If Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal hasn’t made it clear by now, people haven’t been listening. After years of supremacy in the Premier League, the Red Devils are in rebuilding mode.
One has to credit van Gaal, however. Unlike other franchises that might embrace long-term rebuilding projects, the Dutchman seems intent in speeding things up a bit. In a series of blockbuster deadline deals, the Red Devils acquired Colombian star Radamel Falcao from AS Monaco, sent erstwhile forward Javier Hernandez to Real Madrid and allowed Danny Welbeck to sign with Arsenal.
After weeks of strikeouts in the transfer cycle, Manchester United acted boldly enough in the final hours to produce some intrigue as the squad continues its odyssey in 2014-15. In loaning out Hernandez, the Red Devils give the underachieving Mexican a chance to find his game while surrounded with world-class players in Madrid. With Welbeck on his way to the Gunners, Manchester United can now begin searching for the type of consistency that was sorely lacking in his partnerships alongside Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
Perhaps Falcao, a prodigious talent whose injury woes have severely limited his progress in recent years, will provide exactly what the Red Devils seek in that regard. When healthy, he’s the type of forward who can electrify fans and energize teammates, a trait sorely lacking amongst Manchester United’s current roster.
In his three years with Atletico Madrid, Falcao piled up 52 goals in 68 appearances. While with Monaco, he netted 11 tallies in 20 appearances. If he produces similarly for Manchester United during this loan stint, the Red Devils may consider a more lucrative push to secure his services permanently.
There is little doubt the Red Devils needed an infusion on energy. Four games into the regular season has yet to produce a victory. In each contest, Manchester United spent large amounts of time looking disinterested and lethargic. Adding Falcao figures to be the first step in building new excitement for the grumbling fanbase at Old Trafford.
If nothing else, the addition of Falcao offers immediate hope for the future. For all their difficulties in recent seasons, it seems both van Gaal and the Glazers are intent on rebuilding Manchester United’s on-field product quickly.
Whether Manchester United can sort out obvious defensive deficiencies remains to be seen. At the very least, keeping league newcomers Burnley off the scoreboard this past Saturday was a small step in the right direction. More opportunities for quick success remain with fixtures against Queens Park Rangers, Leicester City and West Ham United over the next three weeks.
In the old days, the Red Devils would simply brush off such opponents with relative ease. Of course, this isn’t the Manchester United of old. Nevertheless, if Falcao can provide the type of performance and energy he has at previous stops, the Red Devils might be able to speed things up a bit on establishing a solid foundation. Any help in that regard would be welcomed by the both van Gaal and the faithful.