The 2014/15 campaign saw Manchester United get off to a rocky start, with just 3 wins in their opening 10 games. They were hit hard by a series of injuries and were still very much in a transitional period that began around the time that Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down as manager. Towards the end of the season however, after successive wins against Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City, there was a real sense of belief amongst the fans and players, and faith in manager Louis van Gaal was sky high.
Ahead of next season, the signing of Memphis Depay has already been confirmed and United have been linked to a number of big players including Southampton centre-midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin and centre-backs Nicolas Otamendi and Sergio Ramos. It’s clear that United have big money to spend this summer and will do whatever it takes to bring in the players required for a successful 2015/16 campaign.
STAR MAN – Wayne Rooney (10.5m)
The Manchester United captain was criticised somewhat last season for his lack of goals. He was however their top goal scorer, with 12 Premier League goals from 33 appearances. It’s important to take into account that the England forward was played in a centre-midfield role for 14 of those appearances, which understandably reduced his ability to produce goals and assists.
With the club looking almost certain to bring in a big signing to play in that position next season and passing up the opportunity to make Radamel Falcao’s loan deal permanent, Rooney looks set for a run of games in his preferred forward role, which will certainly increase his FPL potential.
HIDDEN GEM – Memphis Depay (8.5m)
Although the former PSV winger comes to United with a fairly big reputation, it might come as a surprise to some that Depay was statistically the best free kick taker in Europe last season. He scored 7 goals from a total of 30 direct free kicks, compared with Lionel Messi’s 2 from 35 attempts and Cristiano Ronaldo’s 1 from 31.
Overall, Depay managed 22 goals and 5 assists from 30 league appearances last season and registered a very impressive average of 5.4 shots per game, so he looks like the type of player Manchester United have been crying out for. His ability to take a good free kick will likely see him take over set-pieces and could potentially secure him a place in Louis van Gaal’s starting XI next season, ahead of Ashley Young. Maybe he’s not a player to gamble on from the off, but he is certainly one to keep your eye on.
By Ryan Cook.