After a seventh place finish, Manchester United took the decision to sack David Moyes and replace him with Dutchman Louis van Gaal. The 63-year-old former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss led the Netherlands to the semi-finals of the World Cup this summer, but with a poor squad at his disposal at Old Trafford, he's embarked on quite the summer spending spree.
£150m has been forked out on the likes of Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao, with United focusing on signing attacking talent rather than improving their questionable defence. Colombian hitman Falcao joins on an initial season-long loan deal from Monaco, and the former Atletico Madrid and Porto star is expected to make a big impact in the Premier League.
Yet in van Gaal's current 3-5-2 system, there is only room for a maximum of three attacking players given that one midfielder is likely to sit behind the front two. That has led United fans to speculate of which combination will be used; Wayne Rooney alongside Falcao up front with Juan Mata behind, or Di Maria behind, or Robin Van Persie and Rooney continuing their partnership with Falcao coming off the bench.
However, Patrick Kluivert believes he knows which pairing van Gaal will go for in attack. The former Barcelona striker was van Gaal's assistant at this summer's World Cup, and given his knowledge of the system in use at Old Trafford, he thinks it will be van Persie and Falcao leading the line.
"Van Gaal will manage to find a balance to his team that’s for sure but with so many great players in his team everyone has to underestimate themselves – the team is the most important thing," Kluivert says. "Some players may prefer to play in the hole behind the strikers and between the midfield but I think Louis has got everything sorted out (in his mind). When he gets a win and then another, more will follow."
“If Robin (van Persie) is one hundred percent fit he’ll probably start because he has the confidence of the trainer and the new signing Falcao is also very important but it will be very easy to play both together up top."
If Kluivert is right, it seems likely that Rooney would play behind the front two, with Angel Di Maria and either Blind or Herrera in midfield. It once again poses questions over the future of Juan Mata at Old Trafford, with the former Chelsea man reportedly a target for Juventus in the upcoming January transfer window.