Written by: Siddesh K Iyer Follow @Sid10RedDevil
“I’ve no idea.
“I’m not going to lie to you, I’m not going to say somebody is coming or nobody is coming.”
The World Cup is done and dusted. The clubs were rumbling on in the backdrop with their transfer agenda ever since the start of the World Cup and now’s their chance to set the world alight with some lightning deals on offer, albeit with some extraordinary sums set to be paid over the course of the remaining 3 odd weeks. Focusing on the Premier League, as we analyze this “long” window so far, Liverpool have been astonishingly efficient, pulling the strings and some insane transfer fees to address every glaring gap that their squad had last season. What about their arch rivals and the most valuable football club in the world, Manchester United? Well, the manager seems to be in oblivion, the CEO is busy watching Wimbledon finals and now, in Phoenix watching the MUFC squad, painfully deficient in pivotal areas on the pitch in their pre-season campaign. And the fans? Their guess is as good as the manager’s and these 3 weeks are set to define where United are to go in this upcoming season. Yes, the squad still boasts some of the world’s best in their positions but then, the Premier League also rests on one phrase, coined by a certain Charles Darwin…
“Survival of the fittest…”
The goalkeeping department at United certainly needs no introduction. With arguably the world’s best goalkeeper in David De Gea and a more than able back up option in Argentinian international, Sergio Romero, United need not worry in this regard for many years to come. But then, Joel Pereira, the excellent youngster also needs game time so, he’s most probably going to be out on loan this season, so, United have addressed this issue by bringing in the experienced Lee Grant, well remembered for his heroics against United back when he was at Stoke City. He’s set to be MUFC’s third choice GK this season.
Now, coming to the defence. Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand! What a central defence partnership that was! A decade long ago, United had arguably the best team in the world with stars in every department and cohesion matched by one and one, without any individual egos coming to the fore. Now, year in year out, United’s defence has has been nothing short of shoddy, to say the least. And every single time, the shambolic play by the defence has been bailed out by the sheer magnificence of David De Gea. A solid and experienced Centre back with a visionary attitude capable of being a leader is a bare necessity at United right now, with Leonardo Bonucci and Toby Alderweireld cited as probable signings. Diogo Dalot, blessed with immense talent has been drafted in from FC Porto, but the versatile and young full back is set to miss the start of the season, due to a minor injury and the rehab schedule post a subsequent surgery. Another area of concern is the left back position, which has been a weak link right since the legendary Patrice Evra departed the club. Alex Sandro, the Brazilian full back from Juventus is being touted as the one to fill that gap,however it’s just been a rumour, right since the start of the window and nothing advanced has been reported thus far.
The midfield had its own share of problems but then, to be fair on Ed Woodward and the manager, they’ve done a pretty good job here now. The highly rated Brazilian midfielder from Shakthar Donetsk, Fred has joined United and luckily for the Red Devils, a minor injury gave him a complete rest during Brazil’s World Cup campaign despite having traveled to Russia with the rest of the squad. The midfield three of the Serbian rock, Nemanja Matic, the Brazilian maestro, Fred and the mercurial World Champion in Paul Pogba is set to work pretty well this season. However, do they have enough firepower in front of them?
The attack looks 5-star rated on paper! Any football fan , even United’s rivals would admit that. But then, on the pitch Romelu Lukaku is the only one who actually instills fear into any opponent’s mind when he’s on the ball. Alexis Sanchez, to be fair to him, had adaptability problems, having joined mid term last season and he’s expected to be firing on all cylinders this season, having had an extended period of rest, as Chile did not feature in this year’s World Cup. Now, what about the third vacant spot? If I were to tell you that your options for that spot are : One of the world’s best talents in Anthony Martial;the second most valuable young prospect in the world in Marcus Rashford; one of England’s most talented young players in Jesse Lingard and a previous World Cup & Euro winner who exudes class in Juan Mata, I’m sure you’d be pretty impressed. But, to be very honest, at least last season, it was far from impressive. Martial totally off form, Rashford inconsistent as ever, Jesse raised the bar but then, still not the required level and Juan Mata, with a “not so great” season. Woodward has been chasing his ultimate commercial dream of United signing Gareth Bale from Real Madrid since times eternal and this window seems no different; however the chances of United pulling it off this window is a tinge higher this window as Bale himself is in two minds about a return to the Premier League. Ivan Perisic, the mercurial speed demon with a devilish left foot, who had a fantastic World Cup campaign with Croatia is yet another attacking player that José Mourinho has a huge admiration for. With the transfer deadline looming large, the right wing position is one that United need address pretty quickly.
As I draw this piece to a close, I just have one hope and I’m sure this one is on behalf of the entire United fanbase…
“Mr. Ed Woodward, I hope you’re either reading this piece or have heard all the things mentioned from some one already. If you’ve not, I sincerely hope it’s because you’re very busy and on call completing some of the transfer deals we’ve highlighted above…”
-On behalf of all the ardent United fans across the globe
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!