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Jack Lang: Wayne Rooney could be Manchester United’s trump card

23 Jul | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Jack Lang: Wayne Rooney could be Manchester United’s trump card

Louis van Gaal has splashed the cash on four new players, but the decision to play his star man up front next term could be his biggest call of the summer

Watching football is all well and good, but it cannot compete with the primeval thrill of observing people obsessing over the transfer market.

Now, in July, we find ourselves bang in the middle of silly season.

People are clambering over one another to hear the latest rumours first, elbowing people out the way so they can be the first to imagine how Luka Modric or Pele or Florence Nightingale could possibly fit into the Doncaster midfield.

The internet is a big bottle of soda, shaken up in the summer sun. That rhythmic rumble you can hear in the distance is the sound of a generation of football fans hitting the refresh key in unison.

In the last few weeks, Louis van Gaal has emerged as something of a patron saint for a hefty subsection of those afflicted.

The Manchester United manager has been busier than most since the end of the 2014/15 campaign, splashing the cash on Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin.

It would be hard to argue that United’s squad did not need sprucing up. The midfield has been an area of weakness since the final indulgences of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, while Van Gaal clearly did not fancy Rafael Da Silva’s talent to ever trump his raffish charm.

There remain question marks in defence, but perhaps the biggest question in the days and months to come will be whether United sign another striker.

The mathematics of the thing suggest they must: with Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao departed, only Wayne Rooney, James Wilson and the returning Javier Hernandez separate United from the murky waters of playing Depay, Marouane Fellaini or even Adnan Januzaj up front.

Van Gaal has hinted that he may have something up his sleeve, sending the online sleuths wild with talk of a “secret striker”. But there would be advantages to sticking with what he has. Wilson could finally get the opportunity for which he has waited. Hernandez is a useful guy to have around, not least on an interpersonal level.

The main beneficiary, of course, would be Rooney. Van Gaal has already intimated that the days of the England man dropping back into midfield are over, meaning he will be the focal point in the United attack. With such little competition, the guarantee of starts should help him rediscover the goalscoring touch that saw him net 26 league goals in 2009/10 and 27 two seasons later.

Aside from all the actual new faces, Rooney could be like a new signing for United. That’s a cliche, of course, but then this is the season to indulge in such fripperies.

16/1 – Wayne Rooney to be the Premier League’s top scorer

Manchester United v Barcelona