Louis van Gaal ready to tear up Manchester United squad before transfer deadline
The fabric of the side is changing rapidly, with Aston Villa and Hull both keen to take the struggling Tom Cleverley as the club seeks a new defensive midfielder
The Manchester United manager, Louis van Gaal, has warned that the club cannot expect an immediate “miracle” from the club’s new British record signing Angel Di Maria, as he admitted that he will have torn up the squad he inherited by the time the transfer window closes on Monday.
“You have to work for the miracle and he knows that,” the Dutchman said of Di Maria, when the £59.7m Argentine was presented as United’s new No 7 at Old Trafford. “I hope he shall give us good results but we cannot expect after two days’ training session that he is the miracle that I am already reading about.”
Van Gaal disclosed that, in a conversation with his players after lunch, he had told them that the group could be radically different by Monday. “I said, maybe after this weekend we shall have another group because players shall go away and others shall come in.” He also indicated a fear that United are being quoted inflated prices.
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The likely fabric of the side is changing rapidly, with Aston Villa and Hull City both keen to take the midfielder Tom Cleverley, whose struggle to make any headway is the backdrop to United’s pursuit of a defensive midfielder. Cleverley had resolved to stay until out of contract at the end of the season but may be tempted by a fresh start.
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A loan deal taking Shinji Kagawa back to Borussia Dortmund is also now on the cards, while Valencia and Juventus are fighting it out for Javier Hernandez. United may use the Italian side’s interest in Hernandez to strike a deal for Juve’s midfielder Arturo Vidal, though they will need to be sure that Vidal’s knee problem does not present a complication in the future.
Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley is wanted by both Aston Villa and Hull City (Getty Images)
Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho is also under consideration, though that will not stop the Portuguese team playing him in their crunch domestic league opener against Benfica at the weekend.
The futures of Danny Welbeck, Anders Lindegaard and Anderson are also in doubt while Wilfried Zaha has returned to Crystal Palace on a season-long loan. But the prospects of Welbeck staying would be greater if Hernandez leaves, as United would be left with only three experienced strikers.
Van Gaal hinted, 48 hours after United suffered a Capital One Cup second-round hammering at MK Dons, that the job he has taken on is bigger than he thought. “But that is looking at the past,” he said. “That is a question that I don’t want to answer. Why? Because I want to show my respect to David Moyes and Mr [Alex] Ferguson. I think we have to look to the future and that we are doing now, but restoring and rebuilding a new team. That costs time. I am sorry to say that.”
Van Gaal insisted, though, that his defenders were good enough to handle the demands on them in his new, three-man back line. “I think that we have no problem when the opponent has the ball because we have defended very well,” he said.
“We don’t give any chances away or less. [Goalkeeper] David De Gea has [had] two or three balls [to save] in a game. But our problem is that when we have the ball and have to build up the play and that we have to improve. I don’t think our defence is weak. Our build-up is still not good enough. We shall improve that and that will take time.”
Van Gaal detailed a total of 10 injuries, with Ander Herrera’s ankle problem keeping him out of the side to face Burnley on Saturday and Kagawa recovering from the concussion he suffered during the MK Dons debacle.
The Belgian national manager, Marc Wilmots, has said that Marouane Fellaini will play not football for two to three weeks. Marcos Rojo appears unlikely to play at Turf Moor because his pursuit of a work permit has taken him to the Argentinian embassy in Madrid.
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