clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Morgan Schneiderlin just one part of Louis van Gaal's second Manchester United overhaul

New, comments

While Manchester United are on the cusp of signing Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton, Louis van Gaal has further changes to make to establish a United side in his own image.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

Few things are certainties, except a select few Ferguson sides, but nevertheless, Morgan Schneiderlin's arrival can be celebrated. Schneiderlin will take on the void not plugged properly since Owen Hargreaves briefly filled an area of poverty left since Roy Keane did a decade ago.

With that caveat out of the way, a player capable of taking, giving and carrying from holding midfield while enjoying the required presence, speed and bite is something United have, for the most part with Michael Carrick, had to do without. Louis van Gaal apparently prioritised a right-footed midfielder (or a number 6, as the tactics bods call it)-  with good reason. Since well before David Moyes took over the impossible job of keeping all of Ferguson's plates spinning, United's midfield over the years has characterised the wider issue of endemic staleness brought about and equally patched up by a peerless manager. He had managed with slim midfield resources and the occasional masterstroke, such as, most recently, Robin van Persie.

In the main, United have not been fun to watch or obviously progressive for a good while. Schadenfreude being your primary source of comfort in a season speaks for itself. Now, it could be Schneiderlin.

United can finally relish change - and all the exciting uncertainties it brings - with a manager who has the balls and ambition to do it. There will be more casualties, good and bad; Valencia and Rafael.

This is progress. Van Gaal steadily securing the modern fabled trophy of fourth place last season with a team, akin to a mille-feuille, comprising so many fragile layers in its expensive whole. He provided the consistency along with De Gea's icing to stop it all collapsing again. Just. They're delicate things. Now he can fully preside over and shape his team how he sees fit. Now he can add Schneiderlin to Herrera and suddenly central midfield looks healthy, especially if a big hitter swiftly follows the Frenchman in. Is this an éclair, to carry on the metaphor? No, it is a football team.

United currently being United, that is only one factor. Memphis Depay already addresses, presumably, the creativity and spark lacking on the wings since Nani was playing on the right regularly. And aside from the wee area behind the striker, attention is needed elsewhere everywhere. A goalscorer needs to usurp Rooney before he becomes United's Steven Gerrard. More pressingly, the defence desperately requires a leader in the middle, acutely so with De Gea off, and, sadly, a replacement right-back. Rafael under Van Gaal and made good again, least for a continuation of identity, would be joyous - imagine - but accepting he is unlikely to be risked during the current state of things is to be expected.

Van Gaal should be able to bring in the players he wants. Perhaps what will be revealing are those consequently reduced to excellent squad members, in terms of his immediate plans and a glimpse at the future. United should have a great squad, not just a few great players. There are one or two who featured heavily last season who ought not to be so prominent, but do not deserve to be expunged. Equally, who is promoted within is of importance and, based on the end of last season, we should see more of Andreas Pereira.

New players coming in now have a much improved chance to settle, even if there are to be numerous long-term additions, compared to the last two seasons. Assuming the headache of a Champions League qualifier is negotiated, United can look forward to a fully fleshed season and, ideally, some watchable football along the way more often than not.

Van Gaal is doing his own bidding, others are following. It'll be fascinating seeing change being administered, finally.