After a slow start to the season, in which Memphis Depay was an early but apparently isolated signing, United have upped the ante over the last week.
Matteo Darmian was signed over the weekend, before Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger of Southampton and Bayern Munich respectively, joined the Old Trafford giants earlier in the week [Daily Mail].
The trio of new recruits are currently in the United States on the club’s preseason tour, but none of them can afford to take things easy following van Gaal’s latest comments.
Speaking to the Mirror, the Dutch coach has confirmed that no one in his squad can be sure of their place in the team, and has forecast that competition will be pierce this season.
“I had already said that our selection [squad] was unbalanced and I had also mentioned that I wanted to make that balance with midfielders, so you could expect that I shall buy two holding midfielders,” he began, discussing the arrivals of the French and German internationals.
“Schneiderlin is the type that I think can play in our system and in our philosophy and Manchester United only buy players who can make a contribution to that. We’re not buying for [the sake of] buying,” he contined.
“Every player who is here can make that contribution. But they know already – and I have said this to the players – that you have to fight for your position.
“Never is it secure in top sport – even my position is not secure, as you know. But also the players, the players have to fight.”
Van Gaal went on to identify a few players who may not face increased competition for their place in the team.
“Schneiderlin has to fight with Schweinsteiger, Michael Carrick and Daley Blind. These are the players who can play in the centre of midfield.
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“Darmian has to fight with Antonio Valencia for the right-back role. He knows that, but Valencia knows that also. Carrick knows it also, because at the end of the season I have told him.”
Indeed, while the coach’s words appear to indicate that he intends to retain the Ecuador international, it would appear that Rafael—who has been linked with a move to a series of new clubs [Metro]—may have no future at Old Trafford.
The coach has demonstrated his ruthlessness with the decision to dump Robin van Persie, selling his compatriot to Fenerbahce [Mirror], while Victor Valdes [BBC] and Javier Hernandez [Daily Star] have also been linked with the exit door.