Upon naming Louis van Gaal as manager, there was a sense that Manchester United would get straight to work in the transfer market, with a few deals potentially being tied up ahead of the Brazil World Cup.
But the Dutchman has been in the hot seat for a week now, and aside from a deal to keep Patrice Evra at the club, per BBC Sport, there has yet to be any kind of renovation of the squad that struggled so much last season.
Of course, given Van Gaal’s commitment to the Dutch national team, it was always going to be difficult for the Manchester United hierarchy to make major moves in the transfer window in the infancy of his tenure. But they must heed lessons from last summer and make early inroads in the market to avoid being left behind once again.
So expect plenty of buzz about players coming in and leaving Old Trafford in the coming weeks, as Van Gaal goes about plotting his Red Devils renaissance. Here’s the very latest on all things United-related:
United won’t be pursuing the former Arsenal man this summer, with Van Gaal reportedly not fussed on the Barcelona midfielder. According to Joe Bernstein of the Mail Online, Fabregas is keen on a return to England, but the Red Devils are not willing to become embroiled in a bidding war for the player.
Mike Keegan of the Manchester Evening News also confirmed that the midfielder is not on United’s shopping list:
Reliably informed that Cesc Fabregas is not on LvG's target list. #mufc— Mike Keegan (@mikekeeganmen) May 24, 2014
Recent reports have suggested that a host of Premier League clubs have been offered to sign the 27-year-old this summer, per Duncan Castles of the Sunday Times, and if United do turn down the chance to secure Fabregas’ services then it’d be a peculiar decision.
Here are a few reasons why United should think twice about ruling out signing the Spaniard:
During his time at Arsenal, Fabregas excelled in England's top flight, and he would be a major upgrade on the midfield options currently available to Van Gaal.
Fabregas is a wonderfully gifted playmaker who has showcased an ability to create and score goals throughout his career. For United to completely rule out signing a talent of his calibre, who plays in a position that is in such obvious need of strengthening, would be misguided.
If Barcelona do choose to cash in on Fabregas and he is privy to an Old Trafford switch, don't be surprised to see United have a swift change of heart.
The England international has spoken of his frustration at being played out of position under David Moyes.
Welbeck, who has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford, is at his best in the centre-forward berth. But his industry and versatility have seen him fill in out of position on both flanks, something that has riled the 23-year-old, per Neil Ashton of the Mail Online:
It does get frustrating. You want to be playing in a certain position and you’re not getting the opportunity to do that.
Maybe I’m kind of let off the leash a bit more for England. For United I’m more likely to be left wing of a four-man midfield with only two centre-mids so it’s a bit more difficult for me to make runs to score when I’ve got to think about my defensive duties as well.
I wouldn’t say I play better for England but my goals-per-game ratio is definitely better.
Despite Welbeck’s insistence that he is looking forward to working under Van Gaal, he is still looking for a way out of Old Trafford, according to Daniel Taylor of The Guardian, with Tottenham reportedly interested in the player.
In truth, the England man’s opportunities at centre-forward look as though they’re likely to be limited once again this season. He is behind Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney in the pecking order, meaning if he wants to lead the line on a regular basis, a move elsewhere is certainly his best option.
Former Red Devils midfielder Roy Keane has urged the Republic of Ireland international to stay at Everton, amid rumours that he could be a target for Van Gaal.
McCarthy has been linked with a move to Manchester following a fine first season on Merseyside, but Keane has urged him to continue his development with the Toffees, per the Irish Times (h/t Sky Sports):
He's only been at Everton two minutes. He's obviously making good progress but I'm pretty sure that with Manchester United there'll be talks of lots of players going there at the moment but James is at a good club in Everton.
He's had a decent couple of seasons and if he keeps progressing then who knows but I'm sure he's happy where he is.
Should United pursue McCarthy?
While McCarthy may not be the most glamorous of names, he is a player with a host of qualities that are currently in short supply in this United midfield. He’s a tremendously energetic player and gets about the pitch with a relentless purpose that the Red Devils could certainly do with.
But as Keane alludes to, he’s currently blossoming at Everton under the tutelage of Roberto Martinez and would surely command a huge transfer fee given the Toffees signed him for £13 million just 12 months ago, per BBC Sport.
United, you suspect, would have to pay at least double that amount to bring McCarthy to Old Trafford, and while he is a player that has a myriad qualities that this squad requires, expect Van Gaal to turn his attentions elsewhere.