Will Manchester United do business this month?
Who’d be a Manchester United fan right now eh? United are currently struggling to inspire confidence this season but did find the net three times on Tuesday night against Newcastle. Unfortunately for Louis van Gaal’s side, they also let three goals in as they were held to a draw at St. James’ Park against a spirited Magpies outfit.
If nothing else, the result showed fans that perhaps Wayne Rooney isn’t the problem and United simply need more balance throughout the side. We discuss our thoughts on United’s current standings and whether they need to invest heavily in January or wait until the summer transfer window.
Okay, so January is a notoriously bad time to spend money. Players are overpriced, may struggle to settle quickly in their new environment and some clubs end up ‘panic buying’ in order to keep supporters happy.
Traditionally, United haven’t succumbed to pressure in the past but we are no longer in the comfortable days under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Van Gaal IS under pressure – there’s no doubt about it but is signing two or three players the answer? Perhaps not. However, the Dutchman must do something if he is to win fans over. With United’s current slump, he cannot be seen to be settling for a fourth or even fifth placed finish – Van Gaal must show fans that he is still aiming to challenge for the title.
So who can United buy? Well, they’ve been linked with a move for Southampton’s Sadio Mane. The Red Devils were reportedly eyeing up the Saints star in the previous transfer window but a concrete bid never materialised. Mane would bring both pace and trickery to the flanks at Old Trafford – something that United have lacked throughout the campaign.
Having said that, Van Gaal has just recalled Adnan Januzaj from his loan at Borussia Dortmund. It’s hard to believe that the Dutchman would bring the player back to Old Trafford and then not proceed to buy another winger. Granted the young Belgian is a talented prospect for the future but he’s shown on more than one occasion that he can hold his own in the first team.
Defensively, the 13-time Premier League champions are having problems. Chris Smalling’s early season heroics have very much been forgotten and the England international is struggling to convince fans that another central defender isn’t required. A centre-half should – and probably will be – Van Gaal’s primary concern following recent results.
Even when Smalling was performing, many United fans were crying out for an established, world class central defender to partner him. United have always had strong centre-backs but the days of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are all but over. The Red Devils need somebody like Mats Hummels if they are to become a dominant defensive force.
Or perhaps it is time for a change upfront? Wayne Rooney is drawing ever closer to Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time United record but he cannot keep scoring forever. Four goals in Rooney’s last three matches in 2016 has helped to take some of the pressure off his shoulders but the critics will return if he fails to find the net in the next few weeks.
The name on everybody’s lips this season is Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see United come in with an audacious late bid to try and tempt the striker away from Dortmund. He has scored 18 goals in 17 Bundesliga matches this season and has been linked with a move to the likes of Barcelona and Arsenal in recent months.
Will United bite the bullet and act in the transfer window or are they set to stick with their guns? Unless the club’s stance drastically changes, it’s unlikely that fans will be celebrating any new arrivals at Old Trafford in January. However, this is Manchester United and Van Gaal usually finds a unique way to surprise us so it would be foolish to rule anything out...