The full-time whistle at St. Mary’s at the end of last season couldn’t have come quick enough for Manchester United fans. Finally, the worst season we’ve ever had in the Premier League was over.
By all accounts, the David Moyes experiment was an absolute catastrophe (unless you count the iPads he left behind him in Carrington) but, thankfully, United were strong enough to sack Moyes before the summer to give us the best chance to replace him.
Louis van Gaal was subsequently appointed and excitement levels immediately reached fever pitch. A proven Champions League winning manager with a track record in the Bundesliga, La Liga and Eredivisie was the perfect tonic following Moyes’ failure.
What grabbed the imagination of United fans more than anything was the belief that this summer would be different in the transfer market. The debacles of last year were surely going to be avoided. We couldn’t afford to repeat the mistakes which turned out to be a prelude for our shocking season and in many respects, the events of the last 24 hours have shown that won’t be the case.
Within hours of Cadena Ser saying Herrera was going to move to United, the rumour gathered pace like wildfire and now every respected journalist has reported the deal will be completed. The British press didn’t have a clue about our pursuit of Herrera this year until their Spanish counterparts told them, just like it used to be under David Gill and Sir Alex, so kudos to Ed Woodward for this much needed change of tact.
Of course, Herrera isn’t yet confirmed but we have agreed to pay the release clause, Herrera wants to join United, has passed his medical and will get the wages he wants. Barring a catastrophe, the only thing we’re waiting for the official confirmation.
A midfielder. A genuine, quality, ball playing central midfielder. You know things are going to be different when United sign one of them (sorry Fellaini).
Herrera will bring some much needed energy and tenacity back into our midfield and his arrival should be the beginning of a major overhaul at Old Trafford.
On his own, Herrera isn’t enough in midfield but alongside somebody like William Carvalho or Nigel De Jong, it’d be a fantastic pairing.
As for the defence, we only currently have five first-team defenders – Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans, Rafael and Patrice Evra. Three injury prone defenders, one full-back who is past his prime and another who regressed last season. It isn’t a strong enough quintet to win the Premier League.
Looking at it objectively, United need at least one top class centre-back and a left-back. With Luke Shaw seemingly set to join, that closes up a gap but there will still be big holes in the defence. Some youth players may come through but the defence needs investment.
As for our attackers, Van Gaal will want another top class winger like Memphis Depay or Arjen Robben. The only natural wingers we have are Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia, neither of which are good enough to start every week.
We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to attacking midfielders and strikers so it is highly unlikely that we will invest in those areas.
So, while Herrera’s arrival would be brilliant for United, it has to be the first link in a chain of new arrivals if United are going to challenge next season.