What a weekend for Manchester United as a club, player and a fan! After agreeing a fee to sign attacker Memphis Depay, the fans were wondering who else the Red Devils would be signing. Everyone knew for Louis Van Gaal’s men to challenge for next season in terms of the league and having players available for the UEFA Champions League, he needed to add quality and depth to his squad as well as let go of players who were not in his future plans.
The announcement of signings today have given a major boost to the club in terms of what they want to achieve next season. After showing Depay to the media on Friday which he has signed a four-year contract with an option to extend for another year. This showed intent in the club to sign attacking players who are young and hungry. Also, PSG and Liverpool were chasing the talented Dutchman and Van Gaal reacted quickly.
Then the club announced they had agreed terms and deal to sign Italian right-back Matteo Darmian from Torino on a four-year contract. The fee was around £12.7m which is a good price to pay for a 25 year old who has started for his national team and kept a solid position at club level. To be honest, I had not seen or heard much of Darmian until he was linked with United. A right-back was a priority to fill as Valencia was covering in this position as Rafael was injured and the club are listening to offers for him.
Now where would you like me to sch-tart? On Sunday evening the news which leaked that Bastian Schweinsteiger had a medical at Carrington and was agreeing terms with Man United. Amazing news, an experience player who has won everything with Bayern Munich was leaving to join us. He has signed a three-year contract and the fee is £14.4m. People may say he is 30 years old and he would not be around for much longer, well, they would be wrong. Carrick is 34 and these players who play in midfield can control the game at any pace. Bastian wants a new challenge and I’m sure United will give him some memories for life. Although, Bastian does have previous experience of working with Van Gaal and they seem to know each other well.
Start after the news of Schweinsteiger was having his medical, there was rumours Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin was also having a medical. It sounds too good to be true but it was. Schneiderlin has signed a four-year deal with an option to extend to another year. His price tag is reported to be £25m and he has a lot of English football experience from League One, Championship and Premier League. At only 25 years old, he can provide the engine in midfield to be the box to box player. He is not afraid to go into challenges and be the defensive cover.
A couple of years ago, United were crying out for midfielders and re-signed Paul Scholes and now in the team there is Herrera, Blind, Fellaini, Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin, Carrick and Pereira. So there is plenty of options available for Van Gaal to choose from in the coming season.
Sadly, we have also seen players leave the club. Robin Van Persie leaves the club after three seasons as he joins Fenerbahce for £4.7m. He will be fondly remembered for delivering the 20th league title in which Sir Alex Ferguson bought him to the club to win the title. Since then, he has suffered from injuries and did not regain the form. Another player to join Fenerbahce from United was Luis Nani. He has joined them on a three-year deal for £4.25m. He was a skilful player who showed glimpses of his talent but was overshadowed by his fellow Portuguese team mate Cristiano Ronaldo. He had won four Premier League medals and a Champions League. Striker Angelo Henriquez left the club to join Dinamo Zagreb.
With United’s spending at £80m and the earning just under £9m of the sales of players, there is expectation further transfer dealings to happen. There is no resolution to De Gea’s future although Real Madrid goal keeper Casillas has joined FC Porto. Will United sell to Real Madrid and squeeze the premium for De Gea? Plus, the striker’s department is without Falcao and Hernandez has a fractured collarbone and is ruled out for a few more weeks. Hopefully, these questions will be answered after the MUTour in the US and before the transfer window shuts.
United have travelled to the US today and are expected to play Club America (July 17), San Jose Earthquakes (July 21), Barcelona (July 25) and Paris Saint-Germain (July 29). There a few surprises in who is included in the squad. Angel Di Maria and Marcos Rojo are still on holiday from Copa America duties. There is no Victor Valdes either and Rafael. Plenty to speculate about.
Squad travelled to US:
Blackett, Blind, Carrick, Darmian, De Gea, Depay, Evans, Fellaini, Goss, Herrera, Januzaj, Johnstone, Jones, Lindegaard, Lingard, Mata, McNair, Pereira, Rooney, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Shaw, Smalling, Valencia, Wilson, Young.
Let’s hope the team have a great tour and get the team back to the high standard Van Gaal sets out to achieve. He would not want to repeat the start he had last season. So it is vital all the main signings have been done and the team can start working together.