This summer Manchester United fans have seen centre-backs Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic leave the club which has led to the Red Devils being linked to a host of defenders including Mats Hummels and Thomas Vermaelen.
United have always prided themselves in their academy which has produced countless stars and the latest generation of future stars is coming through.
Should Van Gaal spend or look to youth?
One of them is Tyler Blackett who can play as a full-back or a centre-back. However, do Manchester United splash the cash or should they turn to their academy?
If Van Gaal continues to deploy the 3-5-2 formation as he has done in pre-season then there will be huge pressure on the shoulders of Jones, Smalling and Evans who are the only three centre-backs at the club with experience at the top level. Furthermore Jones is injury prone at times so Blackett should see plenty of first-team action.
Blackett impressive in pre-season
Blackett has impressed in pre-season with assured performances against some of Europe’s top clubs such as Real Madrid and domestic rivals Liverpool. Last night he played the full 90 minutes against Valencia where he was solid defensively but also contributed to the attacking play. Furthermore van Gaal has a history of using young players and gave the likes of Muller, Puyol and Xavi their debuts.
Blackett has a great advantage in terms of size. Standing at just over 6ft the 20-year-old already has the physical make-up of a towering central defender. He has Football League experience from his loan spells at Blackpool and Birmingham City last season and is also capped at England Under-16, Under-17, Under-18 and Under-19 level. Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail has even tipped him to break into the England squad this season.
Another centre-back is a must
However, despite all this I think that it is important to not overhype youngsters too much and that Van Gaal should look at getting one centre-back before the transfer window shuts to add depth to the squad but also to guide to the young defenders such as Blackett and Keane.
The duo will be good squad players who will gain experience from the other players in the senior squad.