How ready are we to mount a challenge to win the Premier League? With just 4 days to go till kick off against Tottenham, how does our team look? It seems that Woodward and Van Gaal have been busy packing our midfield to bursting point – at this moment in time, we have Carrick, Herrera, Fellaini, Mata, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Lingaard and Pereira.
Yet, like other fans, I’m worried we still seem quite bereft in the areas most needed.
The De Gea saga rumbles on, Sergio Romero is untried and untested in the Premier League (we saw how De Gea struggled in his first season), and then we have Victor Valdes – now out of favour with Van Gaal, who seems to make more enemies than Sep Blatter. Finally, there is Sam Johnstone, who had a decent pre-season, but he is surely not ready for consistent first team action.
In defence, we have Valencia – a right winger turned right back – and our new signing Matteo Darmian, an exciting young Italian, good enough for the national team debuting against England in their 2014 World Cup victory. Nevertheless, he has been told by the manager that he will be second choice behind Valencia, which can’t be doing his confidence much good.
At centre-back, we have Jones, Smalling, Rojo and Evans (who may soon be off to Everton), and possibly Blind, who was tested in this position during the US tour. At left-back, we have Shaw, Rojo, Blackett or Blind; both Jones and Shaw seem to be quite injury prone, which means we could once again see United struggle to field a consistent back four. With no offers as yet to Valencia for the much-lauded Otamendi, and with Sergio Ramos now settling into his new contract and captain’s armband after using us as a stalking horse, it seems we have learned little from chasing the unobtainable until it’s too late.
Up front, we have Rooney and maybe Memphis, a speedy and talented left winger, who might just force Young back onto the bench. His goal-scoring exploits last season at PSV were the fruits of free role, something that Di Maria wasn’t afforded, so where will he fit in?
Finally there is James Wilson, but is he really the 20-goal panacea Van Gaal is looking for? Or will Januzaj finally break through and show the eye for goal that he has shown in the under-21s as a forward player?
How do we look to take on the might of a virtually settled Chelsea? Falcao may have been a bizarre signing given his struggles last season, but otherwise they look strong in all areas of the squad.
What about a strengthened Arsenal? How did they manage to get Petr Čech, who may just prove to be their Van De Sar?
City are maybe the only other contenders with comparable questions over their defence to United.
As for Liverpool, I’m not too sure about them challenging for fourth – I think their manager is their problem, but I wonder why we didn’t make an offer for Benteke?
Despite the midfield finally getting the attention it has desperately needed for so long, it feels like yet another disappointing transfer window so far, unless by some miracle we sign world class centre backs and a world class striker in the next month or so.
I hope it all comes good – we need a successful year after the last two if we are to harbour any hopes of repeating the glory of the Ferguson era.