With all the teams from Group H already being eliminated, there were a few stand-out performers that should be added to Louis van Gaal’s shopping list as he will need to do all he can to ensure that Manchester United do not meet the same fate they did last season.
Among the likes of Algeria, Belgium, Russia, and South Korea, Manchester United can surely bring in some unlikely reinforcements that have made a name for themselves during their World Cup showing.
Of the four teams, here are SIX players the Red Devils and Van Gaal should sign from Group H.
Name: Rais M’Bohli
Age: 28 (April 25, 1986)
Club: CSKA Sofia
Estimated Value: £500 Th.
Although Rais M’Bohli didn’t manage to keep a clean sheet in his four World Cup matches, he did manage to produce a string of top notch saves throughout the competition. His heroics saw his nation almost being able to hold down the likes of Germany and Belgium.
With David de Gea the sure choice as Manchester United’s number one, the addition of M’Bohli should really provide some friendly competition between the sticks. If De Gea does pick up a knock, the Algeria shot-stopper will be an adequate back up.
Name: Faouzi Ghoulam
Age: 23 (February 1, 1991)
Estimated Value: £4.4 million
Patrice Evra was the likely candidate to play a back-up role to newcomer Luke Shaw at Manchester United’s left back position, but may consider a switch to Roma in search of a bigger role. Faouzi Ghoulam could be open to serving as a back-up to the English starlet and should he fail to bring out his best form, the 23-year-old will happily step in.
His height makes him an aerial threat and his speed makes him a menance on the attacks. Ghoulam is also known for making vital interception with the ability to start the counter-attacking plays.
Name: Toby Alderweireld
Age: 25 (March 2, 1989)
Club: Atletico Madrid
Position: Central Defender / Right Back
Estimated Value: £8 million
Toby Alderweireld could be something Louis van Gaal wants due to his versatility in the defensive positions. For his club, he is mainly deployed as a centre-back but is used in the right back role for his national team. Without an actual permanent right sided defender at the club, there will be fierce competition to impress the new manager.
Should he be used on the flanks, he can give Manchester United an extra outlet along the flanks; much like Rafael did when he was at the top of his game. Also, with injury problems occurring more often than not, Van Gaal won’t mind having a versatile player amongst his ranks.
Name: Thomas Vermaelen
Age: 28 (November 14, 1985)
Position: Central Defender
Estimated Value: £12 million
Departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand means Manchester United don’t have centre-backs that have performed on the top level left at the club. Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, and Chris Smalling may become world class defenders in the future, but at the moment, Louis van Gaal may not want to take that risk.
Thomas Vermaelen made a huge impact when he arrived at Arsenal with his aerial abilities and well time tackles, but multiple injuries set him for long spells on the bench. Upon his return, he was eventually edged out by the other two club defenders Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. A promised starting role as a United centre-back may not be out of the question.
Name: Jan Vertonghen
Age: 27 (April 24, 1987)
Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Position: Centre / Left Back
Estimated Value: £19.3 million
Jan Vertonghen is a player that has shown great defensive qualities as well as attacking ones during his time with Tottenham. Even though in England, he was used as a central defender, he was often seen marauding up the pitch during his team’s attacking plays. Without a solid centre-back pairing at Manchester United, a move could mean a solid place amongst Louis van Gaal backline.
In addition to his capabilities as a defender, he can also be an effective left back, as seen during his nations time in the World Cup in Brazil. On the left flank, Vertonghen is give a lot more freedom to aid the attack as well as try to play in the killer ball to the more forward members of his squad.
Name: Axel Witsel
Age: 25 (January 12, 1989)
Club: Zenit St. Petersburg
Position: Central Midfielder
Estimated Value: £30.8 million
As every Manchester United supporter would known, the club are lacking a midfield player who can support the team both on the defensive sides as well as the attacking ones. Bids for Arturo Vidal are still in the books, but should that move fail, Axel Witsel would be the next best thing.
He is a complete midfielder who has strength, agility, an eye for goal, and will also provide backup to the centre-backs as well. His ability to hold up play and control the game from the middle of the park would be a huge asset United were lacking in the previous season.