Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal described Angel Di Maria’s recent £44.3million departure to Paris Saint Germain as a 'big loss'.
Although the Argentinian international’s season at Old Trafford was disappointing to say the least, he possesses a pace and dynamism that the likes of Juan Mata can’t provide.
Van Gaal has openly expressed his desire to acquire an attacking player with “speed and creativity” this summer and, after Premier League rivals Chelsea agreed a deal to sign Barcelona forward Pedro, United have been forced to look elsewhere, with reports suggesting that a bid has been made for Southampton’s Sadio Mane.
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WHAT HAPPENED TO PEDRO?
Pedro has proved for many years now that he has the pedigree to perform at the highest level, winning countless European and domestic titles with Barcelona as well as both the European Championships and the World Cup with Spain.
The word from Old Trafford is that the money to activate Pedro’s release clause was available and Spanish reports suggested that United’s chief executive Ed Woodward had flown to Spain to negotiate a potential deal.
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However, Van Gaal himself declared that he did not like Pedro as a player, which resulted in the club dropping all interest in the Spanish winger and paving the way for Chelsea to swoop in.
MANE IS AVERAGE AT BEST
Many United fans have been left surprised and bewildered by their club’s subsequent interest in Mane, with some on social media even comparing United’s transferred interest from Pedro to Mane with the replacing of a Ferrari with a Fiat Cinquecento.
Whilst the argument can be made that Mane has played in the Premier League prior to this season and done pretty well, netting 10 times in 30 appearances last campaign, the truth is that Mane simply isn’t in the same league as a player like Pedro.
The Senegalese international does have frightening pace and would undoubtedly provide the speed that Van Gaal is desperately looking for, but the 23-year-old wouldn’t be a marquee signing if he arrived at Old Trafford this summer and quite frankly I don’t think that he is good enough to play for a club of the stature and ambition of United.
Van Gaal is right when he says that United need to inject some pace into their attacking play, and lots of Red Devils fans joined the throng of excitement on Tuesday night when Antoine Griezmann hailed Wayne Rooney’s exquisite back-heel against Club Brugge on Twitter.
Of course, there’s not a chance that Atletico Madrid would even consider letting the 24-year-old forward move to Old Trafford and he hasn’t been linked with any transfer moves this summer. That said, the Frenchman is an illustration of the class of player that United should be looking for.
Someone who has been frequently linked with United is German forward Thomas Muller. The 25-year-old certainly knows where the back of the net is and he has worked with Van Gaal before, but both his club Bayern Munich and his coach Pep Guardiola have insisted that Muller is not for sale following firm interest.
Meanwhile, Tottenham’s 21 year-old hero Harry Kane has been on United’s radar throughout the summer. However, the Englishman has expressed his happiness at White Hart Lane and shrewd businessman Daniel Levy has no intention whatsoever of selling his star striker.
UNITED NEED REAL QUALITY
Although United missed out on Pedro, the Spaniard is exactly the calibre of player that they should be trying to bring into the club.
The former Premier League champions need to be targeting world-class talent and hopefully they don’t lower the bar in terms of class and quality by settling for a decent alternative like Mane, who has recently been labelled “not for sale” by Southampton officials, as the end of this summer’s transfer window nears.
United fans, is Mane good enough for your club? Let us know who you would target as Pedro's alternative in the comments box below.