By, Kyle Gibson
It seems like Ed Woodward has finally found his wallet.
The Manchester United chairman has finally started to splash some much needed cash for players, to the tune of 60 million in the past two days. To make things even sweeter for Manchester United fans, Woodward, who has been receiving a wishlist from Brazil from Louis van Gaal, has signed two players that Manchester United needs.
The signings started with Ander Herrera, the central midfielder from Spain and Athletic Bilbao. Is Herrera the most attractive signing? Actually, no. He is more of a passer than a goal scorer (7 league goals in 94 Bilbao appearances) but United needs that passing ability. Herrera could probably replace Michael Carrick and help United to stay organized and set players up. While that’s not sexy, every team needs it.
Another reason I like the Herrera signing is the fact that Herrera paid up part of his buyout clause to Bilbao to join United. You can’t get a footballer to pay for anything besides fancy cars and champagne, so I think it’s a positive sign that someone would pay to join a team, even though I’m sure his wages will make-up the money he lost to join United.
Here’s a video with some really nice passes and (NFL DRAFT TERM ALERT) spacial awareness from Herrera.
Next, United went out and signed England left back and 18 year old former Southampton star Luke Shaw. This one has been rumored for a long time and it surprised me that there wasn’t more competition for Shaw’s services. I watched Southampton a lot this past year and Shaw played well beyond his years. If possible, Shaw was probably the calming presence of that back line, possessing leadership qualities that could one day make him England captain.
I can’t stress enough how important it is that United is FINALLY paying attention to the defense. I love Patrice Evra and his service to Manchester United, but he was nothing short of a liability at the back last year. Shaw won’t be able to aid in the attack like Evra, but hopefully more midfield purchases will ensure he won’t have to.
Shaw is a great start, but Woodward and van Gaal will have to continue building up the back line that faded into disrepair under Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes.
Also, fans are griping about the hefty price-tag for both players, but think about it like this: teams know that United is desperate now. The positional needs at many places and the pressure to sign means that teams can essentially hold United hostage on deals.
It’s not until the team starts winning again that the team can return to some of its real bargains of the past. With these two players, Manchester United has put itself back on the path to English Premier League success.
(P.S. Some shaky reports that United is lining up a bid for Juventus and Chile star Arturo Vidal. I will update when I’ve found solid sources.)