Way back in May, when David Moyes was sacked and Louis was first touted for the job, The Guardian reported on how the inimitable Dutchman had given Manchester United a list of targets which he wanted them to pursue over the summer.
Louis van Gaal gives United ABC of targets before going Dutch
Van Gaal has given Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, an A, B and C list of desired players. The prime potential acquisitions include Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben, who does not take his place in Holland’s squad until after Saturday’s German Cup final, the winger’s club team-mate Thomas Müller, an attacking midfielder, and the Borussia Dortmund central defender, Mats Hummels. Van Gaal has also approved Southampton’s Luke Shaw and Bayern’s Toni Kroos, who were identified as transfer targets during Moyes’ tenure.
Of course this was just speculation – albeit from one of the most respected and connected British media sources.
But three months on and Manchester United haven’t even got close to Louis’s reported targets. Luke Shaw has come in, in what will be seen as great business in years to come. But, somehow, Toni Kroos got away. How much will United pay for that? Kroos is a marvellous footballer.
But, if LvG made his choices 3 months ago then we surely have to look once more at the Manchester United board and ask if they are doing the job properly.
Sure, Manchester United doesn’t have Barcelona’s sun, but it’s still one of the best places to play in the footballing world.
With none of the ‘Plan A’ players snared, we may assume that the Plan B included the likes of Juan Cuadrado, Arturo Vidal, Thomas Vermaelen and Angel Di Maria. Cuadrado is there for the taking but hasn’t been signed. The Vidal deal is dragging on and looks ever less likely. And Di Maria is also available but Manchester United are showing typical indecision.
If all those deals fail, as seems likely, then Manchester United, it can be assumed, are on to Plan C. Does this list include the likes of Rojo, Guarin and De Jong? It seems that even Ed Woodward can manage the signings of these guys but are they good enough to improve the first team? Rojo looks like a decent signing but the other two can’t exactly be described as world-beaters.
Perhaps Manchester United will instead wait until January to sign Kevin Strootman from Roma. That would at least represent a step forward.
But these are worrying times for Manchester United. After last summer’s debacle we thought that lessons had been learnt. But with less than 3 weeks to go, and big holes in the team, you wonder whether the likes of Ed Woodward are making the same mistakes again.
Manchester United fans: are you concerned by United’s summer business?