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Utd must spend big

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1 Utd must spend big on 18th August 2014, 1:13 pm


Manchester United MUST spend big ... their
top-four hopes depend on it
defeat to Swansea City could be a blessing in
disguise, with Louis van Gaal needing to splash
the cash on his squad before the window closes
18 Aug 2014 10:00:00
By Greg Stobart
Manchester United's
summer has been sprinkled
with smug boasts. The
record kit deals, boardroom
hubris about financial
firepower, a couple of
meaningless friendly victories in pre-season.
With a world-class manager now in charge in Louis
van Gaal, the old United were back. Even a
significant portion of the club's fanbase got sucked
in by the hype. Yet the feelgood factor of winning
the oh-so-prestigious International Champions Cup
has swiftly evaporated.
The reality check landed with a thud on Saturday
lunchtime as United lost their Premier League
opener at home to Swansea City.
The performance was positively Moyesian. The team
was disjointed, players were out of position and did
not seem to understand their tactical instructions,
attacks were laboured and predictable.
After just 90 minutes of football this season, any
suggestion that United are ready to challenge again
for the title seems laughable.
How can they have any chance when they are
starting the campaign with Phil Jones, Chris Smalling
and Tyler Blackett as their three-man defence?
Top four and a return to the Champions League
should be the top target - the only target - for Van
Gaal this season as United look to recover from the
disaster of the David Moyes era.
As much of a
blow as the
Swansea defeat
might be, it was
exactly what they
needed. It was a
kick up the
backside to the
Glazer family and
executive vice-
chairman Ed
The word
'humblebrag' was
added to the
English dictionary
last week but,
with Van Gaal and Woodward running the show, it
will never be used in the context of Manchester
Woodward crowed earlier in the summer that
United can afford to break the world transfer
record, gloated that they are the greatest club on
the planet despite the fact that they are not even in
Europe this season.
Yet with a squad that required major surgery,
Woodward has done nothing in the transfer market
since June, when he spent around £60 million to
sign Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera. It is ridiculous
that United should start the season with such a
weak and unbalanced squad, particularly after
Woodward blundered throughout last summer.
As United search for two central defenders, a
holding midfielder and a wide man, Woodward is
likely to get his pants pulled down by selling clubs
that know the Red Devils are now desperate.
It is his own fault, but Woodward has to do
whatever he can to provide Van Gaal with a squad
capable of clinching a place in the Champions
There is an obvious comparison to Arsenal's
humbling defeat to Aston Villa on the first day of
last season. After the team were booed off and
supporters planned protests, the Gunners
responded with the club record signing of Mesut
Ozil from Real Madrid.
Ozil's arrival changed the whole atmosphere around
the club - within the squad and in the stands - and
Arsenal comfortably finished in the top four, having
been title contenders for much of the campaign.
United need something similar because Van Gaal's
arrival alone is not enough.
They must do whatever it takes now, even if it
means overspending. If Woodward can buy
Marouane Fellaini for £4m more than his release
clause, then he can swallow his pride and throw
whatever money it takes to sign a top talent like
Angel Di Maria or Juan Cuadrado.
The panic is evident in the deal agreed for a good
but uninspiring defender in Marcos Rojo from
Potuguese club Sporting Lisbon . United will spend
£16m on the Argentine defender while subsidising
most of Nani's wages as he returns to his former
club on loan.
It is a bad deal for United but that hardly matters
anymore. They need the bodies in. If they didn't
realise it before the weekend, they do now.
A new manager and tactics was never going to be
enough to 'repair' a team who finished seventh in
the Premier League last season, 22 points off the
United need to respond in the final two weeks of
the transfer window with some meaningful signings.
Then they might get their swagger back on the pitch
and mount a genuine challenge for the top four.

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