Former footballers and pundits have been commenting on Manchester United’s new-look and star-studded team following the arrivals of Angel di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Daley Blind among others in the summer transfer window.
And now United legend and former England international midfielder Paul Scholes has had his say on the matter, claiming that manager Louis van Gaal will struggle to accommodate his three forwards in the same starting line-up.
‘At United, on loan for this season initially, Falcao creates competition in United’s forward line’, the 39-year-old wrote in The Independent. ‘There is no way that Louis van Gaal can play Rooney, Robin van Persie and Falcao together. It will have to be two from three and which two it is hard to say as yet’.
Is it really that difficult to play Falcao, Rooney and Van Persie in the same team? If Van Gaal continues with his 3-5-2 formation (which can be modified to a 3-4-1-2 system), then the England international could play just behind the Dutchman and the Colombian star.
Rooney is a centre-forward, but he has shown in the past that he is not someone who is rigid in his playing position. The 28-year-old is willing to feature across the frontline and could be deployed just behind the two strikers.
Or maybe Van Gaal could just change his formation to 4-3-3, allowing Falcao, Rooney and Van Persie to play together in a three-pronged attack. However, that could push attacking midfielder Juan Mata out of the team and onto the substitutes’ bench.
But if Van Gaal does decide to drop one of the three star players, which one will it be? Rooney has been made the captain so he will remain in the team, while Van Persie is one of the Dutchman’s most trusted players.
Could the 63-year-old drop Falcao? That would be a waste – what’s the point of signing one of the top three finishers in the world when you do not have space for him in the starting line-up?
Falcao’s arrival at Old Trafford on a season-long loan deal from AS Monaco coincided with England international striker Danny Welbeck leaving for Arsenal on a permanent basis for a reported transfer fee of £16 million.
Welbeck had been on the books of United since 2001 and made almost 150 competitive appearances, but he was not always played in his natural position. Despite being a forward, the 23-year-old was often deployed on the wings due to which he struggled to score goals.
Scholes, though, believes that at Arsenal he will be given his chances in attack which will help him flourish, although he doubts whether Welbeck will score 20 goals in a single season.
‘Naturally, I was sad, as a United fan, to see Welbeck leave this week’, he wrote. ‘It shows how highly regarded Danny is that a club as big as Arsenal signed him. He will be a good signing for Arsene Wenger. Danny will never be a 20-25 goals-a-season man but he could get Arsenal 10 to 15’.