Louis Van Gaal and Manchester United have weathered their fair share of criticism this summer, as the ethos of the club appears to have changed. Out goes Danny Welbeck, in comes Falcao. Out goes Tom Lawrence, in comes Angel di Maria. Out go the local boys, in come the European stars. It’s just not how it used to be.
United fans have always, somehow, managed to hide behind the likes of Man City and Chelsea, arguing that those were the clubs who ‘buy success’. In amongst the millions that have been spent at the Etihad and Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford’s occasional mega money purchase has not seemed too obscene. Until now.
Of course, the club has steadily built around itself a commercial empire, and many would argue that they are merely reaping the rewards of that. The ‘class of 92’ and co. helped establish the side, and now that times are hard they are flexing their financial muscle to buy their way back up the table. It is also worth remembering that although United have spent a lot of money in transfer windows of the past, they have also made their fair share on sales.
The most lucrative departure was, of course, that of Cristiano Ronaldo. The now-Real Madrid ace was sold for a then world record fee, and is currently considered the world’s best player. The Portuguese star has recently said that he would want to return to United. A move which would be met with massive approval on the terraces, it is also a move that would clearly be possible. In fact, it would be easy.
United are a changed team now. Apparently, if they want Ronaldo, they can get him. On the one hand it’s exciting… But if you are an up and coming player, working in the Carrington youth ranks, then you might be starting to feel that the tides have turned at Old Trafford – and not in your favour.