Football: Meet the Gaalacticos after United makeover

Of the 29-man Manchester United squad from two years ago, only nine players remain at Old Trafford as manager Louis van Gaal bids to configure his own team.
Of the 29-man Manchester United squad from two years ago, only nine players remain at Old Trafford as manager Louis van Gaal bids to configure his own team.PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Louis van Gaal has spent over £250 million on overhauling Man United. Of the 29-man Manchester United squad from two years ago, only nine players remain at Old Trafford as manager Louis van Gaal bids to configure his own team.
Louis van Gaal has spent over £250 million on overhauling Man United. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • As Manchester United are left with only nine players from their English Premier League title-winning squad of two years ago, the club believe that their overhaul is complete.

Louis van Gaal's squad-building is over after he brought in 12 new players for more than £250million (S$541 million) in a year as United manager.

The Dutchman is confident he is close to completing the rebuild that was required on the squad he inherited from David Moyes. In future transfer windows, he will aim to bring in only a smaller number of key, world-class players.

Under Moyes and van Gaal, United have endured back-to-back trophyless seasons, finishing seventh and fourth in England's top-flight respectively.

In terms of honours and personnel, the Red Devils look very different from the United that Alex Ferguson left behind when he retired in May 2013.

  • PLAYERS WHO LEFT THE 2012/2013 SQUAD

  • Goalkeeper: Anders Lindegaard

    Defenders: Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Jonny Evans, Alexander Buttner

    Midfielders: Darren Fletcher, Tom Cleverley, Luis Nani, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Anderson, Shinji Kagawa

    Forwards: Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, Bebe, Angelo Henriquez, Federico Macheda

  • THOSE STILL THERE

    Wayne Rooney, Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, David de Gea, Sam Johnstone, Nick Powell.

Just nine of the Scot's 29-man group remain at Old Trafford - goalkeepers David de Gea and Anders Lindegaard; defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling; midfielders Michael Carrick, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Nick Powell; as well as forward Wayne Rooney.

Van Gaal has been responsible for most of the culling, with more than 20 players allowed to leave since he replaced Moyes.

While the manager failed to land the elite attacker he had targeted this summer - with Barcelona's Neymar and Real Madrid's Gareth Bale topping his list of targets - it is understood he is particularly content with this summer.

The squad were strengthened at right-back, central midfield and in attack, with six new players coming in - Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin, Matteo Darmian, Sergio Romero and Anthony Martial.

In his first summer in charge, van Gaal also added six new faces to the squad: Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Angel di Maria, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Radamel Falcao on loan.

Both di Maria - the British record £59.7 million signing last season from Real - and Falcao have since moved on.

But van Gaal remains free to invest again in other "Gaalacticos".

The belief at the club, however, is that the major surgery needed - because of the weaknesses left behind when Ferguson retired and which his successor Moyes failed to remedy - has now been addressed.

The question is whether that will be proven to be true. So far, statistics show that van Gaal and Moyes have almost identical records.

Both reached 50 United games - as van Gaal did in the 1-2 defeat by Swansea last weekend - recording 27 wins.

Van Gaal might have got three more draws than the current Real Sociedad manager but he spent much more.

Each point in the Dutchman's era has cost United £3.36 million - twice the amount it did under Moyes (£1.18 million), reported the Telegraph.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2015, with the headline 'Meet the Gaalacticos after United makeover'. Print Edition | Subscribe