Manchester United well and truly grabbed the headlines on deadline day, as Radamel Falcao became the hottest topic on Twitter and Sky Sports news in a whirlwind 24 hours.
The Colombian loanee’s arrival added to record buy Angel di Maria and the purchase of Daley Blind, taking United’s spend to a massive £150m in the past few months.
So have the big questions and pressing concerns been address at Old Trafford? We here at Football FanCast have been taking a big look at the Red Devils, and here’s what we think…
The three-man backline adopted by Louis van Gaal with Holland at the World Cup looks to be the way forward at Old Trafford, with the Dutchman having implemented the formation early on.
However, he seems to be short of the players he needs, which prompted talk of a host of players coming in. But as the dust settled, the rearguard and midfield areas of LVG’s squad do not seem suited to the set-up, with a lack of depth likely to see Tyler Blackett keep his role for a little while. Van Gaal is also short of a proper right wing-back, and has not got a box-to-box player for energy in the middle.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 2, 2014
Goals win games, and it looks like United have the potential to get a fair few of those this season. Okay, the 0-0 draw at Burnley was a low point, but with Radamel Falcao in, the club have a finisher of the very highest level.
Angel di Maria is also around to lay on the chances – he was La Liga’s top assist maker last season – while Daley Blind and Luke Shaw are also capable of helping out their attackers.
United were left at their lowest ebb for the best part of 30 years as David Moyes was dismissed late on last season.
Louis van Gaal was a ‘feel good’ manager at first given his experience and pedigree, but the same problems seem to be stalking the club this term. Three winnable league games have garnered just two points, while the MK Dons beat them 4-0 in the League Cup in a result which would have been met with cries of rebellion during Moyes’ reign. A lack of pace and energy seem evident, but LVG has time on his side to change that.
Van Gaal has already spoken of top four being the aim, and that looks to be the ceiling of United’s capabilities as it stands.
With Chelsea and Manchester City miles away in terms of quality, United will be battling Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs and Everton, who all look stronger, quicker and more switched on at the moment. Fewer games may help, but LVG needs to get his message across quickly.
Last season the major problem for United was the lack of a bombarding midfielder in the mould of club hero Roy Keane. And this issue has not been solved this summer.
Arturo Vidal was the man hailed as the answer, while William Carvalho was a target, but neither have come, and United look short of energy and desire in the middle. Ander Herrera is a creator, while Daley Blind is unproven at the highest level in the role. January could yield Kevin Strootman, but by then it may be too late.