£213.7m and counting – How Man United are ‘playing FIFA’ with their summer signings

Just what are Manchester United up to?

Some of the economists talking about Greece suggest generating new income rather than curtailing public services. Spending your way out of recession rather than saving your way out. Surely United don’t think that approach works in football too!

Manchester United have spent £213.7m since last summer when Louis Van Gaal sauntered through the door. You can imagine the scene – LVG walking through the door, nicely tanned from his sojourn in Brazil, wearing cream shorts and a polo shirt. He takes off his dark sunglasses and shakes his head to free up long locks of hair, all crumpled and blonde and sumptuous. ‘I’m here to save your club,’ he says in a dreamy accent.

It’s a level of Hollywood, wealth and suaveness that’s above most Premier League clubs. But it’s what Manchester United are good at these days. More Madridista than Mancunian, to be fair.

And ‘Galacticos’ are what Van Gaal seems to want to bring to the club. Start off with Mata, then add Depay, Di Maria – ironically signed from Real – Schweinsteiger, and maybe Pedro, Muller and Ramos? Don’t forget, they even signed Falcao. It’s like playing as PSG on a FIFA career mode. You don’t care about the makeup of the squad, you just care about having all those players on the pitch. ‘Can Di Maria play right wing-back? Yeahhh!’

[ffc-gal cat=”manchester-united” no=”5″]

Presumably, though, United have more of a plan than that. If they were to add a Muller or a Ramos, they’d have a squad to rival City and Chelsea, and on paper they might have even more. Just in terms of star names, United would be a class above anyone else. Possibly not if they play Di Maria at full-back, though.

And they have to have another name in mind for a new signing. Surely Van Gaal can’t leave it there. Di Maria is reportedly off to the real-life version of PSG – they have just as much money – and United really only have Rooney as their recognised striker, unless Javier Hernandez is taken back into the loving bosom of the club. Right now he’s out in the cold. Perhaps he’s not box office enough.

So back to my original question – what are Manchester United up to?

Buying a barrel-load of midfielders is one thing, but fitting them all into the same midfield is quite another. Especially with all of the pedigree United have in there. Last summer LVG bought Daley Blind, who will surely be out in the cold more often himself with the arrival of Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin. Michael Carrick played a hugely important role for United last season, but is there someone who can replace him in such a deep-seated midfield role?

And then there’s the wide players. United have Depay and a possible Pedro out wide with Ashley Young still at the club and Antonio Valencia – although Van Gaal says he sees the Ecuadorian as a full back next season – to back them up on the flanks.

So maybe there is logic to Van Gaal’s spending spree. He seems to have players in all key positions except up front, at least as a backup to Rooney, and in the centre of defence.

So expect Van Gaal to spend even more this summer. His policy of finding two world class players in every position means he still has a ‘surprise’ target to play up front, and he’ll be looking for at least one world class defender to come into the club too.

£213.7m and counting on players to make United great again. Van Gaal firmly believes in spending his way out of troubled times at Manchester United. But if it doesn’t work, United can put all of that money to good use and just pay down the Greek debt instead.