Manchester United supporters must have been relieved to have been notified of the signings of two big names - Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao- after a disastrous start to the 2014/15 Premier League season, let alone a seventh-place finish under David Moyes the previous year. After countless success, this sudden plummet would have been highly unprecedented just six or seven years ago after the club had won both the Premier League and Champions League in the same season, with a team boasting the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney. However, many fans believed after the 4-0 hammering of QPR that this would be the start of possibly a new era for United. The big names to boast about in the first team, and even on the bench, such as Robin van Persie, Angel Di Maria and Juan Mata indicates the sides true power and the attacking nucleus Louis van Gaal is trying to build around. After all, that amount of talent is what almost £200 million of summer spending buys you – a record amount for a Premier League club in one window, although as demonstrated by other big-spending clubs in the past, such as PSG and rivals like Chelsea and perhaps even Liverpool and Tottenham, big-spending doesn’t guarantee you success. Look no further than the plight of QPR in the 2012/2013 season for an example of this, whose desperate spending still ended in relegation.
United fans would be forgiven for thinking that not even finishing in the Europa League spots would mean that they would have to venture on the same mid-table path, which arch-rivals Liverpool took on in previous years before last seasons’ second-place finish. Signs of promise, however slow, have been shown. Although many references to the club’s disastrous 2013/14 have been brought up time and time again. After years of paying over-inflated prices on mediocre English talent like Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll, it seemed last season that everything had clicked for Liverpool. It had looked like United had been taking a similar approach to Liverpool’s over-inflated purchases before the big-name signings of Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao propelled the club in a new direction. Could United take a similar path as Liverpool in climbing immediately from the depths of mid-table and no European football to a top-four, top-three or even top-two finish? Possibly- if the poor performances are limited, and the type of football delivered wins against Everton and QPR, and not the style as shown against Leicester and Swansea. Furthermore, a top-four finish looks more likely at this point of time than finishing outside of the top-four for another consecutive season, given Liverpool’s poor form.
Moreover, this attacking spine which van Gaal has built has also been liquefied by the signings of Ander Herrera and Daley Blind, leading the club to that ever sort after ‘pure football’ approach undertaken by clubs such as Barcelona and rivals Manchester City in recent seasons. Angel Di Maria had been near the top of the assist’s charts in La Liga for the past couple of seasons before his arrival, whilst impressive World Cup performances from Daley Blind under van Gaal himself lead to his entrance.
However, as stated, big money has been spent by United this summer, with approximate figures of around £200 million, the highest of any Premier League club in history in a single window. Manchester United supporters may now be hypocritical, considering their labelling of rivals Manchester City and Chelsea as ‘buying the league’ when their own club have now spent the record amount in a single window. This new, gambling approach undertaken by United has marked a new era for the club, whilst this also contributes to the assemblage of one of the most exciting squads in the world, adding to the Premier League collection of Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool already on display – if they continue to add more big names to it.