Four Summer Storylines Manchester United Will Regret
It has been a long summer for Manchester United fans, with much intrigue and, so far, a lot of disappointment.
All this could, of course, change in the next two weeks if the club makes a couple of top quality signings.
For now, following United's home defeat to Swansea on Saturday, fans are nervous. It looks like some of this summer's storylines may indeed be cause for regret.
Let's take a look at those storylines that will linger in the mind if they do not have a positive outcome. No prizes for guessing the first...
Arturo Vidal has been linked with Manchester United all summer long. Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport earlier this week (h/t Sky Sports) said, "It is normal that there are rumours about him: the great teams search for the great players. But Vidal is already in a great team."
Like Cesc Fabregas last summer, and Wesley Sneijder in the 15 summers before that (perhaps some exaggeration), the Vidal storyline has rumbled on and on.
Any tweet from United's official account is greeted with scores of replies urging the club to sign Vidal.
If they do not, there will be a good deal of disappointment. There will also remain a substantial weakness in United's centre-midfield options, in spite of the fine addition of Ander Herrera.
Whatever has really happened behind the scenes, should United not sign Vidal it will appear to be a failure.
That is something the club's reputation can ill afford, given the battering it took during the David Moyes era. This storyline has two potential endings and one will lead to a good deal of regret.
Ed Woodward's Big Talk
Speaking to MUTV (h/t ManUtd.com) Ed Woodward essentially promised United fans that the club were prepared to make significant moves in the transfer market.
We are willing to invest. There is no fixed budget. Financially we are extremely strong and funds are available. Louis is assessing what’s going on and there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes, so watch this space.
However, Woodward's "big-talk" approach is a dangerous game, as it raises expectations. If those expectations are not met, United, and Woodward himself, may well regret it.
Too Much Travel
Louis van Gaal expressed his concerns about United's pre-season tour on its first leg, in Los Angeles, per Simon Stone of BBC Sport.
You have to travel distances, you have to fly a lot, you also have jetlag - that is not very positive for a good preparation.
It is a theme he returned to last week. When asked at the Friday press conference about the injury to Luke Shaw. In the six reasons he listed for Shaw's injuries, he cited jet lag as one of them (h/t ESPN.co.uk).
Back in July, Van Gaal also said, per the BBC story above, "The tour was already arranged so I have to adapt—and Manchester United shall do everything to adapt to my rules for good preparation." It is clear that the good preparation of which he speaks has not been possible this summer.
United have a significant number of injuries to players in the first-team squad, a number of which were picked up on the tour. This contributed to United's defeat to Swansea and if the poor form does not improve quickly then it could have a lingering negative effect on United's season.
Next year should be different. For now the travel is a regret the club will have to live with.
Apparent Inability to Clear-out Unwanted Squad Players
With almost two weeks left of the transfer window, it is too soon to cast this particular regret in stone.
However, United's squad has been carrying unnecessary weight for some time, and this summer has not improved matters.
It is, of course, not good financial management to keep players on the books who are not contributing to the first team.
There is also the issue of squad cohesion. Steve Bates of the Mirror has reported that Anderson, Nani and Wilfried Zaha are not being included in first-team squad activities. The effect this has on squad morale may be problematic in the long run.
If sales and loans are not arranged in the next couple of weeks for the players Van Gaal does not want around, United will certainly regret it.