Manchester United’s summer is off to a great start, having already agreed to a deal for Memphis Depay. And the scary part for the rest of the Premier League and Europe is that the club is just getting started.
The Red Devils are set for a summer of absurd spending. And consider what “absurd” means at a club that hasn’t spent less than 50 million pounds in transfer fees in five years and dropped a cool 146 million pounds last summer alone.
Louis van Gaal has made his unhappiness with his squad perfectly clear. He thinks the team has holes in defense, needs to rebuild its midfield and has already added to the attack with Depay. That doesn’t even account for the potential purchase of a goalkeeper, which will become a necessity if David De Gea leaves for Real Madrid.
Van Gaal also doesn’t care much for money – as in he’s willing to spend a lot of it on players, then bury those players if they aren’t paying well, price be damned. He spent 28 million pounds on Luke Shaw last summer, but he was crap so he didn’t get to play. And Ángel di María, well, he’s been rather cozy on the bench with his nearly 60 million pound transfer fee hanging over his head. Prices don’t matter to van Gaal. He’ll spend what he wants, play who he wants and come back the next year and ask for the checkbook. It may not be the most prudent financial strategy, but he’s won his fair share of trophies and now has Manchester United back in the Champions League.
Manchester United will pay PSV a reported 22 million pounds for Depay (below), which is actually decent value*. Next up may be Mats Hummels, who has been ready to make the jump to Old Trafford for nearly a year now, and it will only cost the Red Devils about 32 million. Would you look at that, Man United are already over 55 million for the summer!
* The reported £130,000-per-week wages may wipe out that reasonable transfer fee.
But Hummels isn’t enough to fix the United defense. It still needs a right back, with Nathaniel Clyne on the shopping list at a reported 18 million pounds. Then there’s the matter of the midfield, where Marco Verratti, Koke and Arturo Vidal are all linked. Luka Modrić may join the mix, too. And what do those players have in common, besides being extremely good? They’d all cost in excess of 30 million pounds, and possibly as much as 50 million.
If only Manchester United would stop there. Instead, it’ll kick the tires on Gareth Bale, who would cost a cool 80 million pounds. That sounds insane, but with Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie possibly on the way out, Depay won’t be enough. Bale could be it, or the 40-million-rated Edison Cavani could be the answer. Paulo Dybala is the Red Devils’ “cheap” option, at 30 million pounds.
Hell, the only thing stopping United from going after Paul Pogba is ego, having let him walk for free a few years ago. That the price tag exceeds 50 million pounds isn’t the issue tells you all you need to know about the Red Devils in 2015.
And while Manchester United tries to figure out just how many hundreds of millions of pounds they will spend this summer before wages, Manchester City is sitting there across town trying to sort out Financial Fair Play and who they have to sell if they want to buy anyone. That’s not a problem for the United, with over 450 million pounds in revenue last year, a number that will skyrocket next year when their new adidas kit deal kicks in, TV money climbs ever higher and the team returns to the Champions League.
Manchester United is a money-making machine and it’s pouring that money back into the team. Van Gaal’s most difficult decision is whether he’ll match last year’s nearly 150 million pounds in transfer fees or blow right by it.
Depay is good, but he’s just the beginning. Watch out. Manchester United is coming. It’s that monster hidden underneath those piles of cash you’re going to see roaming Europe this summer.