Why Man United could do with some reinforcements in January

For the first time in what seems like an age, there is a feeling of the old days around Old Trafford. And by the old days, I mean the Fergie era. Louis Van Gaal may not be everyones cup of tea, but slowly and surely he is starting to build a team of real solidity and purpose there.

The defence is now looking increasingly dependable and rugged, while the holding midfield players such as Carrick, Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin are amongst the most capable in Europe in that position. The forward line meanwhile is more of a work in progress, but when a team has Rooney, Mata and Memphis Depay, no one can accuse them of being lightweight up front.

However, do they have enough at the present time to win the Premier League, which must surely be their objective this year? I would suggest not, and that’s why I believe the January transfer window could be an absolutely crucial month in their season.

Although the thinking in the last few years has generally been that teams who are real competitors for the title do not need to spend big mid-season as they should already have their squad sorted, I believe United would be foolish not to take the opportunity to reinforce a few weaker areas.

For instance, Van Gaal could definitely do with another left back now that Luke Shaw is out for the season. While Marcos Rojo could possibly cover for a few games, he does not inspire confidence in the same way as Shaw does. Danny Blind and Paddy McNair are other options, but one gets the impression that Shaw needs replacing on a slightly more attacking-oriented basis. Since he’s been a great outlet down the left hand side for United, they would ideally like a replacement who can fulfil much the same function.

Another striker could be useful as well. Despite the goals starting to flow on a slightly more regular basis for Rooney, and the extraordinary start that Antony Martial has enjoyed, the nagging feeling still remains that they are a little lightweight when it comes to top class, Champions League-proven strikers (on another note, progression in the latter competition also depends surely on January signings).

While of course they could simply wait for the summer, when clubs may be slightly more receptive towards doing business, if they are really in a position in January where they can think about winning the title then they must go for it.

Whilst being careful to not panic buy and make a signing that will be instantly regretted by the clubs hierarchy, it is still possible to pick up a reasonable deal in the January window.

While short term recruitment is not in the clubs nature, (certainly not under Sir Alex anyway), in those years they generally had the transfers all done before the season started, as the venerable Glaswegian really was not a fan of the mid-season transfer saga.

This time things are a little different. Manchester City started the season like a runaway train but have recently looked a little short of a gallop defensively, Chelsea have really failed to get going as yet and already trail the top teams by a significant margin, and Arsenal have been their usual hit and miss selves.

In short, this could well be the year when Manchester United really announce themselves as being back amongst the Premier League elite by having serious and lengthy involvement in this years title race.

I believe the January transfer window is fundamental to whether it is a successful involvement or not. Get it right and LVG will be hailed as a genius; get it wrong and the ghost of David Moyes may start to hover over a gloomy Old Trafford.

 


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