Vlaar or Shawcross + Injuries all round

Good morning. I try and write a daily column as often as I can but some weeks are more difficult than others.

The reason there hasn’t been much on the blog of late is because we are in a transitional period with a redesign coming very soon. Once that is up and ready for our readers I will be looking for feedback and this column will become a lot more frequent.

Social feeds were full of torment when Ed Woodward said Manchester United are unlikely to make any signings in the upcoming January transfer window. Frustration was fuelled by the club’s revenue decreasing dramatically due to a failure in qualifying for the Champions League. The drop in figures can also be explained by the fortune spent during the summer but that’s being reported by few outlets.

Speaking on the day United announced a 9.9% fall in revenue to £88.7m, Woodward said:

“We are not looking to enter the market for short-term fixes.”

“However, we have targets we are looking at for next summer. Should any of them become available in January, which is obviously rare, we will consider acting. But it is a low probability.”

While this pissed a lot of reds off it’s not surprising. We spent a considerable amount of money during the summer and the Glazers would prefer not to see a repeat of that ever again. That notion aside, although it must be considered with their leach like ways, United should be in a better position.

I would argue that not spending because of a dip in revenue makes very little sense. Think long term and how much it will decrease if the club fails again to reach the top four. There’s few clubs as big as United and they all go through transitional periods, although that’s not a good enough excuse for dropping points against weaker opponents.

The amount of injuries we have picked up since Louis van Gaal’s arrival – 39 to be precise – has not helped, mind. There is a need for defensive reinforcements and I’d preferably like to see a centre half with leadership qualities.

Ryan Shawcross is not much better than what we already have but there’s no doubt in him being a leader. I would take him any day over Ron Vlaar, who many are touting after a decent World Cup.

Despite not being one complimentary of writers that focus a lot on statistics – the naked eye is much clearer – I was curious to see who would come out on top via Squawka’s Comparison Matrix. Unsurprisingly when defensive duties are called upon Shawcross is the safer bet but he has played an extra 360 minutes this season more than Vlaar, who had an injury early on.

However, it was a surprise not to see the Dutch defender arrive at United along with Louis van Gaal. If it’s not already common knowledge, it’s only a matter of time, but talks within the club have began about signing Vlaar, aged 29, and currently playing at Aston Villa.

It may have been a get out of jail card for the new manager walking into a side with an inexperienced back four having lost key members such as Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra. But, I think you all will agree that we cannot continue to dwell on those three leaving. They’re gone and van Gaal has to work with what is available.

That brings us on to the next topic nicely. Who is available you may ask. Good fuckin’ question.

The most recent international break has added to our nightmare of injuries this season. From David de Gea’s dislocated finger to Daley Blind damaging his knee ligaments; you have to wonder when our break will come.

Manchester United loanee at Sporting Lisbon, Luis Nani, went guns blazing in on Angel Di Maria with studs shown at Old Trafford when Portugal took on and beat Argentina in an international friendly. Amongst spectators was van Gaal whom you’d imagine was least impressed.

Elsewhere, Luke Shaw took a knock in England’s friendly tie against Scotland. Wayne Rooney was amongst the scorers and Chris Smalling put in a good shift.

Adam Durack, a regular on the blog, wrote a piece prior to the game about criticism of Rooney being plain and utter grumpy Englishness. Agree or not, for a player in line for breaking goalscoring records belonging to Sir Bobby Charlton, he’s not doing too bad and took his goal against the Scots very well.

Of course, Wayne comes in for scrutiny at times from United fans. There are a number of us that will never forgive him for wanting out to join City and Chelsea and to see him as captain makes them sick. That’s the thing about us reds; we’re never in full agreement. It’s the beauty of our club being so big and makes blogs like Stretty News, Republik of Mancunia, United Rant and others interesting as different perspectives.

We have a feature ahead of the weekend with some Arsenal bloggers. Stay tuned and enjoy your day.


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More Stories Angel Di Maria Aston Villa Chris Smalling Daley Blind David de Gea Ed Woodward Louis van Gaal Luke Shaw Manchester United Nani Ron Vlaar Ryan Shawcross Stoke City Wayne Rooney