Manchester United: Grading the Red Devils' Summer Transfers
Following a second place finish in the Premier League last season that saw the title ripped from their grip, Manchester United had an aggressive emphasis during this summer's transfer window to grab some of the best players in Europe.
Stars like Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie secured moves to Old Trafford, which made United the favorites to win the Premier League yet again.
Though players like Paul Pogba and Ji-Sung Park may have left, these incoming players provide plenty of potential for the Red Devils.
Altogether, United bought five players this summer. With the completion of the transfers for Angelo Henriquez and Alexander Buttner, Sir Alex Ferguson told The Guardian, "we [Manchester United] definitely won't be buying anyone else, that is for sure."
According to TransferMarkt, United spent slightly more than £52 million on Kagawa, van Persie, Buttner and Nick Powell. Though the price for Henriquez has not been announced, the Daily Mail has estimated that the Chilean striker's price is in the £4 million range.
Assuming that United have officially ended their work in the transfer window, here are my grades of each player United bought this summer.
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Transfer Price: Up to £6 million based on incentives, according to the BBC
Nick Powell burst onto the scene this past season for Crewe Alexandra, leading the side in goals with 16, a year after he failed to score at all.
Powell led Crewe to the League Two playoffs and to promotion into League One thanks to this outstanding goal.
Thanks to his performance, Powell found himself linked to several clubs, but he eventually secured what is now the richest transfer ever for a League One player, according to the Telegraph's Mark Ogden.
At the tender age of 18, Powell should not be expected to make a big splash at Old Trafford during this campaign. Considering that he has never played anything close to top-flight football indicates that he will probably find himself on loan in the near future.
Though Powell won't be relied on heavily this season, expect him to make a big splash in the future. This is a transfer that will pay off in time.
This grade would be higher, but no one knows how Powell will adapt to top-flight football.
Powell does have a future with Man United, especially considering how much the Red Devils spent on him, and will make some appearances in cup ties and maybe a few EPL cameos.
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During the last several seasons, United have lacked a true creating force in central midfield. For over a year, there was much speculation over whether Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder was going to move to Old Trafford, though nothing ever happened.
Last season, United suffered so mightily in midfield that Paul Scholes came out of retirement to play for the squad. Though Scholes played admirably, the fact that United relied on bringing a player out of retirement showed that an attacking midfielder needed to be purchased.
Just weeks after the end of the season, United completed their purchase of Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa.
Kagawa had been one of the most important players for two time defending Bundesliga champion Borussia Dortmund. Last season, Kagawa provided 13 goals and 12 assists to spearhead a Dortmund side that registered a Bundesliga record 81 points.
The addition of Kagawa provides United an extra attacking dimension that they have needed. Assuming that he will position himself behind whoever United is starting in their traditional 4-4-1-1 style, Kagawa could be among the Premier League's leaders in many passing categories.
Expect Kagawa to become a star in the Premier League. Kagawa could find himself slowed down by the physicality of the English game but considering how talented he is, I don't see that happening.
Robin Van Persie
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At the beginning of this summer's transfer window, no one could have imagined Robin van Persie would transfer from Arsenal to Manchester United. Van Persie scored 30 goals in the EPL last season, which led to the Dutchman being named the PFA Player of the Year.
But following van Persie's stunning announcement on his website that practically said he was going to leave the Emirates, transfer rumors around the world spread like a wildfire.
Ferguson was able to secure a transfer just days before the start of the Premier League season, which led to a four-year contract that will last until June 2016. Though 2016 is still years away, van Persie will be 33 when the contract ends.
With the completion of the transfer, van Persie will partner with Wayne Rooney in what is one of the scariest striking duos that the Premier League has ever seen.
Though van Persie might not get off to a strong start, he will still be expected to shine and cause plenty of havoc for his opponents.
The transfer for van Persie is a coup for Man United, but this purchase is for the oldest outfield player by the Red Devils since Teddy Sheringham was bought in 1998.
Though van Persie will play well, there is a dilemma at striker with both Danny Welbeck and Chicharito Hernandez finding themselves on the bench thanks to this purchase.
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Though Patrice Evra has been one of the most reliable members of Manchester United during recent seasons, it is not expected that he will continue to maintain his incredible run for that much longer.
Since United's double of the Premier League and the Champions League in 2007-08, Evra has participated in at least 47 matches during the past five seasons.
For years, there has been speculation that Everton's Leighton Baines could come to Old Trafford to split duties. But instead of going after Baines, who will turn 28 this December, United decided to get a younger player to help in the back.
United decided to buy 23-year-old Alexander Büttner in a sudden swoop. Earlier in the summer, Büttner was linked to other Premier League clubs, but those clubs (Fulham, QPR and Southampton) are not by any means big clubs.
The capture that Ferguson made should at least provide some relief in the back. Last season, Büttner scored five goals and added four assists in a season that saw him play both in defense and, on occasion, in midfield.
Büttner looks like he could provide a nice offensive spark when he does play. Considering that Evra has only scored three goals with Man United, Büttner could equal or eclipse this number if he gets the opportunity to do so.
This was a very questionable move. There were no big clubs chasing Büttner's signature. Furthermore, The Daily Mirror reported that United scout Ed van Stijn ranked Büttner as either "the third or fourth best left-back in the Eredivisie."
Expect Büttner to have a limited role in the Premier League. The Dutchman will probably make most of his appearances in the Carling Cup or in some early FA Cup matches.
It is unlikely that Büttner is the long-term solution for United at left-back.
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Transfer Price: £4 million, according to The Daily Mail
As the final player bought during this transfer window by the Red Devils, Angelo Henriquez comes to United as a 18-year-old whom is playing his football with Universidad de Chile.
Henriquez has shown plenty of potential, scoring 11 goals so far this season in his home nation, allowing his club to win the league.
The transfer is somewhat surprising considering the many strikers that appear to have a long-term future at Old Trafford. But Henriquez is still a player who, according to Ferguson, "we [United] thought it wasn't worth waiting. We may as well do it now had to be done to "take away a lot of interest from other clubs."
Henriquez appears to be a star player: his ability is outstanding and he is certainly a player to watch out for in the future.
Expect Henriquez to go out on loan in the near future, especially considering how many strikers United currently have in front of the Chilean.