It can be argued that injuries did hamper their progress, but now with extra games this year and fans demanding trophies, LVG is going to have to not only reinforce his squad, but pack it with added umph.
We’ve trawled the stats from last season, found out where United were lacking, and matched players to provide that extra spark, extra block or even that extra goal. Mr. Woodward, no thanks needed – I take cash or card though.
Alexandre Lacazette £22-35m
United only scored 62 goals in the league last season which was quite poor. Back in the Noughties, the boys were knocking in above the 80 or 90 mark. You can say that Falcao disappointed, RVP was injured and that Rooney was out of position, but the fact is that Man Utd just did not score enough goals to finish any higher than fourth – They scored 21 goals less than their city rivals.
Step forward Mr Alexandre Lacazette. Europe’s third highest scorer after Ronaldo and Messi. He might “only” play for Lyon, but Karim Benzema did so as well and he hasn’t turned out too bad. 31 goals and eight assists in 40 games for Lyon last season is what the Frenchman chipped in with to single-handedly drag Lyon into the Champions League.
He would be cheaper than both Kane and Benzema, and with a goal every 112 minutes… you could be looking at more than just the league title.
Max Meyer £15m
At 19, Max Meyer is probably the future of German football. Thanks to Paul Pogba, Meyer has been able to go about his business not swamped by the hype. But the man is a baller.
He had an 82% pass accuracy last season and made 29 key passes. The second highest for Shalke. In Premier League terms, that’s more than Herrera, Fellaini, Blind or Valencia. Not bad for 19 eh?
37 games this season yielded six goals and two assists don’t tell the true story about this guy . If you haven’t seen or heard of this guy, watch the highlights of Shalke and Real Madrid from this season’s Champions League knockouts and you’ll notice a guy, slight in stature who not only has the ball glued to his foot, but absolutely dominates the game. He’s a handy buy in Football Manager too wink wink.
Sergio Ramos £20-30m
Last season, United had the fourth highest defensive errors at 29. Only Everton, Liverpool and Newcastle had worse. That means that QPR, Crystal Palace and Burnley all had less than Manchester United. Has that sunk in? Good.
With all the talk of David De Gea going to Real Madrid, United seem to be pulling out the old tricks again. Leeds United once rang United about the possibility of buying Denis Irwin, United said no but just before they hung up, Ferguson said “Ask about that Cantona fella”.
At 29, Ramos is no spring chicken, but he would definitely bring back the steeliness to a United defence that has been lacking since the days of Vidic. You never know, maybe Evan, Jones or Smalling might step into the Ferdinand Rolls Royce role. Lol.
Bastian Schweinsteiger £7.5m
United have never signed a German player before, but sure since Meyer is in here we might as well throw in Schweinsteiger. At 30 he’s clearly not going to be part of a long term LVG project, but he could help to bring on those around him. Experience is everything, and you can’t say no to having a man who won the Champions League, Bundesliga and World Cup all in the last two years.
Schweinsteiger is also the type of dominating central midfielder Van Gaal is targeting. He is also right-footed and can play as that ‘No 6’ controlling midfielder. With Bayern not going to offer him an extension, you’re looking at this year’s Xabi Alonso transfer.
Regardless of how well Fellaini has been playing, you’re always going to close your eyes every time he goes in for a tackle – all elbow and no brain.
Hugo Lloris £18m
Let’s assume that David De Gea does ship out to Real Madrid, well then United need to bring in someone quickly, preferably someone with Premier League experience would be ideal. Petr Cech is practically in an Arsenal jersey at this stage so that leaves us with Hugo Lloris.
Out of 29 defensive errors last season, only three turned into a goal. Pretty much all thanks to Dave Saves. So saying that they are big gloves to fill for whoever fancies it, is probably understatement of the year.
Lloris made 89 saves last season compared to De Geas 78. He was also the only keeper last season to have a 100% success rate when coming to claim the ball. While De Gea is well known for his distribution, he only has 69% accuracy, Lloris has a 66% rate of accuracy.
My work here is done.