line-ups have Herrera and Mata on the bench and that’s disheartening because both were easily some of our best performers last year. Mata’s creativity and Herrera’s energy, and creativity of his own. And their ability to link with each other would definitely be missed, and no one else on the team can bring what they can.
While others are calling for United to get another striker, the thought of adding a world class striker frightens me a bit. What I mean is that if one is added, it could mean Rooney gets pushed back into midfield. I don’t think I need to go back over what happened when he was there last year. I wouldn’t mind adding a young and talented striker, but one who would be okay with playing second fiddle, perhaps even third. But for me, Wilson and Chicharito can be huge parts of this team if given a decent run. I can understand wanting to have four strikers though, as there will be plenty of games this year.
How I Would Like To See The Team Line-Up
With the current players, here is what I feel the line-up should be, one that I have yet to see anyone predict or want, which confirms to me that it’s the right one. Though, that also means Van Gaal won’t go with it. It’s the same formation as the end of last season; he can call it a 4-3-3 all he likes, but it’s a variation of a 4-5-1, always has been.
De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Jones, Shaw, Herrera, Schneiderlin, Di Maria, Mata, Memphis, Rooney
Easy. Why no one wants or predicts this line-up is beyond me, as it can be defensive enough for those who want it that way. Here’s the explanation why I choose this with the players:
Darmian should obviously slot in because he doesn’t have any real competition. Valencia may work hard there, but he is never in the right spot and still, after what seems like thousands of them. Cannot beat the first man with a cross. Smalling and Jones is the best partnership at the moment and they’ve shown they get better with consistency. I still believe, like Ferguson did, they can be the partnership for a decade. Shaw, despite all the injury and fitness problems of last season, can be Manchester United’s first choice left-back for the next decade.
Schneiderlin and Herrera actually gives a lot more flexibility than people notice. Schneiderlin can be more defensive if it calls for it as well as box to box and Herrera has shown he can change his game to be more disciplined while still having loads of energy.
Mata, though many seem to still consider playing him where he played last year, out wide. Goes back where he belongs. I’m sorry, but those people who stick him out wide need to stop. He is a No.10 and that’s where he should be playing. In the hole behind the striker. His creativity there is what’s needed to break teams down and you lose something with him off the pitch. I know he’s not the most physical or most defensive, but as a No.10. He really shouldn’t have to be, though to be fair to him, he showed he has been working on that part of his game.
Out wide go Memphis and Di Maria. This is based on health and fitness and as good as Young was last year, we can all agree Di Maria at his best is better than Young at his best. As for Memphis, I hope that Club America game showed that he should never, ever play as a striker. I know it was only the first game of preseason, but he’s wasted there. Once he dropped back a little and got on the ball more, he was better, but he should be playing out wide. Finally up top, we have the captain. Rooney; may you never have to play midfield again. Van Gaal, take a look, and hire me.