We have said before that, as long as Louis van Gaal resembles a man who knows what he is doing, he can expect continued patience from the Manchester United faithful.
But recent performances and results have hinted at a team without an obvious direction.
In the first half of the season Manchester United’s results were, to a degree, vindicated by a lengthy injury list. But now that Louis has a full squad to pick from there can be no excuses for these constant, substandard performances.
Even a manager of this ability and standing in the game seems to be scratching his head at times for answers to the conundrum.
And his latest public utterances could suggest that he thinks a midfielder may be even more of a priority than a defender.
Asked if Rooney was being played in midfield out of necessity Louis is quoted in The Guardian as saying:
“Of course that’s the case. I’m looking for balance and I need it in midfield. The last games I played with Adnan Januzaj and Ángel Di María in the midfield positions. Then you need a certain balance for those kind of creative players. So when you have these creative players and you think that [Radamel] Falcao and [Robin] van Persie are also creative, then you have four creative players. Then you have to look for balance in your team.”
We agree that there is something missing from the heart of this Manchester United team. Too often the midfield is bypassed completely by the defence and there rarely appear to be sufficient options in there. Many believe that Ander Herrera is the perfect solution to link defence and attack, but the boss clearly isn’t completely convinced by his qualities – or his aptitude for this particular role at least – at present.
At Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers already appears to have compensated for the impending departure of Steven Gerrard with the excellent Jordan Henderson and Emre Can – real characters who can boss a game. But, almost inconceivably, Manchester United are arguably still looking for true successors to their golden generation of Roy Keane and Paul Scholes. Michael Carrick is the only player who has even approached their standard on a regular basis over the last five years.
Overall, we should expect another huge outlay from Manchester United in the summer as they look to invest in several more areas of their team.