News Column

Boot Room

September 2, 2014

Ashley Hammond Staff Reporter

Dubai: Manchester United may have failed to land more defenders and a much-needed central midfielder in the summer transfer window, but the Â19 million (Dh115.33 million) loan of Radamel Falcao from Monaco could more than make up for the squad's shortfalls.

In truth, the Colombian striker is a luxury United didn't really need. They already have Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney up front, and, if anything, it was the base of the squad's spine that needed strengthening, after the departures of Patrice Evra (Juventus), Nemanja Vidic (Inter Milan) and Rio Ferdinand (QPR).

Van Gaal brought in three left-backs in Luke Shaw from Southampton, Daley Blind from Ajax and Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon. Admittedly, Blind can push forward into midfield and Rojo can switch to central defence, but after the exodus of ageing defenders, you would have thought it necessary for United to go big across the back four.

Overcrowding their strikeforce has been corrected with Danny Welbeck moving to Arsenal and a loan move for Javier Hernandez to Real Madrid.

And their packed midfield has been addressed somewhat with Shinji Kagawa going to Borussia Dortmund and Nani heading off on loan to Sporting Lisbon.

But the additions of Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid and Ander Herrara from Atletico Bilbao, only top up the problem of plenty with the likes of Juan Mata, Darren Fletcher Adnan Januzaj, Marouane Fellaini, Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, Anderson and Michael Carrick already in the queue.

Within this selection there's no solid standout central midfielder in the mould of Roy Keane or Paul Scholes.

They all seem more wide or forward minded players. At the back United are also sorely lacking hardened experience in the form of a Jaap Stam character.

It begs the question why so much attention was paid by Van Gaal to United's well oversubscribed wings and attack when defence and centre are so obviously lacking.

But the arrival of Falcao, albeit seemingly unnecessary, could help raise the overall vibe at the club, who have so far failed to win any of their first three matches of the season.

Like the effect Eric Cantona had on his United teammates upon his arrival in 1992, a talismanic figure like Falcao could help lift spirits and increase confidence at Old Trafford, especially among the unfancied or fringe players, who we might usually discount.

The weak links of defence and centre midfield can't now be cured by money, so instead United must find an answer to their problems from within.

And if anyone can inspire players already in those positions younger players, or those written off and low on confidence it could well be Falcao.

The likes of Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Tom Cleverly might rise to the challenge of having Falcao in the squad, and that's a result that would be worth every penny for United at this moment in time.

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Source: Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)

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