When a new manager arrives he usually gets given some freedom for restructuring. Van Gaal will be given the time to bring in his own people, coaches and players alike. But what of transfer targets, who will Van Gaal bring in to strengthen a squad that Sir Alex won the league with?
When David Moyes was given the cash to splash on new players he was expected to make a statement of intent and he did so splashing out £35 Million for Mata who proved to be less than remarkable in a red shirt. In all reality, Moyes needed to fill a void in the squad and not bring in a big name, celebrity player. He could have used that £35 Million to fund the purchase of a 3 squad players, a couple from Southampton come to mind.
Either way, the rumour mill is already in over drive regarding Van Gaals first transfer target. According to the Independent newspaper the club ‘consider club-record £48m bid’ for Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke as Louis van Gaal begins restructuring’.
It is interesting that in this day and age Manchester United have never reached the heady heights of a £50 Million transfer fee. Koke is without a doubt an extraordinary player but so is Cesc Fabregas who is available for £35 Million (maybe offer a swap with Mata going in the opposite direction). Significantly, Fabregas has Premier League experience with Arsenal, that’s worth considering.
Either way, Van Gaal will be allowed to buy whomever he fancies and you know the price will be inflated because of who is writing out the cheque. That’s the trouble with a new manager… he can demand money to spend (to make the squad his own) and reject players bought for huge sums by his predecessor. The irony is that Manchester United don’t really have the financial clout to be going toe to toe with the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern.
Another problem (with transfer targets) for a new manager at big club is the desire to buy a statement player… a high profile, celebrity player who signing will grab the tabloid headlines. So, £35 Million is discussed here and £50 Million discussed there for some overpriced, oversexed, possibly obnoxious player who has made a name for himself in a different league, on a different continent. On the other hand, what of the smaller players, those already plying their trade in the English Premier League? It would seem it has become almost unfashionable to buy a player already in the Premier League.
Liverpool have just bought Rickie Lambert for £4 Million and already I hear sniggers from the Man United faithful at the back. It is worth noting that for their money Liverpool have just bought a prolific, hardworking, undemanding, England player. Furthermore, he is one who knows the value of playing for a special club because he has worked his way up from the lower leagues. Yes, he is 32 but he is cutting the mustard, so to speak, at international level now and quite frankly he would be great to give one Wayne Rooney the kick up the posterior he needs. Rooney has lost some of his mojo and Lambert is still hungry because he has not had it all his own way throughout his career.
Don’t get me started on Adam Lallana… that boy needs to be on a bigger stage and again he is the sort of player who will work hard for the team because he knows what it is like to play lower down the league. Southampton have been a revelation in recent years and their transfer policy has been nothing short of visionary.
Some of the larger clubs should take note and perhaps look at the excellent player’s currently available in the Premier League. That said, if I was offered £50 Million to spend to win the championship and I suggested to the chairman that I wanted £12 Million of talent from Southampton, Cardiff and Fulham he would probably fire me on the spot.
So, when people start telling you who the new manager should buy… point out to them that any new acquisition is a tricky affair and if the player fails then it’s on the head on the manager. Ultimately, whomever he buys they will need to fit into his system and realistically we should look to Van Gaal to bring in a player (or two) he knows well and one he knows will fit into his system of play.