Over the course of the past seven days, Manchester United’s transfer plans have really come to fruition.
Following the early acquisition of Memphis Depay, Van Gaal has now swooped for Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Matteo Darmian, addressing three issues within his squad, but despite the spend totalling around £80m, there is no time to rest with more signings clearly needed.
Perhaps the most pressing area for LVG now is at centre-back, with some shaky showings last term almost enough to cost the club a top four finish – David de Gea’s heroics and Liverpool’s inability to put a run of form together late on were decisive.
Reports from Super Deporte claim that Nicolas Otamendi will be the subject of a move this week, however, Manchester City are also ready to submit their own bid for the 27-year-old Argentine. United simply cannot afford to lose out to their noisy neighbours, and here are FIVE reasons why.
To all watching Manchester United last season it was abundantly clear that Van Gaal’s side were lacking a defensive leader. Although talented, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling as a pair do not offer the sort of authority needed, with the two fairly inexperienced as a double act at the highest level. Either alongside a commanding partner may work, and Otamendi is just that sort of defender.
The Argentine is very much a ‘front foot’ enforcer, with bravery and willingness to take responsibility evident in his game. He may lack the cultured approach of some other options, but he does guarantee a rugged presence at the back, which could compliment the skills of Smalling or form a formidable unit with Jones.
Although a defender is employed to cut out attacks from the opposition, it’s always handy to have another threat at the other end of the pitch. Although he hasn’t always been prolific through his career, Otamendi added another string to his bow last term with Valencia, weighing in with six goals for Los Che – the majority of which were from set-pieces.
Although Van Gaal has plenty of firepower from midfield and wide to support his attack, it’s always handy to have a genuine aerial threat from corners and free-kicks in tight games.
Up until the middle of this month United’s transfer business was looking a little underwhelming. Memphis Depay was the only arrival, and although talented, his youthful age and the ‘risky Eredivisie purchase’ tag set alarms bells ringing given that the Red Devils were pretty poor last term.
However, with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin bringing experience and Premier League know-how and Matteo Darmian addressing the right-back conundrum, LVG’s squad now looks far more balanced. The lack of a top-class centre-back is obviously an issue, but should Otamendi arrive it’s hard to argue against Van Gaal having one of the strongest outfit’s in the back and middle third in the division.
Although Sergio Ramos is seen as the ‘marquee’ man in terms of potential additions, Otamendi may be a better option. The Spaniard’s rumoured desire to join United stinks of a player using a club to get one last big contract, and the Real Madrid man’s red card record is also a worry. There is also the feeling that Otamendi is motivated for the right reasons, with his career very much on an upward trajectory, whereas Ramos has now won it all in the white shirt at the Bernabeu in a glittering few years.
There aren’t too many other option out there, with links with Mats Hummels having cooled
Far from being a wise basis for a move, snapping up Otamendi would keep him from bitter rivals, and fellow title contenders, Manchester City. Reports claim that the Sky Blues will also put forward a bid, and watching a major target head to an enemy will not make for pleasant viewing at Old Trafford.
This should not be the main source of motivation for United to move for the 27-year-old, but it is a factor that may come into play.