The Devils’ DetailsBy: Alfonso Duro
The Manchester United “Red Devils” became the stars at the closing bell of the transfers market in Europe, and they surely needed it after a subpar kickoff to their season.
Falcao and Daley Blind reached Old Trafford at the last minute to join Di María, Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw as the new stars of a team in shambles, a team that has only managed to get one point in two games, and has already suffered a serious whopping against a Third Division team in the Capital One Cup. But will these signings be enough? Will van Gaal give “El Fideo” enough room to breathe? Or won’t he allow his Angel to fly? Will United be as tacky this season as the car logos that now emblazon their legendary jersey? Here are our way-too-early predictions:
VAN GAAL’S WILD SUMMER: When United finished 7th in last season’s Premier League—with no chance of playing in any European competition—the board took some extreme measures. First, they decided to give the reins of the squad to Louis van Gaal, a coach known for his ability to continuously pull rabbits out of his hat. Then, they decided to spend close to 200 million euros in transfers. It’s been a long summer, and Louis van Gaal has already shown the world the bad side of his temper, but ultimately he has assembled what looks like a winning team. Let’s just hope he can keep his cool and return the team to the path of victory.
AN ANGEL WITH CLIPPED WINGS: Ángel Di María will wear the mythical number seven jersey at Manchester United—the one worn by more than a few players who became legends at Old Trafford: Cristiano Ronaldo, Beckham, Cantona and George Best, among others. The question remains, however, if the Argentine will flourish like he did at Real Madrid under van Gaal’s tight grip. To start off, the Dutchman played him as a center midfielder in his first match in the EPL, and “El Fideo” didn’t seem too happy about it. Every time he could, Angel would go in search of some oxygen on the wing, his natural habitat, only to hear van Gaal screaming at him to get back to the middle. Ancelotti and Sabella managed to find a halfway point to have Di María play somewhere between the wing and the middle of the field, and it worked out beautifully. Will van Gaal figure out the magic formula soon enough?
LET THE TIGER ROAR: Even with van Persie and Rooney in his attacking line, the Dutch manager didn’t think twice about the opportunity of signing another world-class forward. Colombian star Radamel Falcao has made a great career for himself in midrange European clubs like Porto, Atlético Madrid and Monaco, and will now have the chance to finally reach the Champions League—if all things work out—with a first-rate team. The last time he played that tournament, with FC Porto in 2010, El Tigre’s team was humiliated by Arsenal with a crushing 5-0 defeat, so he’ll be looking for vindication at the professional teams’ grandest stage. Let him roar.
NO MORE “CHI-CHA-RI-TOWWW”: The end of the “Chicharito” Hernández era at Old Trafford has arrived, and the Mexican striker will take his goals (or rather his yearning to score) to Madrid. Chicharito had four seasons full of ups and downs at United, peaking in the last two, in which he barely netted anything. Still, he somehow landed a deal with the European champions, and although Real Madrid admittedly signed the striker because of his willingness to accept sitting on the bench for most of the season, perhaps the worst side of his transfer out of United is the fact that we won’t enjoy the Northern English blokes shouting his name anymore: “Chi-cha-ri-towww.”
LOGISTICS: Manchester United, official site