First of all, I would like to welcome all the Back Page Football readers to my fortnightly column focusing on Manchester United. My season preview is available to read here, so as the season develops you will become immune to my thoughts on several topics.
As I write this United have played three games without a win. Swansea and MK Dons got the better of Louis van Gaal’s side with wins while Sunderland got a point last weekend.
After an impressive pre-season tour of America a better start to the season was expected, but there’s a premature hill to climb for the reds, albeit not too steep yet.
Without going into detail about what I think about those specific results (you can read my Daily Mail piece for that), this week I am focussing on Louis van Gaal and how fans should take comfort in the fact he’s already identified the lack of quality in the current squad.
Reports this week suggest a few players could be on their way as deadline day in the transfer market approaches. Wilfried Zaha has already rejoined Crystal Palace on a season long loan and players such as Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley, Shinji Kagawa and Javier Hernandez are receiving interest from not only England but around Europe.
Van Gaal is tackling a problem that has appeared evident with fans and neutrals over time. Manchester United have an array on squad players or even worse than that, deadwood. Doing this now may leave us short but he is making decisions David Moyes dithered over.
Injuries have not been kind to United which should make Van Gaal wary of losing too many players in a hurry. The problem, however, has held the club’s business back with so many players on huge contracts they would not receive anywhere else in the football world.
The new manager needs players that are capable of adapting to his system. It is something that will take time and, in the words of Van Gaal, “three months.”
United’s midfield still needs strengthening while the defence is lacking in numbers and, more importantly, quality. The remaining few days of the summer transfer window will be spent changing that. Louis van Gaal will hope Ed Woodward can deliver, as will the fans.