Grading Manchester United's Transfer Activity
Manchester United were the biggest spenders in the Premier League this summer, and Van Gaal quite possibly made the most notable of the signings in the last few days. Huge names such as Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao have arrived at Old Trafford, but how good does TBR think that the dealings have been?
Luke Shaw – A-
After a summer of whispers and rumours, Shaw (19), eventually signed for Manchester United following England’s disappointing World Cup showing in Brazil. The Red Devils stumped up an astronomical fee of £30M with his wages amounting to a staggering £100,000 per-week. Chelsea were also in for Shaw but backed away from any deal with the teenager due to his excessive payment demands.
Manchester United and Ed Woodward get a respectable ‘B’ for this deal to bring Shaw to Old Trafford. Although Shaw done more-than well for the St Mary’s club last season, he is relatively unproven as regards a £30M fee. However, it is a long-term investment worth every penny if he can replicate last year’s heroics. There is no doubt about the potential this guy has and he’s sure to be England’s first choice left-back in the near future. Shaw will shortly slot straight into Louis Van Gaal’s 3-5-2 system as soon as he comes back from a fight against fitness issues, but the moment he returns, you can sure he’ll be one of Manchester United’s greatest assets with his directness and speed down the flanks. All in all, a very shrewd signing.
Ander Herrera – B-
A bit of an unknown quantity perhaps, the Spaniard put pen-to-paper on a long-term deal to Manchester United from Athletic Bilbao in June of this year. United had been chasing Herrera since the David Moyes era and he was brought to the club with LVG’s approval for a reported € 36M. Bilbao had rejected an offer of £28.85M by United prior to eventually accepting the sum of € 36M.
Manchester United’s midfield problems have been well documented since Paul Scholes’ departure from the club, but the Red Devils have now put their faith in Herrera (25), to lead take control in midfield. Herrera is a very talented midfielder who can dictate the tempo of an entire game, on his day, that being the problem, his consistency at the very highest level. Still at a very tender age, he ha plenty of time to mature and develop in the Barclays Premier League. The fee may be a little severe, but it’s worth noting that his buy-out clause is the main source of the price tag. Someone to keep an eye on.
Marcos Rojo – C+
Following an impressive World Cup appearance, including a prominent role in getting Argentina to the final, Rojo signed for Manchester United in August for a fee in the region of £16M on a five-year deal. The deal occurred after United’s shock opening day defeat at home to Swansea City, prompting a few to suggest that this was a ‘panic deal’.
A strange one, especially after Manchester United spent big on Luke Shaw, but perhaps Rojo has been brought in to enhance the versatility of Van Gaal’s defence. The 6ft 1in left-back can also play as a centre-back and may prove to be the perfect player for the former Netherlands coach’s 3-5-2 formation. The deal gets a C+ due to the confusion around the purpose of the signing and the fact that Rojo is currently struggling to gain a work permit to play for the club. Yet, there is a mutual feeling that Rojo may just sparkle in a red shirt. It remains to be seen. Interesting signing.
Angel Di Maria – A-
Once again, this deal had been touted all Summer long and it finally came to fruition following lengthy negotiations between Real Madrid and Manchester United’s representatives respectively. On 26 August, Di Maria signed a five-year deal with Manchester United for a fee of £59.7 million, the fifth most expensive transfer of all time and the highest fee ever paid by a British club.
Ed Woodward has been under pressure since his appointment as chief executive after replacing the highly regarded David Gill, but he’s delivered with this deal. The wing wizard is arguably one of the best attacking players in the game and he will be an excellent addition to Louis van Gaal’s squad and system despite a huge fee. The fact that United missed out on European football altogether last season, yet they can still bring someone of the quality of the formidable Argentinian wide man to Old Trafford speaks volume in itself. An excellent signing that just misses out on an A+ because of the fee. A-
Radamel Falcao – B+
On 1 September 2014, Manchester United agreed to sign Falcao on a season-long loan deal, costing £6 million subject to a medical with an option to sign permanently for £43.5M.
Where does Robin van Persie it in? Where does Wayne Rooney fit in? Lets get one thing straight, Falcao is the world’s finest striker when he’s fully fit. The Colombian is only back from a long spell on the sideline following a horrific cruciate ligament injury during his time with Monaco. A quality addition that seems to be done as part of Louis Van Gaal’s plans to drive Manchester United back to the top four, if not the top two. Falcao adds to a prolific strikeforce already made up of RVP, Rooney, Mata and Di Maria. With Falcao in the mix of things, you know you’re always guaranteed a goal. The deal gets a B+ because you have to beg the question; Was another striker really necessary? What about a top class defender? But hey, if you can’t keep the opposition out, you can out-score them. Quality player, shock signing.
Daley Blind – B-
On 1 September 2014, Manchester United signed Daley Blind for £13.8 million subject to a verbal agreement over personal terms. The Dutch defenders had been rumoured to be interested in a move to Old Trafford following his involvement with Louis Van Gaal’s World Cup squad in Brazil this Summer.
Someone Van Gaal obviously knows well, Blind should be perfect for Manchester United and the system they are trying to implement under Van Gaal. The latter will know exactly how to get the best out of Blind and his abilities. Bind is versatile and very mobile. He can play right-back and also as a defensive midfielder, illustrating the ex Ajax man’s versatility. He give’s Van Gaal’s evolving squad plenty of more options this season and looks to be ideal for the cause as far as Manchester United are concerned. A good player and signed for position(s) that make sense.
Manchester United fans wanted quality, and that’s exactly what they got. With Shaw, Rojo and Blind there’s more depth in defence, once they get up to pace. Herrera calms things down in midfield and gets his head up at the same time, looking to spray the ball around the pitch and generally influencing tha majority of United’s forward play. Di Maria adds unprecedented quality and class to a Manchester United midfield crying out for width and pace. Falcao bring the goals in abundance and gives United the option to go direct or in between the fine lines in and around the penalty area. Overall, United fans can be reasonably satisfied, but, maybe just slightly disappointed that they couldn’t get a Hummels or a Thiago Silva to shore things up and replace the partnership of Vidic and Ferdinand. However, they can far more confident when as they tackle the rest of the Premier League campaign, that’s for sure.
Overall transfer grading; B+
How do you think that Louis Van Gaal has done in his first transfer window as manager of Manchester United, and who has been their best signing? Let us know in the comments or on twitter @TBRFootball .