Saturday 20 January 2018

£250m and counting: Van Gaal gets green light to add to Manchester United squad in transfer window

Louis van Gaal, manager of Manchester United walks to the bench
Louis van Gaal, manager of Manchester United walks to the bench

Tom Sheen

The Manchester United hierarchy have given the green light for more heavy spending in the January transfer window, according to various reports.

Louis van Gaal has presided over the worst run of results in December in the club's 138-year history, failing to win in any of the six matches played last month.

United are without a win in their last eight in total, a run of form that has seen them slip to sixth in the Premier League, nine points behind leaders Arsenal, crash out of the Champions League and score just five goals.

But despite spending more than £250million during his 18 months at Old Trafford, Van Gaal will be given more cash in a bid to sign the players needed to improve results.

Attacking players, particularly a striker, remain the primary target, with Everton's Romelu Lukaka and Felipe Anderson of Lazio linked in recent days - a number of players have been linked with the club in the last few weeks.

Van Gaal's summer business has been heavily criticised, with the performances of Memphis Depay especially under the microscope, while Anthony Martial has cooled considerably after a great start.

Exacerbating that problem has been the performances of players sold by the club ahead of the season; Nani has six goals for Fenerbahce, Angel Di Maria has six for Paris Saint-Germain and Javier Hernandez has just been named Bundesliga player of the month for the second time in a row - he has 19 goals in 22 matches for Bayer Leverkusen.

No United player has more than four goals in the Premier League this season, while club captain Wayne Rooney has just two and missed a crucial late chance to win the match against Chelsea on Monday.

The depth of United's squad has also come into question, injuries have played there part but Van Gaal has had to turn to the likes of Nick Powell, Guillermo Varela, Jesse Lingard, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Andreas Pereira during crucial matches.

Ashley Young, one of Van Gaal's few true success stories, has been stuck at full-back for large parts of the season.

The Dutchman remained defiant during a press conference on New Year's Eve.

"When you don’t count December, 2015 was a very good year," said Van Gaal. "But you can’t do that, because a year has 12 months.

"Our problem is not to dominate, but to score. Goals are the most important thing. There is no magic. It’s looking at what has happened and what can improve, as a team but also as individuals.

"This is not the first club where I have had a bad period. I’ve had bad periods at all my clubs, but I have to say the best fans are here."

Independent News Service

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