It seems like every man and their dog wants United to make a major signing. We take a quick look at Louis van Gaal’s senior signings as Manchester United so far and rate them as hit or miss.
Technically a player scouted under the previous ownership, but signed under Van Gaal’s tenure. And for a long time it showed. He wasn’t first choice, playing usually as a substitute, but when given the opportunity, he became arguably United’s best midfielder in the latter months, with a great eye for goal and fantastic energy. HIT
Likewise, Shaw was a player whose signign was essentially wrapped up without the Dutch manager’s eye needed, although, he surely gave the green light. And again, Shaw took a while to convince, with injuries and weight concerns. Those worries about his attitude seem to have been allayed by taking a fitness coach on his holiday, but, the jury is out on a player yet to show that he will fulfil his potential. UNDECIDED
A left field but quite protracted signing – Rojo was signed to bolster a back line needing some physicality after the loss of Nemanja Vidic. Injuries did not help his settling in period but he has shown some signs of promise. Rojo is almost guaranteed to be given a role in the side as a left footed centre half but is still as much of an unknown quantity as Shaw. UNDECIDED
Angel Di Maria
Played well for four months, scored some outrageous goals and looked a threat whenever he was on the ball. And then he didn’t. The going got tough, and Angel was bullied out of games. It was difficult as United offered little in the way of resistance or a plan B – and when they found one, Di Maria was out of the side in favour of Mata. Could Di Maria have flourished in the role from the right when Van Gaal stumbled on the Young and Fellaini combo? Maybe. But it was up to him to shine in the chances he got, and he didn’t do enough.
United fans were willing to see Di Maria be given another chance but going AWOL and refusing to join up with the squad in order to force a move to PSG (a move the club had been perfectly willing to facilitate) was a huge black mark which means there is no turning back. MISS
Looks good at left back, is adequate at holding midfield, an unknown quantity at left centre half but there are concerns due his lack of pace. But he’s handsome, so there’s that, and really hits a fairly decent shot from 20 yards. A potentially valuable squad player for years to come. HIT
A worthwhile gamble on loan, but one that didn’t pay off. The effort was there but the contribution wasn’t, and the Colombian star’s time at United is already more remembered for his eye watering wage packet rather than anything he did on the pitch. MISS
Signed because of his good relationship with the manager, the experienced goalkeeper refused to play for the reserve team last season. Van Gaal has confirmed he wants to get rid. So even those indoctrinated in the Van Gaal philosophy are still a gamble. This isn’t a slight on the quality of Valdes and, on a free transfer, it wasn’t too much of a risk. But for the wages he got, and the contribution he made, it would have probably been nicer to have seen Ben Amos or Sam Johnstone or even Anders Lindegaard play. MISS
Judging a player who arrives from the Eredivisie on their form on Holland isn’t wise, but, all the fledgling signs are promising. Memphis has a strong physique, is quick, and has a fine shot on him. However, we are hesitant to get too excited before he has shown what he can do. UNDECIDED
And, likewise, we’re on the fence with the Italian. The reality is we’re still a little stung at Rafael not being given a proper chance but with ten league appearances last year maybe we’re just quite as upset that Rafael didn’t take one of those chances. Darmian ought to be an upgrade on the out of position Valencia, but that’s no guarantee. UNDECIDED
The dangerous one. On paper, this is a hit all the way. As was Angel Di Maria, as was Falcao, at the time. We have to say this is a hit because of how it has worked in elevating United’s profile – that they can persuade a lifelong Bayern star to join Old Trafford is a shot in the arm for the manager. Now he just has to do it on the pitch. That’s the easy part, right? HIT
It feels odd to say that the former Southampton man is arguably the best signing of the window for United but also somewhat accurate. He was one of the most impressive performers at Old Trafford last season and promises to do the screening job Michael Carrick does – he may not have Carrick’s range of passing, but, he has a greater energy. Having been crying out for a player with these capabilities, United fans will finally see what they’ve been missing. HIT
Overall: There are more hits than misses, but just as many undecided as hits, and that sort of sums up where Louis van Gaal is at the moment. At the end of this season we’ll know how well the huge financial gamble has paid off – the Reds cannot afford for this level of investment to not reflect in a serious title challenge (well, they probably can, but in terms of justifying the expense). You get the impression that much rides on those ‘undecideds’.