Manchester United were the Premier League’s second biggest spenders behind local rivals Manchester City this summer.
In total, £97.75m was spent on getting hold of players such as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and the deadline day capture of Anthony Martial. In addition, United kept hold of goalkeeper David De Gea, after a lot of drama, and were able to recoup £74.49m by getting rid of Angel Di Maria, Robin van Persie, Rafael and Johnny Evans.
Falcao also departed the club, leaving fans calling for another high-profile striker to be added to the squad, but manager Louis van Gaal opted for the unproven Martial.
Martial proved to be worthy though, but how far have the other signings come?
Here’s analysing the top 6 summer signings of Manchester United, in no particular order.
Although several fans expressed their doubts over the signing of Anthony Martial, his blinding pace and strength won him fans worldwide. He has indeed come a long way since his first start against PSV Eindhoven in the crushing Champions League match.
It certainly seemed as though Martial was eager to impress, and there were signs of intent early on. A burst of pace on the right flank in the third minute was followed by a rather over-enthusiastic foul on a PSV player. It was an encouraging start, but he cut an isolated figure for much of the first half.
Martial’s pace and strength gives United a different option at the tip of their attack.
In the game against Wolfsburg, this was pretty evident. Mata scored United’s first goal and made the second. Martial’s influence was more indirect, but he was outstanding. Their contributions were required. Meanwhile, Martial is on the longest goal drought of his United career, thus far: It has lasted two games and he has impressed in both. The £36 million Frenchman was terrific against Wolfsburg, using speed and skill.
Schweinsteiger is undoubtedly one of the best midfielders of this day and age. This was clearer at Bayern Munich more than it is at United, and there were concerns that Schweinsteiger might just end up being another Radamel Falcao at the United camp.
However, taking the Wolfsburg game into consideration again, the German stepped up his intensity once United had gone behind, showing ball-winning determination in the middle of the pitch and a willingness to get forward when the opportunity arose. Shooting too high at one end, then getting back to dispossess Bas Dost on the edge of the United penalty area moments later, Schweinsteiger was everywhere in the first half. It was just a pity the home side’s more youthful forward players could not immediately capitalise on the momentum the experienced midfielder was generating.
United missed his control when he left the pitch. People have questioned his exact role at the club but Van Gaal signed him as a competitor for nights such as this. Schweinsteiger might just be the best competitor United have at the moment.
Amidst all the signings at Old Trafford over the past 12 months or so, it would not have been wholly expected that Morgan Schneiderlin would so swiftly become so crucial to Louis van Gaal’s team.
While Bastian Schweinsteiger struggles for fitness and Ander Herrera can make no greater impact than from the substitutes’ bench, it is the former Southampton man who is bossing central midfield.
For example, in the match against Aston Villa, he made a United-high five interceptions as well as six tackles, while he also got back to make three clearances and won 100 per cent of the aerial duels he contested. His ball-winning ability was never in question – he has been seen winning possession time and again for Southampton – but there were perhaps doubts as to whether he would stand out quite so much at a bigger club. He is certainly proving any doubters wrong.
In the game against Everton, he not only got on the scoresheet, but also achieved a Premier League-high 97 per cent pass accuracy at Goodison Park, showing he can be the perfect all-rounder that the Reds need in that key position.
The Dutchman netted an impressive 22 domestic goals in 30 appearances in the 2014-15 Eredivisie campaign, but has only shown in glimpses the talent he possesses since his arrival at United.
The winger has scored just the one goal, has no assists and has created only four chances for his teammates so far this season in the Premier League. If he was to continue at this current rate he would end the domestic campaign on five goals, without any assists and with just 19 chances created for teammates.
Now, obviously we aren’t suggesting he won’t register an assist over the whole campaign, as this is only based on his performance levels so far. But the statistics would suggest he will endure a difficult first Premier League season nonetheless.
His shot accuracy of 44% doesn’t differ much from last season’s 47%, where his output was far greater, so no alarm bells are ringing in that department.
He created 60 chances for teammates last season, so has a lot of work to do to close the gap on that number, but it is early days for Depay and he is playing in a more competitive side in terms of squad selection and arguably against far tougher defences in England.
There’s no denying Darmian’s talent, in fact he boasts quality in both defence and attack. While his primary position is full-back, the Italian is more than capable of causing problems for opposing defenders and loves to bomb forward and support his team-mates in attack.
Defensively, he’s as reliable as anybody in the Premier League – an opinion which is testimony to just how quickly he has settled into life at Old Trafford. In fact, he’s probably been the most consistent player in United’s squad during the early stages of the campaign and was named as United’s Player of The Month in August.
Darmian has managed to get to grips with English football in recent weeks but was shown a number of cards earlier in the campaign. He has also been caught persistently fouling opposing players at set-pieces and Louis van Gaal must ensure that his primary right-back doesn’t give any cheap penalties or dangerous free-kicks away.
His speed has certainly helped him to stand out at Manchester United but his sheer footballing ability enables him to regularly impress both the supporters and manager at Old Trafford.
The Brazilian playmaker has been making waves in the Red Devils’ academy set-up for the past three years and seized last night’s opportunity in the Capital One Cup with both hands, netting the second in Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Championship Ipswich.
A very technical player, Pereira can operate in a number of attacking positions, initially starring in the number 10 role when he arrived at the club, but has also shown he is comfortable on the flanks and in central midfield.
Genuinely two-footed, his close control is excellent as he can keep the ball well and offers up excellent delivery when out wide, where he is able to conjure something out of nothing.
He also has an eye for a spectacular goal and is a free-kick specialist.
Although the Brazilian can dazzle with moments of genius, he can often frustrate by drifting out of games and must work on his consistency if he is to become a key man for Van Gaal. He can also be guilty of trying to do too much on his own, either ignoring his team-mate’s movement or attempting passes that can see good team moves break down.