Van Gaal transfer hint, Ronaldo refuses to rule out return
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has said he may not need to make any more additions to his new side (5/1 third-favourites to win the Premier League), with Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera their only signings so far.
This is despite the Dutchman, who will seemingly favour a 3-4-1-2 formation, having only three established, but young, centre backs – Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling – at his disposal at the club. All of which have suffered numerous injuries over the years.
“We still have a month to go [until the transfer window closes] and we are winning,” Van Gaal said. “Maybe we don’t need other players. First I want to see the players who I have and give them an honest chance.”
If this is the case, it could mean a more prominent role for 21-year-old Old Trafford youth graduate Michael Keane, who had spells on loan at Derby County and Blackburn Rovers last term. The youngster has been restricted only to League Cup appearances for the Red Devils in his career so far, but has seemingly impressed Van Gaal on the club’s pre-season tour in the USA.
“I am looking at the defenders we have first,” Van Gaal also recently said. “And, when you see our three matches [against LA Galaxy, Roma and Inter Milan], we are doing well, I think. We have to replace them but I like also like Michael Keane and [left back] Tyler Blackett.”
It would be rather surprising if Man Utd were to not bring in any more recruits, especially after four defenders have recently left the club – experienced trio Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, as well as Alex Buttner. The club have also been so vocal in telling the world that they have an unlimited budget to spend on new acquisitions, with Mats Hummels and Thomas Vermaelen being heavily linked.
Former Southampton left back Shaw has come in, but what would happen if he were injured? Does Blackett, who has never played for United’s senior side before, have enough quality to cover him?
In centre defence, though, it could mean that Michael Carrick and/or Darren Fletcher will be converted to a sweeper role, much like the transition Javier Mascherano at Barcelona and Vincent Kompany with Manchester City made in their careers.
Carrick and Fletcher have played together at the back before for United, and looked unfazed, and the Scotsman has already been utilised there in pre-season.
Midfield is also an issue, especially with the reports that Marouane Fellaini is nearing a move to Napoli. Herrera has highly impressed in pre-season, against LA Galaxy in particular, but another quality signing would really bolster a midfield that has arguably been United’s weakness the past few seasons.
Chile and Juventus superstar Arturo Vidal has been heavily linked with a move, with reports suggesting a switch is imminent, but do Van Gaal’s comments suggest otherwise?
Meanwhile, former fan favourite and current Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, 29, has hinted that there is a possibility in future he could return to the club that made his career.
Speaking before Real Madrid’s friendly with Man Utd in Michigan, which he has been ruled out of, he said: “Of course, it was one of my favourite clubs, Manchester, everyone knows that every time when I speak about Real Madrid I should speak about Manchester United, I love it there.
“I was 18-years-old, I won everything there. The people treat me like a god there so I appreciate it and in the future nobody knows.”