By: Craig Simpkin
Whilst Man City surprised nobody with their prolonged pursuit and eventual capture of €70 million man Raheem Sterling, their Manchester rivals have gone about their business rather more quietly so far during this transfer window.
Louis Van Gaal has drafted in Bastian Schweinsteiger, a World Cup and Champions League winner, for €20 million. The German is still only 30, and thus as a defensive midfielder is perhaps in his prime years.
Morgan Schneiderlin has also been tempted to head north from Southampton for a cool €35 million, and this pairing will bolster United’s otherwise rather flaccid midfield options.
Exiting Manchester, on the other hand, is Robin Van Persie; the Dutchman sealing a €7 million move to Turkish side Fenerbahce. That leaves Van Gaal with only two recognised attackers – Wayne Rooney and James Wilson – after Falcao’s loan ended.
And with Angel Di Maria reportedly set to leave the club – he can be backed from odds as short as 1.44 to join PSG, it is unlikely that Man United’s spending is set to end any time soon.
Naturally Louis Van Gaal will be looking to beef up his attacking options after the sale of Van Persie and possible departure of Di Maria; especially as his club will want to challenge for the league title and make a good fist of their first Champions League campaign for two years.
He’s already brought in Memphis Depay of course; a young winger with bags of potential, but one who has yet to sample the biggest stages in the game. More reinforcements are thus needed.
There is intense media speculation that Edinson Cavani could move in the opposition direction to Angel Di Maria, and he would certainly fill the void left by Van Persie. Big and strong but good technically too, the Uruguayan has a career goalscoring average of one strike every two games – and he could lead the line well for the Red Devils. He also fits with Van Gaal’s aim of bringing in more high profile signings.
Manchester United struggled defensively last season, and so the rumoured move for Valencia’s Nicolas Otamendi makes sense. The rugged Argentinean is a no-nonsense centre back who has drawn plenty of plaudits for his performances at both club and international level, and is somebody who could finally fill the void left by Nemanja Vidic.
If those signings become a reality, and if the club can convince David De Gea to resist the advances of Real Madrid for another year at least, then the Old Trafford side could well gatecrash the Premier League title party in 2016.
They still sit behind both Chelsea and their Manchester rivals in the betting stakes, and can be backed from 6.5. But if they continue to send wisely like they have so far in the transfer window, who’s to say that’s not great value.