What Changes Will Help Manchester United Next Season?

What Changes Will Help Manchester United Next Season?

Manchester United have had a mediocre season. Louis Van Gaal’s maiden season at the club had a shaky start, what with losing 2–1 at home to Swansea City, marking Swansea’s first league win at Old Trafford in the club’s history. There have been certain highlights to this season though – the wins against Chelsea and Liverpool and Manchester City being prime examples. They have another game left with Hull City and will finish this season in the 4th place, which is an improvement from the 7th place finish last season. Let’s look at certain changes the club could possibly make to be title contenders next season.


United is a club that has always been known for their strong attacking play, under Sir Alex. Louis Van Gaal, on the other hand, believes in slowly building up possession to mount pressure on the opponents and then orchestrating chances for scoring goals. For such a tactic to work, there needs to be a strong central midfield. The trio of Carrick/Herrera/Fellaini has been working very well and has dominated the midfield in almost every game. If it continues, it wouldn’t be advisable to change it. Yet we’re continuously linked with more midfielders. Fellaini would probably be the first name to get changed, with a more dynamic powerful midfielder, like Pogba.

Mata is in excellent form, 2 goals against Liverpool, one against City, an assist against Villa. Four excellent performances in a row. If he keeps that up, there isn’t much chances of LVG thinking of replacing him.

Based on the current form, the only improvement that must be made is in the area of defence. There is Smalling and Rojo, who have been solid. In fact, they could possibly be the third best defence in the league. In some matches, the defence faltered. However, the best display of Manchester United’s defence was showcased in the match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Next season, there will be more than enough games to alternate between Mata and Depay. With the Champions League and the other cup games, Van Gaal wouldn’t want to burn out any of the players. Hence, they must look to bring in quality this window. It’ll be near impossible to snatch Varane away from Real Madrid though. Laporte can serve as a replacement as a young centre-back on a similar level like Varane, but his high buy-out clause might end up being the deal breaker. Van Gaal must definitely get one solid centre-back, a strong defensive midfielder (we may need some brawn in some CL and cup games), central midfielder (out of luxury rather than a necessity) and a proven striker (if we let Falcao, Chicha and RVP go).

Manchester United must not let David De Gea go at any cost. He has been instrumental in most of the club’s wins this season and is a true asset to the team. As seen in the game against Arsenal, Victor Valdes still has a long way to go before he does his job right.

Comparisons have been drawn between Jose Mourinho’s performance and Louis Van Gaal’s performance this season. The thing to note is that Mourinho knows how the league works, whereas it was Van Gaal’s first stint here and a top 4 finish is good enough. He has had the time to understand how it works and it is expected off him to deliver next season.

“It’s not a question of how big or how many numbers of players, it’s how the balance is. When you have, for every position, two equal levelled players, then I’m happy,” he said at the Player of the Year Awards when asked what is required this close season to make United serious contenders. The only major threat is the possible departure of David De Gea. United must retain him at any cost, or look to sign a goal keeper who is top class. Hugo Lloris from Tottenham could be considered a replacement, in that case.

The key would be to recruit a good number of quality players such as a midfielder: Paul Pogba of Juventus would be suitable. A right-back: there have been reports of Everton’s Séamus Coleman being considered. A central defender: the prime target being Mats Hummels (although his pace could prove to be a problem). A good striker: Harry Kane is one under consideration. Also, if Gareth Bale can be obtained, this would turn out to be a clear game-changer.

There has to be an adjustment in the famous Van Gaal tactic as well. As mentioned above, Sir Alex was all about attacking and that was enough to instill terror even in the most formidable of opponents. Van Gaal is a lot more cautious and careful in his approach, but he should consider going out and playing on the front foot more. Right now, he seems to be focusing only on building possession, which has lead to a lot of lateral passes among the players. If Van Gaal employs this characteristic, then the side will only be helped further by the arrival of the fleet-footed Memphis Depay.

Another important thing that the players need to focus on, is to be more consistent. They have managed a top 4 finish, but the performances that led up to it were extremely uneven. For example, in the match against Arsenal, United had the upper hand all along, but ended up handing an easy equalizer to the Gunners. After last season’s show under David Moyes, confidence is still a little lacking in few of the players. Here’s to hoping that Wayne Rooney and his men regain the focus they need and go on to become serious title contenders next season!


6 responses to “What Changes Will Help Manchester United Next Season?”

  1. ped says:

    make it sound like man u click their fingers & players come running… think LVG is going to be disappointed on Lloris or Kane joining from spurs as they’ve both expressed their allegiance to the north London club … probably won’t get Bale either as he’s likely to stay on at Madrid.

  2. Ernest says:

    Comment:I really love the way man united is playing their games this time. It really suffocates the opponent so much. I know man united will do well next season if those players he wishes to buy accept. Even with this players already here can still do wonders next season trust me.

  3. Jimmy Mac says:

    The names that are linked with United are also linked with most other top clubs but whilst Van Gaal will undoubtedly be looking to buy the best available in certain key positions I seriously doubt that he would take a gamble on Harry Kane, who looks to be a real talent but has only had one good season.

    Much has been made of Woodward’s stereotypically brash American “money no object” approach to transfer policy. The seemingly inept and naive CEO probably cost David Moyes the chance of a second season to convince the players, fans and the Glazers that he was up to snuff but it was not to be. So a new, experienced and internationally successful manager arrives a season later, following a world cup final tournament, without the luxury of a full pre season with his new club and players and the added burdon of a lengthy and tiring tour and the accompanying commercial responsibilities and media commitments…but he appeared very confident and all seemed hopeful for an influx of world class players and a serious assault on the top 4 and, who knows, perhaps even, with no Champions League “distractions,” a bit of luck and a fair wind, a potential tilt at regaining the title might just, just be possible.
    The catalogue of injuries at the start of a season that saw so many changes in United’s personnel, philosophy, formation and tactics certainly didn’t help; yet as the season wore on, despite many wobbly moments in defence and a worrying lack of goals up front, the understanding began to gell and both our form and points tally gradually improved. Despite this, the stellar additions to the squad and Van Gaal’s complete and utter conviction in the project and his footballing philosophy, the performances were rarely totally convincing and more often than not gave cause for alarm. Luckily for us, out of the previous year’s top 4 clubs only Chelsea seemed to have the consistency and team spirit to maintain a domestic and European assault over an entire season. In fact, at one point, it looked bizzarely as if United might even climb to second place and put some pressure on the champions elect.

    Unfortunately, for all United’s bewildering midfield triangles and increasing dominance of possession, the promise of Herrera, the contributions of the ever optimistic Mata, the emergence of Smalling as a leader and the unearthing of Paddy McNair it was the brilliance of David de Gea behind an often inconsistent and at times naive defence and the relative misfiring in front of goal from United’s very costly front line that defined their season. All the possession ultimately counted for little in games that should have been won but were either drawn or lost. Fourth place is not an achievement for a club of this stature, and the home defeat by Arenal in the F.A. Cup was tough to take but given all the difficulties and changes it was perhaps predictable in hindsight that this season would be a struggle…and yet dispite the litany of injuries, the inability to field a settled side, the initial lack of confidence and the obvious frailties in defence…the fact remains that had United been able to call on a Ruud Van Nistleroy or a Ronaldo they could well have been crowned Champions ahead of Chelsea this season. When you look at the relative strength of depth in the two squads that seems a ridiculous thing to say but at one stage United looked as if they could have been serious, if unlikely challengers to the then champions elect.
    So now what? Regardless of media speculation and pontifications of the would be Fifa managers and football top trumps fantasists amongst us United fans Van Gaal has his (own) shoping list. Lets hope he secures the signings that he has targeted and that they make the diference next season. Having said that who can resist the temptation to share their unique appreciation and understanding of who and shat thrir club needs? Certainlh not I…
    The acquisition of de Pay was an unexpected bonus for the fans and the need to move quickly to heed off rivals was no doubt deemed a necessary inconvenience, but its probably safe to say that a goalscoring winger from a weaker domestic league, however promising, was not at the top of Van Gaal’s shopping list. This will be Carrick’s final full season as a regular first teamer, injuries and fatigue permitting, securing a replacement and worthy successor is surely a top priority; Daly Blind’s versatility, passing abillity, excellent reading of the game, vision and awareness make him a candidate to play in a similar role but unfortunately he is just as slow as Carrick, can be easily dominated in the air and jumps out of tackles far too often to be relied on as a dm; he would need the help of a more mobile, athletic and physical box to box player alongside him such as Granit Xhaka and a commanding centre back behind him such as Otamendi who, despite his lack of height, would be a definite upgrade over Jones and Evans and who, I would likd to believe, could make a very impressive and effective c/b pairing with his fellow Argentinian compatriot Rojo. One obvious area for concern would be the loss of both during the Copa Américas and the long international flights when picked for Argentina games in general. Retaining Jones, Smalling snd McNair would be essential in such a scenario.
    The right back position has often been overlooked as a priority because of other more obvious dificiencies in the squad but in all honesty its been a growing problem area since Gary Neville’s prime. The prospect of the da Silva twins forming United’s wing backs for a decade seemed a given under Fergie but with Fabio’s departure and Rafael’s injuries, poor pisitioning and physical limitations restricting him to the bench its perplexing that Van Gaal hasn’t moved sooner for an upgrade. Valencia’s pace and strength would have made him a great right winger/second striker if only he had a modicum of technical ability and a goalscoring instinct, alas he has neither, and his lack of positional awareness as well as his frequent lapses in both concentration and discipline make him something of an accident waiting to happen as a converted right back/right wing back. As for candidates; Nathanial Clyne seems to be s strong favourite amongst many United fans and certainly shows great promise but is perhaps not the strongest or tallest r/b available. Danny Alves is a great competitor, loves to take on players and is potentially available on a free transfer, but he isn’t the tallest either and would demand astronomical wages; additionally, at 32 Alves isn’t a great long term bet and has never played in the EPL before. Seamus Coleman would be my pick; he is equally as tough as Alves and Valencia, has very good technique, chips in with a few goals and assists and would make an excellent first choice specialist r/b or wing back. Prizing him away from Everton, where he seems very settled and happy, would be difficult and expensive but Martinez is apparently keen on Johnny Evans and might just bite if he were part of the deal.
    So, now down to the two main priorities; a reliable, goal scoring centre forward and a goal keeper; we have done a lot of recent business with Real Madrid in recent years and if, as expected, de Gea moves to the Bernabéu, and if the rumours are true about Benzema being available then Van Gaal could do a lot worse than to sign the Frenchman who provides as many assists as goals. With Falcao gone and an injury RvP in his final season at the club having a striker who creates and scores 40+ goals a season is arguably better than having an egocentric prima donna who scores 30+
    Imho United should move heaven and earth to keep hold of de Gea and tie him down to a bumper contract; he is simply the best in the world, ahead even of Neuer, who has had the benefit of a great defence in frint of him. Lloris is not for sale so Cech would be the obvious solution if we can’t convince de Gea to stay.

  4. Higenyi says:

    Sir Alex always transitioned new players into the Manchester team as substitutes rather than first eleven players. In some cases, he never introduced the players depending on how games where going. The rush to introduce newer players into a team may be a shortcoming as witnessed with our last signings.
    Any new signings should be introduced later in the game as a necessity rather than a replacement of an existing player that is doing well.
    Caution is the key here. I fear for great players like Fellaini, Herrera ,Mata and Young being sidelined for new additions for the sake of it!!

  5. Steve Bithell says:

    Can you remind me how many did we beat Chelsea
    Then you article might be worth reading

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Published by EPL Index
Updated: 2015-05-22 08:21:50