Manchester United: What does the future hold - A summer of transfers or youthful transition
As the 2013/14 season drew to a thrilling close, most fans were saddened by the fact that EPL football won’t return till the15th of august, but fans of the Red Devils drew a collective sigh of relief. After a dismal campaign, which saw the club record its lowest ever Premier League finish, the entire club will be hoping for a better season next time around under Dutch manager, Louis Van Gaal.
However, as the transfer window opens, the club is aware that these few months before the next season begins could be the post pivotal ones in the Red Devil’s history. With reports of several transfers flooding the internet, including a £25 million deal for Southampton left back, Luke Shaw, one wonders which road the prestigious club would take.
If there is one thing that most pundits agree on, it is that the Man United squad desperately needs reinforcements, particularly in midfield which was demonstrated in the game at St Mary’s where Southampton dominated possession and United were left chasing for scraps. The collective talents of Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Marouane Fellaini and Tom Cleverly wouldn’t be enough for a relegation threatened side and yet these prodigious talents are at the heart of Manchester United’s midfield.
However, the road which the club seems to be headed on, with Louis Van Gaal, reportedly given a £150-200 million transfer kitty, seems to emulate their “noisy neighbours” and fierce London rivals. There is a general consensus that the current United squad has a few gaping holes, something voiced by club legend and director, Bobby Charlton who said that over the summer Manchester United need a couple of new signings and they will get them.
Therefore, with reportedly a £200 million pound transfer kitty, and a world class manager, United seem to be back in the market as well as the running next time around. But what the club must be aware of is that splashing cash isn’t always the answer, and if indeed the club follows this road of quick fixes, in a few years they could end up abandoning their policy of giving youth a chance and soon “Fergie’s Fledglings” would be the last great batch out of the youth academy.
After Louis Van Gaal’s announcement earlier this week, the club look set to approach a variety of top transfer targets including the Bayern Munich trio of midfielders Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben. With Van Gaal’s established connection with the Bavarian club, at least one of the names mentioned above seem certain to move to Manchester United.
One can’t help but wonder, by looking at the options, whether Manchester United seem to be making another series of transfer blunders especially with Arjen Robben. Though Robben is a world class winger, and he already has a Dutch connection with both Van Gaal and Robin Van Persie, he is almost thirty and doesn’t seem to have more than 2-3 good years ahead of him.
A transfer policy with the aim of getting two young players, one midfielder and one defender, with lots of potential and many years ahead of them while allowing players from the youth academy to progress is what the old Manchester United under Sir Alex and Matt Busby would do. Manchester United’s current crop of youngsters include Nick Powell (on loan at Wigan), Jesse Lingard (on loan at Brighton), Davide Pettruci, Tom Lawrence and James Wilson, all of whom if given regular playing time as well as nurturing by experienced players, could well pan out to be the bright stars of Manchester United’s future.
It was only in 2012 when Sir Alex made what could well be his biggest transfer blunder by letting Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison go on free transfers to Juventus and West Ham respectively. Pogba seems to be going from strength to strength in the Juventus side and has often left the experienced Claudio Marchesio on the bench throughout the season. The French midfielder was desperate to prove himself under Sir Alex but ultimately lack of first team action frustrated him and after a move to Italy, the youngster is showcasing his breathtaking talent to the world.
Therefore, though summer revamping is necessary in order to compete at the top level again, United must also be aware of their talent at home and maintain an effective balance of youth and experience in the first team squad.