EPL: Vintage United side taking shape

EPL: Vintage United side taking shape
STAR-STUDDED: Man United have signed Memphis Depay.
PHOTO: Reuters

Louis van Gaal's list of star acquisitions at Manchester United continues to grow, after he added Bastian Schweinsteiger to the Old Trafford roster yesterday.

All that is left is for the Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder to pass a medical and agree personal terms for him to be a Red Devil.

This looks like another coup for United, after they signed promising Dutch winger Memphis Depay for a reported fee of £25 million ($52.4m) last month and also recently acquired Italian fullback Matteo Darmian for £13m from Torino.

And the club aren't stopping chasing the big names just yet and it appears the Glazers are fully behind van Gaal in terms of financial support.

Thomas Mueller remains another highly prized target, and the addition of long-time teammate Schweinsteiger couldn't have done their chances of capturing the £60m-rated German and Bayern Munich forward any harm.

If the United team of 2014/15 were one of transition, in van Gaal's debut campaign, then their prospects for the upcoming campaign is beginning to look very promising.

The Old Trafford faithful must increasingly be relishing the kick-off.

They see a squad bursting with talent and they sense a potential Dutch masterpiece at the end of it all.

Not since the Cristiano Ronaldo-led United vintage of 2007/08 has there been a team sheet of such menace.

BEST PARTNERSHIP

That was when Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in central defence were the Premiership's best partnership, when Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez worked a terrifying storm up front in tandem, while an upstoppable Ronaldo glided in from the flanks like a sorcerer.

That was the year they clinched the Premier League and Champions League double, pummelling Chelsea to submission on both fronts. That was Sir Alex Ferguson's last great United side, even if he did go on to win more honours before he retired in 2013.

With the signing of Schweinsteiger, 30, reportedly for a fee of around £14m, United have solved the troublesome issue of finding a successor to Michael Carrick in the middle of the park.

Depay, if he lives up to his promise, will give them the attacking edge they lacked last term.

Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young's unexpectedly fantastic performances in the last campaign suggest they can be relied upon even as starters.

While it seemed as if Angel di Maria was on his way out after a shocking run of form in the second half of last season, the attacking star's form for Argentina at the Copa America and some hints from him that he has unfinished business as a United player could be music to the ears of his Dutch master.

All that possibly remains is to keep hold of star goalkeeper David de Gea and secure a top signing to beef up a central defence that still looks average.

Transfer target Sergio Ramos, with a price tag of anywhere between £30m and £60m, looks like United's magic bullet.

If the Red Devils can at least ensure de Gea stays away from the clutches of Real Madrid, the United side will definitely have a champions look about them.

Don't bet against van Gaal pulling it off.

garylim@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on July 12, 2015.
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