Blockbusters are a generally interesting concept, as can be witnessed at cinemas on a regular basis. A film is about to be released and those who consider themselves connoisseurs of the scene would have been stimulated by the film-makers well in advance of the actual release. The use of merchandise and marketing collateral becomes a critical factor and those who promote the ‘Blockbuster of the Summer’ pretty much know exactly which buttons to push.
Similar things have been happening at Manchester United recently. With the introduction of self-proclaimed super-manager Louis van Gaal and the addition of blockbuster signings such as Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao last summer, the expectations at Old Trafford hit some incredible heights. Supporters had witnessed an underwhelming Premier League campaign just before the arrival of these new superstars and were keen to avoid a repeat. The purchases turned the summer into a scene of excitement of sorts and as such, Manchester United connoisseurs were ready to be treated to great football. However, just like the last Godzilla remake, the season turned out to be less exciting and somewhat disappointing, with United struggling to excite the crowd and compete with the better teams in the league.
In the end, the team just about managed to achieve the minimum, namely fourth place, securing potential participation in the upcoming Champions League campaign. Consequently, the club made several statements confirming their intention to invest heavily yet again this summer. The fear for many was that Manchester United might turn into a copy of Real Madrid, investing for the sake of commercial success. With the increased pressure of record income from sponsorship agreements, this fear is only set to become more present, as big sponsors might expect big names, not just big success.
Nevertheless and despite the above mentioned pressure, the club made a great start to the transfer window and with the imminent transfer of defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, management seem to have addressed real areas of concern, at least thus far. With an aging Michael Carrick and an Ander Herrera, who might be a different type of player, the holding midfielder position has been one of the greatest concerns at Old Trafford for years. The French international has been one of the most impressive performers in that position, so one issue seems addressed.
In addition to this, Dutch winger Memphis Depay’s decision to move to Old Trafford from Dutch champions PSV looks like another on-point transfer, with the team struggling for width at times last season. Depay will add excitement and a more attack-minded approach to the team’s and LvG’s philosophy. Essentially, both players will help make United’s game more fluent and threatening at the same time.
What is arguably still needed at Old Trafford is a central defender, a right back and a striker, and one should hope that the likes of Sergio Ramos are not real targets, as the team really need improvement in these areas, rather than big names. As such, it is a surprise that Nathaniel Clyne for example, seems to have ended up at Liverpool and not further east. It will be interesting to see the footballers that are in the frame at Manchester United, but players such as Alexandre Lacazette or Shkodran Mustafi for instance, would be real problem-solvers without the price tags of superstars.