Analysis

Open and shut: How the 'Big 5' did in the transfer window

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Manchester United

  • Big hopes in: Anthony Martial (AS Monaco) £36m, Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven) £25m, Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich) £14.4m, Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton) £25m, Sergio Romero (Sampdoria) free.
  • Big names out: Angel Di Maria (PSG) £46m, Robin van Persie (Fenerbahce) £4.7m, Jonny Evans (West Brom) undisclosed, Adnan Januzaj (Borussia Dortmund) loan, Javier Hernandez (Bayer Leverkusen) £7.3m.
  • Net spend: £43.4m

Thank goodness for Memphis Depay. It is hard to put into words just how confusing United’s dealings have been in recent months. It all started so well when Depay nominated the Red Devils as his club of choice back in early June. It was billed as another important piece in United’s move back towards the elite of English football.

There were some hiccups along the way, particularly with Di Maria’s desperate plea to get out of Manchester and then Sergio Ramos’ apparent manipulation of the club to improve his situation at Real Madrid. Both put dents in the English giants’ reputation.

The arrival of two European stars in Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin was again a step forward and then everyone waited for the huge signing that would tie it all together. Yet perhaps we should have been listening to Louis van Gaal all along. He insisted in press conference after press conference he didn’t need any help up front. As if to somehow underline that, he then shipped Chicharito out to Germany and allowed Januzaj – who scored the only goal in the week-two victory over Aston Villa – to follow him.

The confusion then reached Cuckoo’s Nest proportions when the club spent £36m on Martial, a French teenager playing at Monaco. It led to the bizarre situation of Van Gaal having to reveal he had in fact previously monitored the 19-year-old for some time and it wasn’t just a panic buy. He was then handed the club’s No.9 shirt, so no pressure! Considering United’s rich history, far be it from us to doubt the club’s recent moves. Depay is a gun and Martial could form a frightening partnership with him in the years to come. But there aren’t too many United fans – and we know plenty of them – who are content with their work in this transfer window.

Transfer rating: C+. Depay gave them extra credit.

Predicted finish: 4th. Again it's difficult to predict where United will finish right now. If Rooney gets injured, where do the goals come from? On the other hand, if Martial contributes and Depay continues his hot start, perhaps they could push further up the table.

Depay's early form has at least offered encouragement to confused United fans