Louis van Gaal's splurge in the transfer market is over with the Dutchman having brought in 12 new players for more than £250 million (€340 million) in his 12 months as Manchester United manager.
Van Gaal is confident he is close to completing the rebuild that was required on the squad he inherited from David Moyes and in future transfer windows will only aim to bring in a smaller number of key players.
While Van Gaal failed to land the elite attacker he had targeted – with Barcelona's Neymar and Real Madrid's Gareth Bale topping his list of targets – it is understood the manager is particularly content with this summer. The squad was strengthened at right-back, central midfield and in attack, with six new players coming in – Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin, Matteo Darmian, Sergio Romero and Anthony Martial.
In his first summer in charge Van Gaal also added six new faces to the squad:
, Ander Herrera, Angel di Maria, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Radamel Falcao on loan.
The total cost has been £252.7 million (€344.1 million) though Van Gaal has also allowed more than 20 players to leave since he replaced Moyes. He remains free to invest again and there is still a sizeable budget should he wish to use it.
However, the belief at the club is that the major surgery needed because of the weaknesses left when Sir Alex Ferguson retired and which his successor Moyes failed to remedy has now been addressed.
Van Gaal had targeted Sergio Ramos as part of any deal that would take David de Gea to Real Madrid. When it became clear the central defender would remain at the Spanish club the manager decided against moving for another centre-back as beyond Ramos there was not a second choice he favoured.
Manchester City signed Nicolas Otamendi for £32 million (€43.5 million) from Valencia but he was never a target for Van Gaal as the manager believed only Ramos would bolster United's central defence.
Van Gaal, who has deployed Daley Blind at centre-back this season, is content with the number of defenders he has at his disposal. After De Gea’s move to Real fell through in dramatic – and farcical – fashion on Monday evening the goalkeeper remained at United. Yet despite Van Gaal having dropped him for the first five matches of the campaign following questions over the Spaniard’s focus the manager has no long-standing issue with De Gea.
The manager believes it is a massive boost that a keeper considered one of the world’s finest has remained at the club and that he will be an asset this season as Van Gaal seeks to make United serious contenders in the Premier League and Champions League and to challenge for a domestic cup.
Van Gaal is ready to reinstate De Gea as his number one and drop Romero, who has replaced him, should the 24-year-old reach the high standards that made him the club’s player of the year for the past two seasons.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque meanwhile, has urged De Gea to put his failed transfer to Real Madrid behind him and focus on being a “good professional”.
“I don’t want to say anything drastic about what we will do,” Del Bosque, who has hinted De Gea will not be selected if he is not playing regularly, told Spanish radio. We have to wait and see what happens and the important thing is that David . . . looks to the future and is a good professional. We have to hope that David can play for [United] and is active so we can count on him in future. . .” Guardian Service