The 2014 summer transfer window saw plenty of surprise moves that no one saw coming. But one thing that everyone saw coming was Manchester United’s dealings in the transfer squad. With a squad that that struggled to finish seventh last season, there was always going to some major transfers both going out and coming in, particularly with a new coach coming in.
While the Red Devils were expected to be busy in the transfer market, nobody quite expected them to spend as much as they did. Not only did they break the British transfer record to sign Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid, they also broke the world record for most money spent in a single transfer window.
With the additions of Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind, the club finally have reinforced their defense, which was their Achilles heel. By adding Ander Herrera and Angel Di Maria, the club have not only added some bite and steel to the midfield but also some much needed creativity. Up front, the arrival of Radamel Falcao on loan is something that would definitely improve the attack which saw Welbeck leave for Arsenal and Javier Hernandez go out on loan to Real Madrid.
Now the real question for Van Gaal is what he does with the players at his disposal. Does he continue to stick with his 3-4-1-2 formation or does he go for a more traditional four-man defense. Given the versatility of the players at his disposal he certainly has plenty of options. Here are three formations that the Dutchman can use to get the most out of his players.
The only player that is guaranteed to be in the starting XI irrespective of the formation is the goalkeeper David De Gea. Aside from him, Van Gaal has the players to pick and choose depending on the formation he employs. If the Dutchman wants to go with a three-man defense and stick to the formation he started the season with, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Marcos Rojo would be the ideal candidates for the three central defensive roles with Jones and Rojo occupying the right and left side of Evans who will be the central defender.
With Shaw and Rafael finally returning to full fitness, those two would be the first-choice for the two wing back slots. The acquisition of Daley Blind means that the club finally have a defensive midfielder and the Dutchman’s calm and assured temperament would make him the perfect partner the all-action style Ander Herrera in central midfield.
Although Mata has occupied the central playmaker role so far, the arrival of Angel Di Maria for a British transfer record means that the Argentine should get the nod ahead of the Spaniard for that role. Up front, Rooney and Falcao would be the ideal pairing given Van Persie’s fitness concerns and the pace and power that the Colombian would bring.