Manchester United Arrivals and Departures

We all remember when Woodward went on a crazy spending spree last year and brought in Di Maria, Blind and Falcao at the end of the transfer window. Last summer’s transfer window  made us forgive Woodward for being totally inept during the previous one when Fellaini was the only addition to an ailing team.

Well, fast-forward to this present day and Woodward is at it again! He’s bought THREE players in the space of three days. Last week, the rumours were spreading about a young Italian fullback who seemed destined to follow Memphis Depay into Old Trafford. During Friday’s press conference, Van Gaal also confirmed that Matteo was Old Trafford bound and was expected to undergo a medical and sign the contract the following day. Matteo Darmian hadn’t even put pen to paper when, early Saturday morning, Twitter went absolutely bonkers with rumours that Bastian Schweinsteiger was becoming the first German international to put on the famous red shirt. The rumours spread like wildfire, every newspaper was reporting about this potential transfer and Bayern Munich confirmed that Basti, as they call him in Germany, sought a new challenge and wanted to leave Bayern Munich. The news was then heard straight from the horse’s mouth as Bastian posted a photo of himself on a airplane that was heading to Manchester. Brilliant. On Monday morning I woke up all hyped about Schweinsteiger’s arrival and checked Twitter to see if there was any club announcement or pictures of our World Cup winner posing with a United shirt. There wasn’t any of this but there were a lot of newspapers reporting that Schneiderlin had undergone a medical at Carrington and was due to be unveiled as a United player later on that day. Even better. Excellent.

So here’s my take on our three new players.....

Matteo Darmian
I’d be lying if I said that I knew who Matteo was a week ago. However, the little I’ve heard about him has made me warm up to him already. He seems like a humble guy who just loves to play football. A bit like Herrera, if you ask me.   Darmian also looks 12 years old....just like Herrera.
Anyway, I live in Malta and Italian football is quite big over here. So when I asked my Italy supporting work colleagues about Darmian, they were all saying that we’ve made a great acquisition and that he’s been Torino’s best player over the past couple seasons. So, I guess we’ve made a very good buy. Sometimes you don’t need world renowned superstars to build a great football team. Let’s hope he settles in England quickly. I’m quite pleased about this arrival.

Bastian Schweinsteiger
Yes, he’ll turn 31 in two weeks. Yes, he may be past his peak. BUT I don’t care. I’ve read quite a few comments by our rivals’ supporters making fun of this purchase. In my opinion, whoever passed such comments is:
  • 1.)   Super jealous that a player of Schweinsteiger’s ability and experience is joining Manchester United, the team “doomed to fail” ever since Ferguson’s retirement.
  • 2.)   Ignorant to the fact that some of the world’s best players were still running the show in their 30’s. I’d look at Scholes, Giggs, Pirlo and Xavi as a few prime examples. Iniesta, 31, also won the Man of the Match award in last June’s Champions League Final.
  • 3.)   Fearing a United side with such a world-class player in its midfield and is passing petty comments to feel better about their football team.

I am really hyped up about this new player. There’s no doubt that Basti has bags of experience and will improve our midfield drastically. My only worry is that he’s been at Munich his entire life and has never experienced a major change of setting. This is the first time Bastian will be locating to a new country and playing at another club. Hopefully, his relationship with LVG will help him settle in quicker. I’m absolutely delighted.

I am even more hyped about this move. I’ve seen Southampton play a few times last season and this guy was always better than any of his team mates. He also managed to go toe to toe with the more established Premier League midfielders and win midfield battles. Our midfielders struggled immensely to deal with Schneiderlin when we lost to Southampton at Old Trafford last season. That game must have made LVG’s mind up that he wants the Frenchman.
We can finally say we’ve bought a player capable of replacing the majestic Carrick even though this is not a like for like replacement, given that Carrick is a distributor of the ball while Schneiderlin’s role it to thwart the opposition’s momentum by breaking up their play. The Frenchman’s arrival will give our midfield some grit and energy that it desperately needs. Furthermore, it will give Herrera a chance to play his game rather than track back and defend continuously. Another excellent buy.

So that’s our right back position and midfield sorted. 

Our midfield problem has been present since Fergie’s days and I feel that the problem is finally over. There was a time when we didn't have any midfielders available to play. Indeed, we’ve gone from having no midfielders, to having Anderson and Cleverley play in midfield, to having Rooney and Jones forced to play centrally. Heck, we even had Rafael play in midfield once! Now we've got a midfield that is likely to be made up of Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger and Herrera. What an improvement we’ve made!

We haven’t had a proper midfielder to accompany Carrick ever since Scholes retired. I think I’d have to look at the Owen Hargreaves days to find a quality midfielder capable of helping both Scholes and Carrick. Ever since the 2008 Champione League final, our midfield has been neglected and this negligence has cost us dearly. We now have Carrick, Herrera, Fellaini, Blind, Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger who are all capable of playing there. A big headache for LVG but brilliant for Manchester United.

I think Ed Woodward has done business extremely well. Depay, Darmian, Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger will no doubt improve our team and we didn’t really break the bank to get the four. The fee for the four new players is a little more than what Manchester City paid for Sterling.

What’s even more impressive from Woodward is that he didn’t pull his own pants down and bend over to Real Madrid in the David De Gea transfer saga. De Gea is a goner and his move to Real is dead cert BUT Woodward is trying to get something for Man Utd out of this deal. It’s either more money (or Sergio Ramos) or DDG will stay with us. Simples.

Meanwhile, we’ve also seen two Manchester United players head out of Old Trafford. Luis Nani and Robin van Persie have joined Fenerbache. I expected both of them to leave.

Nani is a brilliant footballer on his day but he seems to have more off days. There were two seasons when he really excelled but he failed to come out of Ronaldo’s shadows and never really became a crowd favourite. Before his loan move to Sporting, where he did really well, he was definitely our most exciting player. But that could be due to the fact that our squad was very poor and was only doing well because we had Fergie at the helm. He leaves United having scored 40 goals in 240 appearances. I liked Nani but I think he could have done better in his United career. It’s a shame he never reached the heights he was most definitely capable of reaching. FOUR premier league titles and a Champions League winners medal ain’t half bad. 

I will remember fondly that goal vs City in 2011 just before he assisted Rooney's bicycle kick. I was there, at the Stretford End. Thank you for that penalty in Moscow and for that beautiful lob vs Arsenal. Thanks for the memories and good luck in Turkey. 

Some of the medals Nani won at United....

Another player who’s gone is RVP. He won us the 2012/13 Premier League title single handedly. I’ll always remember that last minute freekick vs. City and that volley at Old Trafford against Villa. Was excellent during the first year but looked uninterested ever since. He was the player mostly affected by Fergie’s retirement and hasn’t played to the best of his ability lately. He was also unlucky with injuries. Looking back, I think RVP is glad he listened to the ‘little boy’ inside him and joined United in August 2012. He’s won one Premier League title and scored 58 goals in 104 games. That’s quite a good return. Ohhhhhh Robin van Persie!
RVP joined United to win the Premier League and that's exactly what he did.
More players are likely to follow Depay, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger and Darmian into Old Trafford and others will follow in the footsteps of Nani and Robin. With Falcao and van Persie both gone, I expect a striker to be bought. I also think that a central defender should be on LVGs priority list. If I was a betting man, I'd put a tenner on Rafael being the next player to leave Old Trafford. We'll wait and see. Till then, this post officially kick starts my blogging for season 2015/16. I'm feeling optimistic this year, are you?

Come on United! 


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