Louis Van Gaal should be a happy man, now that the transfer window has ended. He has exhibited a lot of control over the transfers this time, and only time will tell if all the boldness paid off.
Manchester United made a huge splash in the beginning by signing Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Memphis Depay and Matteo Darmian. These signings helped strengthen the attack, central midfield and right-back. The midfield was a problematic area for the Red Devils, and Schweinsteiger’s arrival promised to be good news for the midfield as he is one of the best midfielders of our time. Schneiderlin was added next, and he can play in a deep role or box-to-box so that provided flexibility to the team.
Last season, Van Gaal positioned Antonio Valencia as a supporting right-back as he wasn’t that impressed with Rafael Da Silva. With Darmian’s deal done, it was an impressive addition. In the fast-paced Depay, PSV Eindhoven’s top scorer in their Eredivisie title triumph, Van Gaal added more dynamism to the team.
In order to analyse what exactly went wrong, attention needs to drawn to the second phase of the window. The whole David De Gea issue and Van Gaal deciding that he needed only Wayne Rooney, kind of messed things up. De Gea was to move to Real Madrid but then the required paperwork and documents did not arrive on time, and the Spanish window closed. De Gea remained at United by default. For a while, United remained adamant that De Gea would be allowed to leave only if Real Madrid agreed on a deal for Sergio Ramos.
Also, since his contract expires next year, they will receive no fee for a transfer. Van Gaal will be expected to make it up to De Gea as the Spaniard was highly disappointed, and for good reason. However, there have been rumours suggesting that his contract will be revived this October. If that undergoes, then United fans can heave a sigh of relief.
Another cause of speculation would be to see how many strikers Van Gaal closes in with. His proven finishers started and ended with Rooney, who is without a Premier League goal since April. The rest were marginal players, at best. Last season, Javier Hernández was farmed out on loan to Real Madrid. James Wilson was preferred to Danny Welbeck, who left for Arsenal 12 months ago, but failed to make an impact, and that concludes the saga.
According to The Guardian, after the draw with Newcastle United on 22nd August, the 64-year-old said: “I can choose better because I know my players, and that’s why I have chosen Chicharito [Hernández], because he is another type from Rooney, and we have also Fellaini, who is another type. So I have different types, then I have Wilson and Januzaj, so I don’t think we need a striker.”
It seems kind of ironic now, since Van Gaal let Hernández to be sold and Januzaj to be loaned out. Wilson is also expected to leave on a temporary basis for a Championship club. For £36m Anthony Martial from Monaco has been bought. He has 11 career league goals to his name.
However, there is no reason for Van Gaal or the fans to be unhappy about the signings. He managed to sign almost all the players he was vying for, except of course, Bale, Neymar, and Ramos, to name a few. And like every other season, there was a Cristiano Ronaldo transfer rumour yet again.
Ultimately, it has been a good window as far as Manchester United is concerned. There are several questions that remain to be answered, like: Will De Gea be satisfied at the club? Will Rooney muster up himself and become more consistent? Can he maintain the defence? Will the club finally win the league and prove to be serious competition in the Champions League?