Robin van Persie will miss Manchester United’s season-opening bow against Swansea City, one of eight players announced as out by manager Louis van Gaal.
Big-money signing Luke Shaw will also be out for the Red Devils, joining a list that includes Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, Rafael, Danny Welbeck, Jonny Evans and Sam Johnstone.
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That means either Reece James or Ashley Young will be starting out wide, a fact that will cause some concern for supporters already angry at chairman Ed Woodward for a lack of activity in the transfer market (though it’s worth noting fans were mad at David Moyes more than Woodward last year).
And Red Devils legends Paul Scholes is among those saying that United’s fate hinges on players more than the “mad genius” of van Gaal:
“I’m sure he [Van Gaal] would have liked to have signed more players,” the ex-England international said. “He’s not managed to do that yet. Are the players out there available?
“People still want to play for United. It’s huge. You get the chance to win the Premier League, but possibly not this year if they don’t make any signings.”
One has to wonder how quickly LVG will face pressure if he doesn’t land names before the end of the window, and the team looks anything like the group that struggled — on a relative scale — last season. Marcos Rojo has said he wants to come, while some reports say a move for Arturo Vidal hinger on van Gaal’s concerns of fitness.