In the midst of the frenzy that is the World Cup in Brazil, rumours continue to swirl regarding Manchester United’s transfer negotiations. Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has, reportedly, been busy in recent days. Thursday, he wrapped up a £29 million deal with Athletic Bilbao to bring central midfielder Ander Herrera to Old Trafford. Now, it appears as if left back Luke Shaw will be soon to follow. A £30 million transfer fee has apparently been reached with Southampton, and Shaw is reported to have passed his medical on Thursday afternoon. These dealings, of course, have probably been done by Woodward with limited communication with his new manager Louis van Gaal, who is still in Brazil with the Dutch team.
The Herrera transfer came as somewhat of a surprise to Man United fans, as the entire process was supposedly completed in under a week. There were few rumours about the sale; there were none of the leaks the press has released about the Shaw transfer. Woodward, who often draws the ire of his club’s supporters, deserves praise for the apparent efficiency with which he signed Herrera. Athletic Bilbao are notoriously hard to deal with in transfer talks, and have a reputation for being reluctant to sell their players. This sale was no different, considering the difficulty Woodward faced regarding Herrera’s buyout clause and Spanish taxes. In fact, Athletic appeared to poke fun at United, publicly rejecting the first transfer offer on Twitter.
Signing Herrera is a very good step forward for the Red Devils. The club is, and has been for a while, very thin in central midfield. After failing to properly address the problem last summer – including an unsuccessful attempt to pry Herrera from Bilbao – Woodward has finally made great progress in solving the issue. While the Spaniard certainly doesn’t instantly fix United’s midfield, he’ll definitely help. Herrera brings some much-needed creativity to the centre of the pitch, and should be very effective in creating chances for the likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie up front. At 24 years old, he’s likely to command the midfield for a good few years.
Southampton’s Luke Shaw was reportedly at United’s training ground at Carrington on Thursday for his medical examination. There have been rumblings for weeks that the transfer is all but complete, pending his return from the World Cup. With England’s disappointing early departure from Brazil, Shaw returned just a few days ago. So, it now looks like the process is again moving forward. It wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see the sale officially announced on Friday.
Shaw, as well, would be a great signing for Woodward. United will have quite a weak back four this season, so Shaw’s contribution could be huge. The England left back is very strong defensively, and will fill another gap in United’s lineup. His pace and ball control are also very good, meaning he’s capable of wandering out occasionally. Since Shaw is just 18, he will probably be a key piece in the back line at Old Trafford for years to come.
In terms of other possible transfer targets, United continue to be linked with midfielder Arturo Vidal of Juventus, as well as Bayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger, as well as many others. Of course, those sagas are likely to heat up one the World Cup ends. Two big signings in one week is phenomenal for Woodward and United, however there are still some pieces needed to truly solve the team’s woes. It’s probably quite safe to say that Ed Woodward and Louis van Gaal still have work to do, and are in no way done.
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