Van Gaal Is Digging His Own Grave…

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Summing Up The Mood
United have gone from Pedro to Mane?
My desk has gone from upright to upside down!
Stokey-Boy – work aren’t happy

Longer United Thoughts
First things first, I wasn’t overly concerned whether we signed Pedro or not. He is a very good player with fantastic experience but, with other areas needing addressing, it didn’t seem like a signing that would make a big difference on our league position. However, allowing Chelsea to sign him is criminal as this is an area they needed to strengthen after watching Cuadrado and Ramires last weekend. So now, not only has a rival improved, we are wasting time trying to buy Mane who is definitely not an upgrade on Pedro.
There are perfectly legitimate reasons for not signing Pedro – spending on other areas and trusting Mata, Young, Memphis and Januzaj on the wings – but why spend all summer flirting with him and negotiating over a reasonable fee. It screams that the player doesn’t either want to come or, more worryingly, that we didn’t have the cash to pay up front including a signing on bonus and agent fee. Add this to our baffling goalkeeper situation in which Van Gaal refuses to include 3 keepers in match day squads leaving us with only a new signing and youth player available. 2 weeks to sell 3 and buy one is just reckless, especially as it would probably be Cillessen who isn’t world class and whose price is surely rising by the day.
Signing a world class Striker and Centre back is very difficult this summer so I have a little sympathy with our lack of action on this front. However, there seems to be too much of a need for this player to be a marquee signing rather than realistic options that don’t break the bank. Instead of Ramos maybe we should be looking at Gimenez and instead of Muller maybe Alacazer. Our brief interest in Kane was absurd given he is Spurs’ only striker, loves the club and they have a chairman famed for his negotiating skills.
It all just seems panicked and this need for ready made talent with a big name didn’t work particularly well with Falcao and Di Maria last season. Can’t help but feel we’re better off trying to develop young talent willing to buy into our style of play especially with Van Gaal at the helm.
Yudi MUFC, Wales

Van Gaal Digging His Own Grave
The Pedro situation is just another indication of how deep the grave LVG
has been digging for himself since May. After an average first season,
it looked like United had finally constructed the base for a recovery
and back to challenging for the title and good runs in Europe. Instead,
transfer shenanigans (De Gea, Di Maria, RVP, Rafael to name a few) has
clouded United the entire summer and I feel that should United not
finish in the top two or win a trophy – he may just be asked to leave.
For all the United supporters who wrote in about how Pedro was never any
good anyway, who would you prefer behind Rooney – a trio of Depay. Mata
and Pedro or Young, Mata and Depay?
F365 and everyone else have rightly pointed out Rooney’s form and how
United desperately need a striker but that’s not going to work out.
Simply because LVG is a stubborn old man who will not change his
formation or his personnel unless injuries hit the squad. Everyone can
see that Rooney is quite hopeless as a lone forward and he is woefully
out of form. Problem is that he is the captain and even if United were
to buy a world class striker like Ibra or Benzema – LVG would probably
shoehorn him into the 3 behind him rather than play with 2 up front.
Worse still, he’d probably ask Rooney to drop back to midfield and it
would be 2013 all over again.
United should beat Brugge and progress to the group stages. Once that is
done, I feel that rotating the squad is the only way to get the best out
of Rooney. With the base of the 4-2-3-1 being chosen from the trio of
Carrick, Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin, it would be good to see
Herrera and Fellaini play with Chicharito up front for “easier” games. A
rest might even do wonders for Rooney and may just help him recover some
of his form.
I can’t believe that our plan B is to stick Fellaini up front and aim at
his head. I’m sure there are better ways to break down 10 man defences.

United’s Inflated Sense Of Self-Worth
Watching Manchester United, I can zero down most of their problems to one thing – a completely inflated sense of self worth.
Look at the Pedro affair for example. Apparently United ‘pulled out of the deal’, which is hogwash that their management generates and their players and fans lap up. This, despite it being much more likely that it was Pedro who changed his mind. Even if the United were beaten because Chelsea offered a slightly bigger transfer fee, the speed with which Pedro jumped at the Chelsea opportunity should alarm United – if he really preferred United, he would have pushed for it, and Barca would have relented, seeing as the difference in bids was just a couple of million. With a player like Pedro, another big club was always likely to compete – why didn’t United have a backup plan? Because of their ego.
Other examples point to the same thing. Any new player or manager joining United seems to want to say he is joining ‘the biggest club in the world’. And yet the players at this self-proclaimed ‘biggest club in the world’ want to move to the real biggest clubs in the world – Real Madrid and Barcelona. And it is not as if they want to move because of lack of first team opportunities – they want to move because they have ambition. And in such cases, United seem to think they can hold on to their players and not create any contingency plan.
And yet, United’s lack of status in world football is very visible. The lack of attraction of playing for United is not limited to De Gea or Pedro or Thiago Silva. They have failed to convince players like Fabregas, Aguero and Silva (and it was not because of salaries – United have always been one of the best salary paying teams in the world). Forget being the ‘biggest club in the world’, United need to make an effort to be the biggest club in Manchester.
Such an inflated sense of self at the club causes several issues:
– It makes the club try and hold on to players like De Gea, which causes the team to be unsettled at the start of the new season
– Wasting time and resources targeting players clearly beyond their reach (Fabregas one year too early and Thomas Muller now for example)
The best thing would be for the club to smell the coffee and understand its true status in world football – it is a top 4 club in England and no more. If they accept this and look at a more gradual route to the top, given the vast piles of money they already have, they will probably have a better chance of getting where they want to be.

What’s The Difference Between Valdes And De Gea
The steely-balled one alleges that De Gea asked not to play the first league game of the year. De Gea, for the first and only time of the summer, approached the press to say that was not true. Considering De Gea’s utter professionalism and impeachable integrity throughout the transfer window, I think even hardcore United fans know who is telling the truth here.
This of course opens a can of worms, doesn’t it? The other United keeper, Valdes, claims that Mr. Philosophy disrespected him when he suggested that Valdes refused to play a reserves game. Again for all the Van Gaal apologists out there, who claim to have insider knowledge, how about at least telling us which game Valdes allegedly refused to play?
The knock on effect of this of course is that Pedro, a close friend of both De Gea and Valdes, has chosen Chelsea over United, despite Woodward travelling to Barcelona to close the deal. Yet it will be Woodward who will carry the blame.
How long will it take until the penny finally drops for Van Gaal fanboys before they realise the ego of this man far exceeds United’s hopes for success?
Sean (LFC)

On Carrick’s Form
United’s Champions League foray on Tuesday led to a lot of positives, but for me there was a nagging negative. The form of Michael Carrick; Watching him over the years it is obvious to me that his best position is to sit in-front of the back four, and pick out passes(as something of a Pirlo), and he has been United’s best midfielder when fit (admittedly from a poor group). But United seem to do a lot better with him in that position. But, this season he hasn’t yet completed a single game (and I can’t really say he deserved to as Schweinsteiger comes on and almost always betters what he does).
This season, LVG has deployed him in a different sort of position, where he goes and presses opponents, and tries to get on the ball further forward and make things happen(he’s 34 and not used to running so much!), and the position formerly his is played by Schneiderlin (who undoubtedly does a very effective job, but doesn’t have the forward passing ability that Carrick does), so I don’t understand why isn’t LVG playing Carrick in his most favorable position, along with Schweinsteiger (he’s vocal leader we need on the pitch). Then when one of them comes off, Schneiderlin can come in and tighten things up (that is obviously if we aren’t chasing a game).
I hope LVG reads this mail, cos am sick and tired if watching Carrick being substituted every game.
Soumalya, MUFC

Romero: Not That Great
Ted, Manchester (a contributor I agree with the majority of the time) suggested yesterday afternoon that “Romero also looks a good signing” to which I politely reply: no, he absolutely f**king does not.
As pointed out by his Royal Storeyness in the match report; United’s impressive defensive record since November last year is largely thanks to the heroics of David De Gea, who at times last season was frankly superhuman. Romero on the other hand appears more Taibi than DDG; he looks like a lost child with the ball at his feet, his decision making seems to be based on, well, nothing in particular and his positioning at times is absurd (perfectly exhibited last night when Carrick turned home a nothing cross into a virtually empty net – where on Earth was he?).
Whilst I agree that the addition of a backup centre-forward and centre-back would be preferable, I would humbly suggest that the area between the sticks is United’s primary area of concern. Without a reasonable replacement for De Gea, United can bid farewell to that defensive record and can absolutely forget about a title challenge.
Wubblepig (Wherefore art thou, Romero?), Twickenham

Chapman Next MOTD Presenter
I watched Mark Chapman present MOTD2 Extra on Sunday and was quite impressed by his performance. He was constantly pushing the pundits to explain their position on the matters being discussed and was not simply nodding at their failure to disguise their stupidity (I’m looking at you, Danny Mills).
He looked so serious too (especially with his significant beard) instead of just permanently smiling as the BBC tries to be casual to the extent of utter blandness. If Lineker moves to BT full time, I think Gabby Logan would be an outstanding replacement for him at the BBC. But I think Chapman would be a serious contender.
Maybe I’m wrong. What do you think?
Jay, MUFC (I have we have decent presenters. It’s the pundits who stink.)

Has Owen Forgotten That He Was Good At Football?
Can someone remind Michael Owen that he was bloody brilliant at football? He fawns over Rooney in commentary in a way that suggests he was probably honoured to be on the bench and get a few minutes on the pitch with him while at United. He was going out of his way to praise him last night, and I think he’s forgotten he was world player of the year (I think?) and much better than old Wazza The Great One.
Rooney’s been functional for the last 6 years or so but he was never great like Owen was for a time. Remember that next time you laud Rooney’s throw-in technique please, Michael.
Silvio Dante

Mane: What A Joke
I’ll admit to having had a good chuckle (despite being a United fan) on the news that we’ve lost out on Pedro (22m) and have now made a bid of 15m for Mane.
The Saints have subsequently said we’d like 25m thank you very much. Couldn’t make this stuff up, what a joke….
Arsal, Edinburgh

Leigh Griffiths: The New Depay
Following Leigh Griffiths’ amazing exploits this evening, I’d like to put him forward as the new Maradona + Pele + Ronaldo + Memphis. I can’t believe there’s ever been a player who can match the heights he set tonight.
Take a bow, sir.
Rob, London