The summer transfer window has now closed, and Manchester United look very different from when they started the window. Players who were tipped to leave, like Marouane Fellaini and Anderson, have stayed, while Louis van Gaal has also added a host of new signings, most surprisingly Colombian center-forward, Radamel Falcao. In total Manchester United spent over $200 million, but it remains to be seen how well these signings will gel. This transfer window was the highest amount of money spent across the Premier League, and United led the spending. Van Gaal made some big signings, but will they be enough to secure a Champions League place after a disappointing start to the season?
Van Gaal allowed a total of 15 players to leave by the end of the transfer window, with the most disappointing departure being homegrown talent, Danny Welbeck. Welbeck has endured a tough couple years since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, and van Gaal clearly decided that the forward was not going to displace Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie from the side. It is still disappointing to see Welbeck go because he was a local player who wore his heart on his sleeve, however his inconsistency in front of goal has clearly cost him. I think that the deal actually favors Arsenal because if Welbeck plays consistently he could develop into a classy forward. He will also have a lot better service than he had in the last couple years at United. As disappointed as I am to see Welbeck go, I do think that van Gaal made some good decisions allowing other players to leave.
I think that van Gaal made some good decisions in getting rid of players, such as Tom Cleverley, another youth team player, but one who was nowhere near as influential as Welbeck. I think van Gaal made the right decision to allow Cleverley to leave because it was clear his career was stalling at United. I don’t think that he was able to cope with the pressure of being a Manchester United player, and he has never regained the form he was in before Kevin Davies injured his ankle a couple years ago. Similarly I think van Gaal made a smart move sending Javier Hernandez on loan to Real Madrid. Hernandez has also stalled in the past couple years so sending both players on loan will mean that United can evaluate them without their performances impacting the team.
Manchester United didn’t just make waves for the players they sold, but also the players they bought after they spent over $200 million on new players. The most exciting arrivals are definitely Falcao and Angel di Maria, but I expect to Daley Blind to have a big impact under his former national team manager. Van Gaal was smart to buy versatile defenders because it means he can cover his injury prone players, like Phil Jones and Jonny Evans, and also be able to adapt formations to the opposition’s tactics. Manchester United definitely needed to spend big after their failures in the past few transfer windows and the players they bought should have a big impact. Falcao will be a rejuvenatory force to an ailing offense, while Luke Shaw provides optimism for the future. Once of all van Gaal’s new additions are fit they will be able to offer an extremely exciting starting eleven.
Perhaps the most disappointing part of the transfer window was the players that van Gaal was not able to offload. Before the transfer window started I predicted that he would offload Ashley Young and Fellaini, yet both of them still find themselves in a United uniform. I do not expect that this will continue for long, van Gaal has already confirmed there will be a busy January transfer window, with players like Kevin Strootman expected to be added, and I would imagine van Gaal will swing the axe at some more of the fringe players. I also expect that these signings will boost United’s season, particularly when they are fit. Falcao has a prolific goal scoring ratio, while di Maria will provide creativity that has been lacking in so far. I think that these signings can definitely help United qualify for Europe.
Overall I think this has been a successful transfer window. Van Gaal was able to impose his will on the transfers and sign players that are likely to play in his image. He was also able to get rid of some players who would have had no effect on the team, although it is sad to see homegrown talents like Danny Welbeck leave.