If there is one thing that was evident from last season’s limp displays in the Premier League, it was that Manchester United lacked top-quality wingers thanks to whom they etched their name into the annals of football folklore. The sight of a Manchester United winger tearing down the wings, beating an opposing defender as if he didn’t exist and either putting in a devilish cross or letting loose a cannon of a shot is slowly becoming a remnant of a time long gone.
Although the emergence of Adnan Januzaj provides a glimmer of hope for the future, the ineluctable fact is that the club are in dire need of world-class wingers. But the problem for United is that, given their lack of European football, not many will be too keen on coming to Old Trafford and even the presence of an experienced manager like Louis Van Gaal is unlikely to change the scenario. With Angel Di Maria’s move to PSG, the number of world-class wingers the club can sign is dwindling by the minute.
All is not lost though, as there are still a few options which the club can look into, in their pursuit of wingers who will light up the Old Trafford touch-line and bring back the glory days, when dazzling wingers were an all-too common site. Here are three wingers that the Red Devils can realistically look to sign in this summer, in their bid to improve their squad.
While Switzerland didn’t have the greatest of World Cups, one player who did exhibit his talents to the maximum was Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri. The zippy winger who currently plies his trade at Bayern Munich is one of the few who are feeling the ill-effects of playing in such a vastly talented squad. While he has all the attributes of genuine world class winger, he hasn’t been given the opportunity at the Allianz Arena just as yet.
Capable of playing centrally as well as on the wings, Shaqiri is versatile winger who might just be on the lookout for a regular platform to prove himself. The Red Devils can certainly give him that and given the galaxy of stars at Bayern’s disposals, getting the 22-year-old Swiss winger might not be as difficult as it might seem.
If it is young, quick and direct winger that the Red Devils are after, then they need to look no further than PSV’s Memphis Depay. The Dutch winger, who was given his national team debut by Van Gaal impressed one and all in the recently concluded World Cup. Depay came into the tournament as an outsider, with many claiming whether he would even play any part in the World Cup.
In no time, the 20-year-old Dutchman showed the world exactly what he can do. Whether it was unleashing a venomous long-range effort or slotting the ball in from close range, the winger showed that he had an innate ability to finish off chances. After a brilliant season at PSV, Depay’s form is now at an all-time high and now would be the perfect time to sign this versatile, tricky winger who can finish. Although he has a contract that runs till 2017, he is unlikely to cost a fortune and the fact that he has already worked with Van Gaal means that the club would have on their hands someone to finally replace Ryan Giggs on the left flank.
Yes, I know what you are thinking. Marco Reus isn’t a winger. And yes he isn’t technically available or going to be pretty cheap. And you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking as to why he would move away from Dortmund, especially when the last player United signed from the club is currently on the sidelines at United. But, this is football, we have seen stranger things happen.
While this move might not be an especially lucrative one for Reus in purely footballing terms, the financial package United are likely to offer and the prospect of playing with some world-class players and proving himself outside Germany is one that is likely to please him. If United do get him, they will have a rare breed of player, who is capable of both playing as a central playmaker and as a more traditional winger. His vision, intelligence, ability to pick out his team-mates and finish make him a force to be reckoned with and one that would immeasurably improve the club’s wing-play.