Manchester United kicked off their 2014/15 English Premier League campaign with a loss to Swansea City, 2-1. Injuries and lack of fitness have plagued United in the first game, leaving newly acquired Luke Shaw and forward Robin van Persie sidelined at the start of the season. To replace Shaw, Louis van Gaal had to make a decision that may have cost the Red Devils their first game. Van Gaal started Tyler Blackett on the back line and Jesse Lingard as the other wing back opposite of Ashley Young.
Van Gaal could have put Rafael or Antonio Valenica in Lingard’s place and had Jonny Evans in for Blackett, but there is nothing that can be done now. The lineup was mind boggling and made plenty of people scratch their heads. With that said, I don’t think van Gaal should take full blame for the loss today.
It all starts at the front office. Van Gaal has been actively pushing for new players to come into Old Trafford but the front office, in particular Ed Woodward, is being too stingy with the club’s transfer allocation. Woodward was in full support of giving van Gaal all the financial backing that he needed prior to the Summer Transfer Window but following that, United has only been able to sign two players, Shaw and Ander Herrera. As a tangent, Herrera is the real deal and is a pure possession and playmaker in the midfield.
Woodward needs to get on track with negotiations and realize that the club needs these talented players, not that the players need Manchester United. Thinking that way will only see negotiations break down. Being out of the UEFA Champions League has given United and Woodward no advantage in transfer talks and he must realize that bumping up the transfer fee is the only thing United can do to convince players to come in and play.
In order to get back on the right track, Woodward and United will need to bring in Arturo Vidal and Juan Cuadrado or Angel Di Maria to make the midfield an offensive threat. This is the only way and Woodward is letting United and its fans down by being stubborn. United will need to make adjustments in the lineup as well as make additions and removals if van Gaal and United want to make this season count.