Manchester United have seen the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool make a lot of progress in terms of acquiring transfer targets in the last few weeks. So far, the Red Devils have not been unable to conclude any deals. This could change with reports suggesting that United will be able to unveil two new signings at a cost of £62 million. It is reported that United had activated the release clause of Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera.
The club are looking to conclude the transfer before the end of next week. Herrera was a transfer target for Manchester United since last summer. In fact, United’s failure to land the 24-year-old back then was seen as a major reason towards their negative start to the campaign. Keen to avoid a repeat of the same and also to create a statement, United are expected to sign the 24-year-old. Top bookmakers like Betfair see United only as fourth favourite to win the Premier League.
Despite the positivity surrounding the appointment of Louis van Gaal, bookmakers appear to believe that United will be behind the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool in the title race. A signing like Herrera will certainly bode well in their attempts to win the title. One can expect a slight improvement in the odds of 11/2 given for United by Betfair for winning their 14th Premier League title. Herrera is a player who will finally come closer towards replacing Roy Keane in the United team.
Since the departure of the Irishman in 2005, United have lacked a bite in the midfield. Over the years, they have tried several options. Of late, United have become more of a passing outfit due to their failure to sign such a player. Herrera will not only be crucial in the tough matches against teams at the bottom of the table, but his craft to open up opponents will be crucial in the Champions League as well.
Herrera comes on the back of a successful campaign with Athletic Bilbao and he helped the Spanish outfit finish fourth in the table. This is not bad considering that the three clubs above them were Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, and Barcelona. In 31 starts and two substitute appearances, Herrera contributed five goals and five assists. He is likely to have much more scoring opportunities playing with better players around him at United.
Louis van Gaal’s manager who favours the 4-3-3 formation. He is also quite flexible and may experiment with a couple of other formations just as he did with the Netherlands team at the World Cup 2014. The 62-year-old’s big task will be to accommodate the front three of Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney, and Robin van Persie. Herrera could partner Michael Carrick in the midfield along with the defensive shield like Phil Jones.
The rest of the £62 million is set to go towards Luke Shaw. United have been in negotiations with the Southampton for the transfer of the left back, who is just 18 years old. Negotiations have been going on for quite a while, but United believe they have made a significant breakthrough by offering a record offer for the player. Several reports in England suggest that United have made an offer as high as £34 million coupled with a salary of more than £100,000 per week.
This would make him as one of the most expensive teenagers in the world, while also raising eyebrows even from United fans. United are rated at 4/6 ahead of Arsenal to finish in the top four next season.
United can afford to play hardball over Shaw given that they took the decision to extend Patrice Evra’s contract at the last moment. Evra was set to leave Old Trafford on a free, but a new one-year deal a few weeks ago suggested that the Shaw deal was certainly not in the bag. Even if United failed to get the England international, Van Gaal will be able to continue with the tried and trusted Evra with Alex Butner acting as backup.
Chelsea were also in negotiations for the player, but they dropped out of the running once the offers from United started crossing the £28 million mark.
United’s spending could easily cross the £100 million mark given that they still have to strengthen positions like right back and central defence. With several doubts still lingering about the likes of Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez, United are also likely to be in the market for a new striker.
It would not be surprising to see the betting odds from Betfair turn more favourable towards United winning the title in the coming season if they managed to complete the signings. It has been awhile since United blew away everyone in the transfer market, but it seems to be making this time around.