Can anything thing else go wrong for Manchester United? After a devastating, wait, there has to be a better word to describe the disgrace dealings suffered during the summer transfer window. Horrendous, no, horrendous is the best word used to describe their start to the season. Appalling, yes, appalling is just the word I was looking for. Manchester United was treated like that scrawny, geeky looking kid with the tape used to hold together his larger than normal eyeglasses that nobody wanted to pick. While new chief executive, Ed Woodward, was busy tying up sponsorship deal, United were the laughing stock of the footballing world.
With most, no, with all their main summer targets either leaving them stranded at the alter or continuously denying been linked to the club, this was not a good beginning for both David Moyes and Ed Woodward, who replaced retiring Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill.
Kevin Strootman and Thiago Alcantara, who were believed to have accepted a contract offer from Manchester United, now play for Roma and Bayern Munchen respectively.
With numerous failed attempts to land Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, and the player adamant on staying with the Catalan club, United finally gave up on the ex-Arsenal captain.
The transfer woes took quite a strange turn when United approached Atletico Bilbao midfielder, Ander Herrera, a player I myself had only seen play twice was the next on the list. This one was strange because during the final hours of the window, it was said imposters posing as Manchester United officials were in Spain to discuss a final bid for the creative midfielder after numerous failed tries.
At the end of this entire calamity, David Moyes was reunited with former Everton player, Marouane Fellaini, as his sole transfer transaction. Oh yeah, they bought him at a higher price than they would have got him for prior to the transfer deadline. Thanks a lot, Ed Woodward.
The disastrous row of the transfer window has long been forgotten due to a lacklustre start to the season. Manchester United are experiencing their worst start since the 2008/2009 season. With just 10 points after seven games, and out of the loving arms of Europe, it is too soon to panic, but worry you must.
With the lack of transactions throughout the summer, there is much to look forward to come January. New manager David Moyes has said United needs 5 or 6 world class players to compete in the Champions League, and with the humiliation of the summer window, there will be players sold paving way for new arrivals.
The late acquisition of Marouane Fellaini has provided cover for a position the Red Devils were in dire need of. Though the Belgian, in the early season, has looked out of place with his new club, he will be that force United needs in the middle third.
The most noticeable positions in need of reinforcement are; the defence and the left-flank, oh, and a couple more quality players in the middle wouldn’t hurt.
With that said, here are a handful of players that should be targeted in next year’s transfer window that could provide cover, and hopefully save Uniteds season.
34, 32, and 31, no those aren’t kit numbers – those are the ages of Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Captain Nemanja Vidic. I get the whole notion that you need experience in your back four, but when your back four, well three, are constantly being outplayed, outpaced and are causing more harm than good, then it’s time for a change.
The once dominant tandem of Ferdinand and Vidic is now a distant memory. It is clear to see the two giants have lost their ways. Manchester United possesses a bunch of quality young centre-backs whom would be suitable replacements for both players. Phil Jones, to say the least, has been a breath of fresh air coming into this season.
Chris Smalling had an injury plagued 2012/2013 season but has returned fresh and in form. The versatile back, who can also be deployed in the number 2 spot has had a great start to the season. He has been a pillar at the back in both Champions League clashes with Bayer Leverkusen and Shakhtar Donetsk.
A left-back cover is well needed in the upcoming transfer window. Patrice Evra has been a shadow of his old prevailing form. The 4-1 thrashing in the Manchester Derby displayed just how defensively inapt the France international has been in recent years. His propensity to venture far into the attacking third left United uncovered during Manchester City counters on the right-flank. Jesus Navas was virtually unmarked at times, forcing Vidic out of position.
Bayern Munchen first choice left-back, David Alaba, is the one person that comes to mind to replace the ageing Patrice Evra. Touted as one of the best, if not the best at his position, the 21 year-old Austrian international would be a solid choice. Though, it may be realistically unfeasible to seize him from the Bavarian club, this is a player Manchester United should look to solidify the squad.
David Alaba is as opposing running rabid attacking down the left as he is defending. With his great pace and keen attacking prowess, he provides an immense outlet charging forward. His confidence to take on defenders is a quality that has made him the player he is. Off the ball, he moves intelligently to get into position where he can utilize his quality crossing ability. Not only is he a good passer of the ball, he can also put it in the net. He possesses a rather ferocious shot, and a great dead ball technique.
Though somewhat a tad raw defensively, he is slowly progressing, but is already a formidable opponent for opposing widemen.
Felipe Luis – Atletico Madrid.
Marcel Schmelzer – Borussia Dortmund.
Juan Camilo Zuniga – Napoli.
Fabio Coentroa – Real Madrid.
Here lies another position where Manchester United is in a great need of. Having no legitimate left-footed winger ready to coagulate this spot as his own, United are forced to play right-footed wingers whom can only deliver crosses on their strong foot. 38 year-old Ryan Giggs no longer has the pace and stamina to play week in, week out at this position he has made his throughout his Red Devils career. Having failed to acquire any of the summer transfer targets, United have been heavily reliant on Ashley Young, Danny Welbeck, Shinji Kagawa and at times Ryan Giggs to control the left-flank.
Manchester United does not need to look far to strengthen this area. There are two notable players within the United setup that can be deployed in this position.
Last year signing, Alexander Buttner, though playing left-back, was originally a wideman for Vitesse Arnhem before being converted to a wingback. His fearless in attack, flair, pace and confidence in a one on one situation would make him just the player United could use.
The 18 year-old Belgian born Albanian, Adnan Januzaj, has been making a name for himself figuring in United’s reserve squad prior to being promoted to the first team by Sir Alex Ferguson before his retirement. Like Buttner, Januzaj has got all the confidence in the world. Having watched him in United’s U-21 setup, it was quite obvious the young lad has the potential to one day be a top player.
David Moyes handed him his first premier league start just this past Saturday in a match his looked far threatening than the likes of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney. Scoring twice to secure a much needed win for United it is a must to feature him before he is pried away by another club. His football IQ far accedes his age. He was very calm on the ball and aggressive going forward. Though still very young and unlikely to be a weekly starter, he has all the necessary tools to make the flank his own in the coming years.
But, if Ed Woodward and Manchester United are in the mood to splurge to fill the gap in this position, there is a list of world class wingers he can dive into his cheque book for.
The long time Manchester United target, Nicholas Gaitan, should be considered as an option. The left-footed Argentine has been one of the top performers for Portuguese club, SL Benfica since joining from Boca Juniors in 2010. Brought to replace a fellow country mate Angel Di Maria, Gaitan has since displayed why he is likely to succeed at the Theatre of Dream.
Sir Alex Ferguson being an admirer of fundamentally sound players is obvious why he courted the Argentine during his final years in charge. Gaitan is by far one of the most tactically well-organized wingers. Able to play on either flank, he strives on delivering accurate crosses which has been one of his main assets. Not only is he a great passer, he, like his Argentine compatriot Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi, has the vision to creep through holes and passages to get behind defenders.
James Rodriguez – AS Monaco.
Angel Di Maria – Real Madrid.
David Moyes, unlike Alex Ferguson, will have a daunting task luring players of world class quality to Old Trafford solely based on his lack of managerial achievements. But, it must say something to have one of the most successful coaches in football hand pick you to replace him. Ed Woodward has a lot of work to do to masquerade the catastrophe of the winter window. Break the bank and get players to save the club from further disgrace.