Six players in, 13 out – it has been a summer of significant transition at Manchester United. Out went the experience of Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidić. So too the former promise of Nani, Shinji Kagawa, Chicharito, and Danny Welbeck. Not to mention misfits Alexander Büttner, Bebé, Federico Macheda, Wilfried Zaha and Tom Cleverley.
In the dozen’s stead came Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw for around £60 million before the summer’s World Cup and then Marcos Rojo, Angel Di Maria, Daley Blind and striker Falcao in the final week of the window. Upwards of £150 million was spent in total in a splurge not witness by United supporters in the club’s long history.
Indeed, not only has United brought in – for the most part – proven quality but a balanced selection of players too: left-back, centre-back, defensive midfielder, attacking midfielder and forward. Yet, the side is probably an experienced central defender and world-class box-to-box midfielder short of making a title challenge – a year on from finishing seventh in the Premier League.
The rapid evolution renders any prediction of United’s performance this season problematic. Quality was eventually acquired over the summer, but presumably it will take time to bed in. After all, while the club has brought in ‘world-class’ Louis van Gaal as manager, United has just two points from the opening three Premier League games. It begs the question of quite why the club spent so much, so very late in the window.