Louis van Gaal is reportedly already growing agitated with Manchester United's lack of urgency in the 2014 summer transfer window, and the Red Devils can't afford to start a new era in their history the same way they ended the previous one.
ESPN FC's Miguel Delaney paints a somber picture, with sources saying the new manager is already growing frustrated with the way the summer window has played out so far:
Sources have also said Van Gaal is getting increasingly impatient about the lack of transfer activity. Although Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera arrived this summer, both of the deals were effectively finalised last season, meaning there have been no real new buys since the campaign ended.
[...]He was said to be particularly agitated at the failure to complete a deal for new Barcelona signing Thomas Vermaelen, given that United for a long time believed his arrival was virtually assured.
There is also frustration over the Arturo Vidal saga, although it is understood Juventus have proven difficult to even discuss terms with due to the ructions caused at the Italian club by the departure of Antonio Conte.
This is not how Manchester United wanted to move on from the embarrassing season the club went through under David Moyes. Louis van Gaal was the symbol of a fresh start for the Red Devils, and so far, this transfer window shows too many similarities with the summer of 2013.
Van Gaal is saying all the right things as the club gets ready for the start of the 2014-15 Premier League season, telling reporters he believes in his current group of players, per United's Twitter account:
Louis van Gaal: "I believe in my players, I believe in the way we play football & in my philosophy. I hope that gives pleasure to the fans."— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 15, 2014
The Guardian's Daniel Taylor also noted how the Dutchman appears to be more in control of the situation than his predecessor ever was:
LVG in good spirits, mind. An early reminder we won't catch him out - I am smart," he pointed out - and far more relaxed than Moyes ever was— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) August 15, 2014
But the questions regarding the transfer targets remain, and with the Premier League's opening fixture just around the corner, people are starting to worry. Taylor is one of them:
Find it bizarre that #MUFC starting season like this. Four defenders out, only one in. Really have to question their planning.— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) August 15, 2014
A lack of world-class talent arriving at Old Trafford may be what bothers fans the most, but the issue at hand is far greater. As Taylor points out, the club has completely failed to address the holes in the squad that were created by a number of players leaving early in the summer.
The Red Devils' failure to bring in defensive reinforcements is one thing—even more worrisome is their inability to close deals for reported targets. As Delaney points out, the club has been close to deals for Thomas Vermaelen and Arturo Vidal. The former will be playing for Barcelona next season, while the latter appears unlikely to leave Juventus.
Every target the club has identified is yet to sign on the dotted line. For a manager with Van Gaal's pedigree, that has to be incredibly frustrating.
Manchester United remain one of the most storied clubs in all of football, and there are a variety of reasons why potential targets would consider a move to Old Trafford. But in the absence of Champions League football, a world-class manager like Van Gaal becomes the Red Devils' biggest selling point.
The fact the new caretaker is reportedly already growing frustrated is a bad look for United, and particularly for the man plenty of fans blame for the lack of new arrivals: Ed Woodward.
Remember, this is a fresh start for the club. The early goings of the new Premier League season should be filled with hope and promise, not the same issues that plagued the team last season.
There's little doubt the Red Devils will play better under Van Gaal than they did under Moyes, but as of right now, it appears the message off the pitch hasn't changed. Potential new targets will notice this as well, and it will only set the club back even further when the market reopens in January.
Manchester United can't afford frustrations right now. Not among the fans, not among the players and particularly not with their new manager, who is the main reason people believe the future of the club looks bright.
Woodward and Company better turn the situation around in a hurry, or the Mancunians will be off to a bad start before the first Premier League ball has even been kicked.