Indeed, their 2-1 defeat to Swansea on the Premier League’s opening weekend proved that there’s still plenty of work to be done at Carrington before the end of the summer transfer window, which closes in just eleven days’ time.
With that in mind, being the lovely bunch we are at Football FanCast, we’ve created a list of the FIVE players that would complete Manchester United’s squad, should Ed Woodward be able to attain their signatures.
Manchester United’s roster is plagued with gaps, especially in midfield and defence. The situation calls for a bona fide utility man, and rather luckily, Louis van Gaal has just worked with one at the World Cup in the form of Netherlands international Daley Blind.
Following a Player of the Year award-winning campaign with Ajax, the 24 year-old finished Brazil 2014 with the second-most assists of any player, as detailed below:
That includes this sensational delivery to Robin van Persie against Spain:
Here’s a look at the Netherlands international’s stats from the tournament: Impressive stuff. Blind featured almost exclusively as a left wing-back for Oranje, an area of the United squad that desperately requires bolstering. But he can feature at centre-back or in midfield too, as detailed below, and perhaps most importantly, shone under the 3-4-1-2 system Louis van Gaal has now brought to Old Trafford: Rumours linking the son of Danny with a United switch have been persistent throughout the summer:
But we’re yet to see an official bid materialise yet, and interest from Barcelona could prove to be an issue.
As he informed the press earlier this month, Louis van Gaal’s decision to implement 3-4-1-2 at Manchester United is in part due to the fact the Red Devils currently have no high-quality wingers on the books.
In that regard, United’s priority choice should be Real Madrid wantaway Angel Di Maria, with confirmed reports this afternoon that he’s keen to leave the Bernabeu this summer:
In his press conference today, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti confirmed Angel Di Maria had asked to leave the club http://t.co/kaYV5YmsqY
— Peter Staunton (@petermstaunton) August 21, 2014
A transition to a more central role saw the Argentina international lead La Liga’s scoring charts last season: And he also claimed the Man of the Match award in the 2014 Champions League final. No doubt however, Di Maria is a potent force out wide, giving van Gaal some much-needed options in terms of formation. He finished the World Cup with the most successful dribbles of any player, as detailed below: Here’s a look at the 26 year-old’s best goals and assists for Los Blancos: It’s believed the European Champions expect a huge sum for their South American midfielder, potentially as much as £50million. Here’s how he compared to United’s widemen last season: No contest.
Another signing that would drastically increase Louis van Gaal’s tactical options is Fiorentina midfielder Juan Cuadrado. The Colombia international destroyed the Italian top flight last year and was in proficient form at the World Cup, as detailed below: In fact, nobody at Brazil 2014 bettered his four assists, including this set-up to James Rodriguez:
But the real beauty of the 26 year-old is that he can adopt a multitude of positions, as detailed below:
His natural role is as a winger, but Cuadado was utilised in a variety of positions by the Italian side last season. He’s also often been tipped to become Dani Alves’ successor at Barcelona as an energetic and adventurous right-back.
That would see him slot into Louis van Gaal’s 3-4-1-2 rather nicely, whilst also addressing the United manager’s desperate need for added variety going forward.
Recent speculation suggests the Red Devils are already pursuing the £32million-rated South American:
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) August 20, 2014
But Barcelona remain in the race, whilst Florence boss Vincenzo Montella has declared Cuadrado won’t be leaving this summer. Here’s a look at Cuadrado in action:
After saying goodbye to Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic at the end of last season, Manchester United’s backline is in desperate need of a natural leader. Rather tellingly, their oldest defender is now Johnny Evans, aged 26. And although he may not be the most talented defender to grace Old Trafford, or even the most talented defender Manchester United have looked at this summer, Aston Villa skipper Ron Vlaar could certainly do a job until higher quality reinforcements arrive. Concrete Ron is as tough as, well, concrete, and he knows the Premier League well, having helped the Villians stave off relegation for the last two seasons. The Netherlands international also produced incredible form at the World Cup, as the central defender in a back three under Louis van Gaal’s leadership. Here’s a look at his stats from the tournament: The 29 year-old has already been linked with an Old Trafford switch this summer but he’s also on the radars of Tottenham and Southampton:
— Express Football (@ExpressFootball) August 10, 2014
Here’s a look at the defender in action for Oranje:
It’s no secret that Manchester United are hot on the heels of Chile international Arturo Vidal, having allegedly agreed terms with the midfielder at the start of August. Rumours since have been less promising but for a multitude of reasons, the Juventus star is an essential signing for the Red Devils. Not least because his aggressive, relentless box-to-box style, as shown in the below stats, is exactly what United have lacked in midfield for the last few seasons: That ability to contribute in both defence and attack, whilst possessing the stamina to compensate for a lack of numbers in midfield, will be vital for the Red Devils’ 3-4-1-2 plans. Coincidentally, the 26 year-old performed in that system to great success last season with Juventus and at the World Cup with Chile. Here’s a look at Vidal’s highlights from last term: As previously stated however, recent speculation suggests the £50million-rated midfielder is only moving further away from an Old Trafford switch: