Manchester United Must Address Key Needs with Late Summer Spending

Rob Dawson@@RobDawsonMENManchester United CorrespondentAugust 18, 2014

Manchester United's manager Louis van Gaal, right, takes his seat alongside assistant coach Ryan Giggs before the team's English Premier League soccer match against Swansea City at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Saturday Aug. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

It's important that Manchester United spend some money before this summer's transfer window shuts. That much is clear.

But it's more important they use it to address the weaknesses in their squad. It's easy to waste millions in the transfer market. Plenty of clubs, including United, have been guilty of it in the past.

And while fans are desperate for executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and manager Louis van Gaal to splash some cash, throwing it around isn't going to solve anything.

Van Gaal has so far shown some restraint. 

He wrote in his programme notes ahead of the defeat to Swansea, which was carried by the Manchester Evening News, that he won't "buy players for buying players' sake."

I haven't had a lot of time to assess the team but from what I have seen so far, I know I already have a good team, and I am pleased with the squad.

I still have more assessing to do but I don't buy players for buying players' sake. I buy players to improve my selection.

And even after the opening day defeat, the Dutchman insisted he will only dip into the market if the right player becomes available.

I have thought that before this match, so it is no different. When we were playing in the US, I thought the same.

I know in what positions we need better players. But you have to buy only when the player can fulfil the way of playing that I ask. We have to wait and see.

United's priority is a defender. It has been since Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic departed at the end of last season.

Whether Van Gaal wants to play with two or three centre-halves this season, he needs more options than just Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Tyler Blackett and Michael Keane.

That United have waited this long hints at poor planning. Manchester City and Chelsea had the majority of their summer business sewn up weeks ago.

And it should have been no surprise to United that they needed to find replacements for Ferdinand and Vidic.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14:  Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United in discussion after the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on September 14, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Ph
Michael Regan/Getty Images

With a little more than two weeks to go before the deadline, they are facing a worryingly similar situation to last summer. But it shouldn't be allowed to happen again. If it does, the top four starts to look further and further away.

United are fond of calling themselves one of the biggest clubs in the world. But there comes a point when they must act like it.

Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Chelsea have all improved their squads this season. Most have spent money to address their key needs.

It's getting late, but United still have time to do the same. 

Van Gaal has promised, more than once, to spend the money wisely. And spend he must.