Louis van Gaal could sensationally part ways with the duo of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling as he attempts to reconfigure his failing Manchester United defence.
According to incredible reports coming from Holland, as relayed by the Daily Star, Van Gaal is keen on capturing the illustrious pairing of Mats Hummels and Diego Godin, and is willing to sacrifice two England internationals to achieve his goal.
Van Gaal's overhaul
After being announced as David Moyes’ successor in the summer Van Gaal spent over £150 million on new recruits to begin a famous overhaul of United’s squad. A host of defenders, including Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Luke Shaw, were purchased during the spree, and yet the Red Devils still look extremely shaky when on the back foot.
The report in question makes the proclamation that as a result Van Gaal wants to instigate more large-scale changes this summer, and Jones and Smalling are two players who find their heads dangerously close to the executioner’s block.
It’s purported, albeit rather whimsically, that neither man has shown their manager they’re up to the task of playing in his preferred 3-5-2 system, and that’s a sad fact the Dutchman is none to happy with.
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The replacements ready
Their wanted replacements, Hummels and Godin, both have plenty of experience in Europe at the highest level and, though neither has featured in the Premier League before, have proven time and again to be difference-makers within their respective squads.
Hummels is a player more comfortable with the ball at his feet, and his natural leadership qualities would certainly bolster a department that United have been seeking improvement for since the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
Meanwhile Godin has carved out an impregnable reputation under Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid, and his status as one of their key players only continues to be enhanced.
It all seems a bit rash
Whether or not such drastic measures will be Van Gaal’s primary path of choice remains to be seen, but it’s fairly easy to view the speculation with a rather sceptical eye. Not only are Jones and Smalling both well-like amongst the fans but Jones has been considered the heir apparent to United’s back-line since his arrival from Blackburn.
It was Sir Alex Ferguson who tipped him to become a legend, claiming that he had the potential to be one of the club’s best ever players. In reflection it’s wise to steer clear of that superlative, but he’s still young and learning his trade, and it would seem a very strange decision were Van Gaal to strike him out, even with the replacements in question lined up.