At 12am on July 1st, the British transfer window will open officially.
By then many moves will be all but complete, only necessitating fresh ink on weeks old paper.
The summer transfer window always incites a magnificent flurry of player movement, with news about the beautiful game being consumed at pornographic levels on the world wide web.
Invariably, there is always one club set to make the most ruckus – typically a club recently infused with deep pockets that is coming off a difficult campaign.
Just like last year, that team is Manchester United.
Louis Van Gaal’s revolution was an unmitigated disaster until grossly superior talent allowed the red devils to sputter into fourth place, guaranteeing them a qualifying spot in the UEFA Champions League. [Editor’s note: given their performance against even the meekest of sides, their place in Europe’s elite competition is not assured just yet]
The Dutchman brought in an extravagant amount of talent with mixed results. Ultimately there were more flops than success stories, but the freshly motivated Old Guard scrapped for their spot in the first team, even if it meant in radically different roles (see Valencia, Antonin – winger turned full-back extraordinaire or Michael Carrick, the fixture in England’s midfield who became United’s best central defender).
As “The World’s Biggest Club” tries to make a run at the top of the English Premier League table and make noise in Europe, here are the figures who are most likely switching kits this summer.
OUT – David De Gea (GK)
The Man brought in to stand between the post for a decade is leaving for greener pastures this summer. He’s the best Spanish goalkeeper alive so common sense dictates he is destined to supplant the long tenured St. Iker Casillas at Real Madrid. It’s happening. Mark it down.
IN – Asmir Begović (GK)
Stoke’s Bosnian shot blocker isn’t LVG’s ideal number one, but he’s a good contingency plan and will serve as great competition for the criminally overrated Victor Valdes. The incomparable Petr Cech and Hugo Lloris are waiting in the wings, but neither are tipped to participate in year two of Van Gaal’s futvolling revolution just yet.
IN – Mats Hummels (CB)
Hummels proved his class in Germany’s World Cup campaign, often proving himself to be the difference maker as he marked the best players on the planet with the ease of a seasoned vet. He’s on the market and United need central defenders as badly as FIFA needs a PR strategy. Many are shocked he didn’t make it to Old Trafford sooner.
OUT – Falcao (ST)
Falcao’s tenure was badly mismanaged, netting only 4 times in all competitions during one of the most expensive loan spells in the history of the sport. He’s heading to Chelsea to replace the departing Didier Drogba, and has nowhere to go but up.
IN – Morgan Schneiderlin (CM)
The rising star at the heart of Southhampton’s gritty campaign will provide a much needed defensive presence in United’s midfield, and should pair brilliantly with Ander Herrera and/or Daly Blind. If he can be secured at a reasonable price (£25 million or less) this signing could be the coup of the lot.
OUT – Robin van Persie (ST)
After an injury plagued season that also saw the Dutchman fall out with his compatriot, United are dangling the once great Robin van Persie to the highest bidder before he is truly damaged goods. With Chicarito’s return queued and Rooney’s recent prolific streak up top, LVG won’t be losing sleep over van Persie’s departure.
IN – Nicolás Gaitán (Attacking Midfielder)
The Argentine may not crack into the starting XI by the time August rolls around in Old Trafford, but he clearly has been scouted to serve a specific purpose as he leaves behind a successful tenure at Benfica. At 27 it may be a difficult investment to justify if he doesn’t break through, but United has proved they have deep enough pockets to eat big costs when a signing flops.
Despite rumors to the contrary, Angel Di Maria is set to stay in hopes that he can rejuvenate his Old Trafford tenure. So will Juan Mata and likely Nani.
Hummels and Schneiderlin will fill gaping holes, but United may not be able to make up for the ground lost by De Gea’s departure unless they can lure Lloris or Cech to Old Trafford.
If the above holds, this very well may be the XI that LVG goes to war with in August (3-4-1-2):
GK: Victor Valdes
RB: Antonin Valencia
CB: Mats Humels
LB: Luke Shaw
CDM: Morgan Schniederlin
CDM: Ander Herrera*
LM: Ashley Young*
RM: Angel Di Maria
CAM: Marouane Fellaini
ST: Wayne Rooney*
ST: Javier Hernandez*
*Started first EPL match for Manchester United in 2014 (2-1 loss to Swansea)