With Manchester United’s expensively assembled offense continuing to falter in front of goal, how can Louis Van Gaal fix it?
Ah, that’s right, Louis, throw a few more million at it.
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United sit fourth in the Premier League table after 12 games of the season, just two points off Manchester City and Arsenal who sit joint-top, but with just two goals scored in their last three games fans continue to chant “attack, attack, attack” during games as they want to see more from their team in the final third.
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On Saturday during their 2-0 win against West Bromwich Albion, United’s academy product Jesse Lingard stepped and put them ahead with his first goal for the club. Another winger, Memphis Depay, was on the bench and winger Ashley Young played right back. Anthony Martial continues to shine out wide, but van Gaal believes he needs to invest in a new winger in January.
Here’s what the Dutch manager had to say to the press after the game about adding new faces in January.
“I have said already in my first year many times we need speed and creativity on the wings,” van Gaal said. “You have seen that now we play with Jesse Lingard and he is not the most speedy winger in the world and Mata is also not the most speedy winger in the world. So first we must first finish that problem and then we can see how we have to play and how we are in balance with playing with speedy wingers.”
“It is also dependable on what I can buy. I want to buy a lot of players but not all the players I want are for sale. So there are a lot of factors in it.”
With Memphis clearly falling down the pecking order at Old Trafford after a slow start to his career in England, leading to natural central midfielders Juan Mata and Ander Herrera being shunted out wide, LVG seems hell-bent on adding pace in January. Who are the targets?
Southampton’s Senegalese winger Sadio Mane was a target for United during the last transfer window but with Saints valuing their star winger at $60 million, United may be put off a player who has only had a season and a bit in the Premier League. The Red Devils are consistently linked with the likes of Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, all of whom would cost well over $100 million if Real Madrid or Barcelona ever considered selling them, so when you look at the available wingers out there who could improved United right away, do they have much choice?
With Lingard, 22, finally getting a run in the team and delivering, surely LVG should hesitate on bringing in a new winger in January. However, as he enters 18 months in charge at United, the near $400 million he has spent on transfer fees for new players alone suggests otherwise. With their stout defense leading them to six-straight clean sheets in all competitions, the Red Devils smell success on the horizon. They want to try and take advantage of that and their manager believes a new winger can help in the quest to win their first piece of silverware since 2013 when Sir Alex Ferguson led them to the PL title and left in glory. United do need extra options in attack, but if they can’t upgrade in that area, there’s no need to buy.