The worst kept secret in football at the moment is that Manchester United are in desperate need of some new players. They are coming off their worst season in Premier League history, have sacked the chosen replacement for Sir Alex Ferguson and will not be playing in a European competition for the first time since the 1989-1990 season when English teams were still banned following the Heysel disaster.
The new man in the Old Trafford hot seat is Louis van Gaal, with the Dutchman set to take over the reins once he returns from his duties as Holland boss at the World Cup. He has an immediate task on his hands as not only will he have to assess his new squad with less of a pre-season due to the tournament in Brazil, but he will also have to get the transfer wheels in motion quickly to avoid a disappointing window like last year.
Many people think that the first stage of David Moyes' downfall was his and Ed Woodward's poor handling of the summer transfer window, with Marouane Fellaini the only new recruit for an over-inflated price. It had all the hallmarks of a 'panic' buy and he never settled into the team.
Louis van Gaal is surely too experienced to allow the same thing to happen this summer however, the Dutch tactician faces a different obstacle altogether, in that the whole world knows United are in desperate need of new recruits and they will see it as a chance to get as much money as they can from one of the richest clubs in the world. Van Gaal will face over-inflated prices for any players he pursues and it may lead to him having to rethink his transfer policy.
Right from the start of the transfer window, United have been linked to many players, none more so than Luke Shaw. The young England left back has been touted as a potential £27 million signing which is a huge amount of money for a full back. I appreciate that he is 18 and already a full international so at least he has a sell-on value but it is still an awful lot of money.
United may end up in a similar situation to that of their neighbours from the blue half of Manchester, who when the world knew that they had millions at their disposal following their takeover, ended up paying over the odds for several players. Joleon Lescott has never been worth £22million, £18million each on both Jo and Roque Santa Cruz for a return of seven goals between them is not value for money, and £12million on Wayne Bridge all show how you can overspend when clubs know that you have the money.
United are slightly different in that they are as rich as they have always been, this time they are desperate for new players. Every central midfielder in Europe has not only been linked with the Old Trafford club, but they have also had about £10million added to their 'value'.
Louis van Gaal has a reputation for putting his trust in youth and giving them their chance to shine in the first team. Will he use this opportunity to do just that with United to avoid paying over they odds to reinforce his squad? Whatever he does, he needs to be prepared to pay a little bit extra if he does his business this summer.
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