Louis van Gaal’s reign at Manchester United has undoubtedly seen the Red Devils pick up a new ‘Galacticos-style’ philosophy the minute the Dutchman walked through the doors at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal has brought Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and now Victor Valdes to the Premier League, all of which have played at the very top and have names that carry their own level of reputation, are distinctly part of this grand rebuilding project at United this season; with dreams of re-establishing his Manchester United’s status in European football very much at the top of van Gaal’s to-do list.
In the advent of such ambitious transfer policy, have Manchester United not been shrewd enough in their recent dealings? Victor Valdes certainly offers his new boss great experience and talent on the pitch, but if Manchester United are really going to become the new big spenders in Europe, they should have aimed for the very best. They should have aimed for Manuel Neuer.
Yes, on the outset this potential move has no real legs at all. Neuer is Germany’s no. 1 poster boy at the moment. After his rapid rise to the top and subsequent role in helping his nation to win the World Cup this summer, Bayern would be mad to let him go for anything less than a ludicrous sum of money. But seeing as the price tag for Angel Di Maria was near the £60 million mark, and Luke Shaw somehow cost the Red Devils a reported £30 million, then ludicrous offers are something Manchester United are clearly not scared of at the minute.
If the Gelsenkirchen born keeper were to join up with van Gaal’s star-studded squad in the near future, he would be one of only two players in United’s team to have won the World Cup. This is something the other Ballon d’Or nominees, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, have categorically failed to do in their careers so far, which gives reason to suggest Manuel Neuer would be a more than worthy winner of the illustrious trophy in next week’s ceremony.
Accolades aside, most of the German no. 1’s talking is done on the pitch. Whether it be his dominance when claiming the ball, his distinctly German style of organising the defensive lines, or his javelin-quick distribution from the back, Manuel Neuer simply has everything in his locker.
His innovative sweeper-keeper tactics are what has got everyone talking right now however. Whether it be in the World Cup, Champions League or the Bundesliga, the confident German keeper can operate as an extra defender at the back. This is what undoubtedly sets Neuer apart from his counterparts, not just in today’s game, but in the entire history of the sport.
Despite his clear suitability for Louis van Gaal’s side at the moment, there is one stumbling block that would certainly hold up any potential deal linking Manuel Neuer with a sensational move to Old Trafford this season, and that comes in the form of David de Gea. The 24-year-old Spanish shot-stopper has been in fine form this season, saving his team priceless points on more than one occasion, and proving to be entertaining for the fans whilst doing so.
His prowess when denying Premier League strikers in one-on-one scenarios is definitely impressive, but as good as de Gea has been this year, he is simply not a fully polished all-rounder of a keeper. His ability to dominate his box from set pieces leaves a lot to be desired, and like nearly every promising keeper in the world at the moment, Spain’s future no. 1 just doesn’t come close to Manuel Neuer.
If Manchester United truly want to become the next ‘Galacticos’ of Europe, then Louis van Gaal must bite the bullet and take on only the very best, the cream of the crop, the fantasy league team that dreams are made of.
The point therefore remains true, Manuel Neuer is more than just a goalkeeper, he is an inventor as well as an innovator. If he is your choice to man the last line of defence, then your team has every chance of winning, winning and winning again.