In the most recently concluded transfer window, we witnessed Ed Woodward’s Manchester United purchasing three top-tier players. This came as a surprise, considering former manager Louis Van Gaal’s verbal battering of the ownership structure at United and Woodward’s financial-based approach.
The three new recruits for the Red Devils are :
- Daniel James
- Aaron Wan-Bissaka
- Harry Maguire
So far, Manchester United have had only 4 Premier League matches – Chelsea, Wolves, Palace and Southampton. Although the results have not been in United’s favour except for the game against Chelsea, but from what we’ve witnessed these past few games, it’s fair to say that we can expect a lot from every single one of these promising players.
1. Daniel James
Daniel James has been phenomenal these past few games for Manchester United, producing absolute bits of wonder in all of the games with the most memorable being his wonderful top-bin goal against Southampton. He clearly outshone all his teammates in that particular match and was also among the top performers in the other matches.
At his previous club, Swansea, he was nothing short of exceptional. This 21-year-old deserves to be called a prodigy and it is highly doubtful that he will be a short term wonder-kid.
Something we see very commonly at United is the team performing well throughout the field and lacking right at the end – when it comes to converting the build-up into a goal. This is exactly why James is perfect for Manchester United.
He’s a ruthless goal scoring machine with an excellent game sense and positioning. Very often, we see Pogba, Lingard and Rashford lacking in these areas. Despite all three being crucial when it comes to the build-up towards the goal, they fumble at the very end.
James could become to United what Ronaldo was to Real Madrid earlier – that crucial convertor with a sharp eye for goal. Having a player like James opens up United’s avenues to be able to employ the Target-Man tactic when required as well. The only thing United should be wary about is other clubs eager to buy out young talents like Daniel James.
2. Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Aaron Wan-Bissaka is proving to be the perfect right-back for a 4-2-3-1 formation – a winger expected to be both up and down the wings throughout the course of the match. So far, he has executed some great tackles under pressurizing situations and has been pivotal in playing the ball up in a composed manner rather than just clearing it.
Manchester United, currently, is in such a state where they are still trying to figure out the perfect formation and tactics that would benefit the team. Even though used to Palace’s usual 4-4-3 line-up last season, we saw Wan-Bissaka seamlessly adapt to his new team and style in no time at all. A player in defence who is this versatile helps Manchester United in a considerable way, as they can always rely on a right-back with a great understanding of his role.
In the 18/19 season, we witnessed Valencia coming under a lot of fire for a large number of slip-ups on the defensive right-wing. To be fair, the entire United defence was extremely disorganised and every player was at fault.
However, with the arrival of Wan-Bissaka and taking into account his previous performance at Palace, it is safe to say that his style of play and his decision making ability will come in very handy for Manchester United in the upcoming season.
3. Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire recently made history by becoming the most expensive defender in the world. This massive price tag has set a large number of critics eyeing on his performances. His performance over the past 4 games has not been exceptional, neither has it been completely disappointing.
Judging from his tenure at Leicester, he just hasn’t really had a breakout game as of yet. His defending against Chelsea was definitely his best for the Red Devils. On the other hand, his defending against Palace was sloppy and disappointing, with him making a rookie mistake.
Looking comparatively at United’s centre-backs from last season, we can see that there was barely any defensive coordination at all. However, with Lindelof and Maguire at the back, though we do see some basic mistakes, what is more important is that there is now excellent coordination in the entire back-line. Maguire has led and organised the defence to a great extent. They are able to play the ball out and start the attack from right at the back now.
It must be kept in mind that he cannot be fully judged based only on these past few games and that there is no reason at all to lose confidence in his defensive abilities. He has proved his worth at Leicester and in the coming games, will definitely leave his mark in a red shirt as well. After all, would the defence be as organised as it currently is without him?
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Solskjaer’s Recruitment Policy
Analysing all of United’s potential transfer targets as well as these new recruits, it’s clear that Solskjaer is trying to slowly eliminate all the weak points that the team earlier struggled with. Conversion and defence seemed to be the biggest problem and that resulted in the arrival of James, Wan-Bissaka and Maguire.
It must be noted that Jose Mourinho’s potential transfer targets included Maguire, which was rejected by the Manchester United board. It came as a great relief that the three new recruits were approved by the board. Although a massive revamp was expected, it seems to be a positive start given the earlier state of chaos when Van Goal and Mourinho were managing the club.
Could these three new recruits prove to be the players that United always needed?
We won’t have to wait much longer to find out!