Man Utd set to sabotage title efforts at both ends of the pitch

Having got rid of two strikers already this summer, Louis van Gaal’s suggestion that Manchester United might not sign another should send an unnerving chill through the Old Trafford faithful.

A lot of pressure will be put on the shoulders of Premier League rookie Memphis Depay, the wide-forward signed from PSV this summer, and captain Wayne Rooney if Van Gaal does forego a striker purchase prior to the transfer window closing at the start of September.

The Iron Tulip did indicate that Javier Hernandez and James Wilson will be around to cover, but the former was thought to be surplus to requirements in the north west after spending last season on loan at Real Madrid, while the latter managed just two goals in 17 appearances last term.

If that news wasn’t tricky enough for the Stretford End loyalists to compute, Van Gaal also indicated that Daley Blind could feature more prominently at centre-half next season, after the 25-year-old impressed alongside Phil Jones during United’s 1-0 friendly victory over Club America.

The Dutch gaffer may feel the need to accommodate £30m left-back Luke Shaw in his side more often during 2014/15, and his words tend to confirm the suspicion that moves for La Liga centre-halves Sergio Ramos and Nicolas Otamendi aren’t running smoothly, but playing Blind there is unlikely to be the answer.

After a slow start to last season with Blind operating in central-midfield, the Red Devils began to get their act together when Michael Carrick’s return coincided with the former Eredivise Player of the Year missing out through injury.

Van Gaal’s men went unbeaten over 10 games between late November and mid-January, winning the first five in a row, all without Blind.

His return to a central berth after Christmas coincided with another bout of erratic form, which included losses to Southampton, Swansea, Arsenal, Everton and West Brom, plus poor showings at West Ham and Cambridge in the FA Cup.

Conversely, United won four matches on the spin with Blind at left-back between March and April, against Tottenham, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Manchester City. Playing him anywhere else seems to go against all rational thought.

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Iain Houten

Iain has been contributing pieces to various websites on an array of subjects, including sports, politics and art, for over four years. Despite blue being his favourite colour, the teams he supports all wear red.