Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal may have won over many of his new fans at his introductory press conference. However, the Dutch coach is wrong to postpone pursuing further new signings in the transfer market.
Van Gaal declared he will spend up to "four weeks" assessing his current squad first, per Manchester Evening News reporter Rob Dawson:
My method is always the same.
I want to look at the players now, the players present. Of course I know how the players play.
But I don't know the players under my training or coaching. In the first three or four weeks, I want to see what they can do. Then maybe I will buy other players.
Four Weeks is hardly an encouraging time frame for a team still needing a revamp at several key positions. That need has been compounded by the lengthy recovery time facing midfielder Michael Carrick post-ankle surgery:
Michael Carrick had surgery this morning on his left ankle ligaments and will be out for up to three months, according to United.— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonMEN) July 17, 2014
Of course, the need for reinforcements already existed long before Carrick's surgery. After all, Van Gaal has inherited a squad that stumbled to a seventh-placed finish in the Premier League last season.
Even the big-priced additions of midfield pass master Ander Herrera and precocious full-back Luke Shaw aren't enough to cure every ill at Old Trafford. A compelling case could be made for additional talent to be added to the midfield ranks.
But confusion reigns over a proposed move for Juventus linchpin Arturo Vidal. The Serie A giants are reportedly determined to retain Vidal, even after parting company with coach Antonio Conte, per Sky Sports:
At his unveiling on Wednesday, Juve’s sporting director Giuseppe Marotta took the opportunity to address a number of issues, including Vidal’s future and the ongoing transfer gossip.
He said: 'He’s a Juve player. We have never put him up for sale.
A number of important clubs have asked about him but we have never sat around the table for negotiations'
This public denial has come just days after Daily Mail writer Simon Jones reported United were close to a £35 million deal to purchase Vidal.
Whatever the future holds for the Red Devils' pursuit of Vidal remains unclear. However, the uncertainty doesn't alter this squad's obvious need for a talisman in the middle.
Just as important, should be Van Gaal's quest for new faces in defence. United need two new centre-backs and at least one full-back.
However, potential targets could already be escaping Van Gaal's grasp. He had been linked with potential moves for Dutch trio Stefan De Vrij, Bruno Martins Indi and Daley Blind, per Manchester Evening News reporter Stuart Mathieson.
The point is Van Gaal might not have the luxury of four weeks to make up his mind about new arrivals. In fact, maybe the point is he shouldn't need four weeks.
He has after all, been in charge of everything in name only since before the 2014 FIFA World Cup. That's what makes it surprising that he already wouldn't have both a good idea about his existing players, as well as a conclusive shopping list.
Surely Van Gaal received detailed reports about United's current contingent from striker and Netherlands captain Robin van Persie?
There's no golden rule about signing players right away, or one that precludes quality still being available late in a transfer window. It's certainly true that Van Gaal's methods have rarely failed him in the past.
Is Van Gaal Right To Delay Transfers?
But it's also true he's rarely been in an environment as competitive as the Premier League, where the race for both the title and top-four places is crowded and intense.
Given the scale of the job he's facing at Old Trafford, Van Gaal is taking a mild risk being so content to bide his time. He has already postponed the rebuild at United with his international duties.
That was understandable. But with United's first preseason fixture a week away, per MUFC.com, taking another month might prove very costly.