Many Manchester United fans groaned when new manager Louis van Gaal revealed that he may not make any further purchases ahead of the new season.
With the press promising such arrivals and Angel Di Maria, Mats Hummels and Arturo Vidal the thirst for new talent and the chance to banish the failed experiment that was the David Moyes era to the memory banks appeared unquenchable.
So Van Gaal’s insistence that he is happy with the players already at his disposal led many United fans to hope the comments were merely a tactic designed to lower the prices of his transfer targets.
The more cynical fans out there may have assumed that the comments were in fact designed to soften the blow that United, like last summer, have failed to bring in their desired new recruits.
However, after another impressive pre-season display – this time in the 3-1 win over Real Madrid – Van Gaal’s assessment that the existing players are flourishing in his new system does not look that wide of the mark.
The clamour for new players centres mainly around the recruitment of one or two central defenders but Jonny Evans seems to be relishing his role as the senior defender and Chris Smalling in particular has spoken about how the new formation has given him more confidence in his role.
Ashley Young is another player flourishing in his new role as a wing back.
Young came in for much criticism toward the end of the Ferguson era and throughout Moyes reign but his star showings in pre-season, culminating in a brace against Los Blancos in front of 110,000 fans, show that he is in the sort of form that convinced Ferguson to bring him to Old Trafford in the first place.
The quest for a central midfielder looks like it could be on hold too with Darren Fletcher – who captained United against Madrid – looking back to full fitness and pulling all the strings from a deep-lying role.
Ander Herrera has been hugely impressive so far and even Wilfried Zaha looked like the player we were all told he’d be during his striking cameo against Inter Milan.
Add to the mix Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Adnan Januzaj all playing in their favoured positions and it’s hard to disagree with Van Gaal.
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