If there was ever a time to plunder the riches of an ailing Barcelona whom are in the midst of a huge facelift it is now. And one man in my opinion would fit to perfection the template for Louis Van Gaal’s new Manchester United. Often overlooked in the immense weight of shadows cast by his fellow Catalan schemer Xavi and Argentine maestro Lionel Messi, thirty year old Andres Iniesta,in his own way has been equally important if not more at times than his two esteemed teammates.
An incredulous list of honours adorn Iniesta’s trophy cabinet. A World Cup, two European Championships and two Champions League medals greedily gathered in an era that will forever be immortalised as Tika Taka. Derided now by many but when at its peak and the slow possession football was suddenly fired up with whiplash speed and Barca switched into overdrive eg: sadly (Wembley 2011) there was and can never have been a more thrilling sight in the game.
Attacking down the left hand side and cutting in field to create bewildering one touch football with Xavi and Messi, Iniesta in full flow was both breathtaking and frightening. Watching it that night felt like trying to fend off a Tsunami with a sweeping brush.
But could United tempt this Barca prince away from the Nou Comp?
Nobody in world football has played more games in the last four to five years than Andres Iniesta. His lacklustre performances in Brazil 2014 like many of his Barca colleagues giving ruse to the notion that they are simply exhausted. Xavi not even making the Spaniards starting line-up. Such is the standing Iniesta has been held in by Pep Guardiola and Vicente Del Bosque during the glory era meant his name was often amongst the first on the team sheet. Only now when there is nothing left in the tanks with legs heavy, mentally drained and utterly bereft of energy does Andres Iniesta appear like the vast majority of opponents. Mere human.
In a strange way this may well work in any supposed approach made to Iniesta by United? With more medals on his chest than a tinpot African dictator maybe no champions or European league football and the opportunity to rest his batteries midweek and restore the old fire could yield positive results? Van Gaal’s swift but ferocious and highly technical playing style is Taylor-made for this sublime and tactically astute footballer.
A price in the region of £40 Million euros and the bait of teaming up with countrymen Andres Herrera and Juan Mata is surely worth a punt of the Glazers (or should that be ours) money?
With Van Gaal not known as one for cow tailing to mediocrity a cull of United’s present midfielders, Mata apart has to be expected. Under-performing Players such as Tom Cleverley, Nani, Ashley Young, Marounne Fellaini, Darren Fletcher and to a lesser extent Michael Carrick could well find themselves surplus to requirements as the no nonsense Dutchman prepares to stamp his mark in the misfitting shoes of the chosen one.
And splash the cash.
There can be no place for sympathy in the attempt to wrestle the title back from Manchester City and who better than Iniesta to lead the charge? A man battle hardened and blessed with the ability to take apart the tightest defences. Make no mistake Van Gaal will take no prisoners in his determination to succeed at United and won’t be satisfied with just tilting at windmills and settling for second or third best.
This season for Manchester United there can be no excuses. A replay of last season’s nightmare scenario of City or Liverpool for the title must not be allowed. Like death by drowning or firing squad there could be no happy ending.
Please never again.
Only first will suffice and someone of Andres Iniesta’s ilk has to be on Van Gaal’s radar to make that a reality. The Old Trafford faithful are still reeling from the nightmare of the short but Calamitous David Moyes era? Not so much falling off their perch like someone I could mention but hopefully just a temporary fall from grace.
This had to be put right so time to act Ed Woodward.
We can but dream.