The heartbreak of losing the title on the last day, in the very last minute, is something that can't be gotten over easily. Throwing away an 8-pt lead, so uncharacteristically, and losing the title on mere goal difference, seems to have spurred Sir Alex's desire to win even more. So much so, that he has bought in as many as 5 players to Old Trafford, an unprecedented number in recent years (in a single transfer window), and today I write about each of them and the role they are now expected to perform in the coming years at Old Trafford.
1) Angelo Henriquez
The 18-year-old, former Universidad de Chile striker is indeed a player signed with an eye for the future. Known for his poacher like quality, Henriquez is lethal in and around the box, already displaying it amply in his short tenure in the first team at Universidad. Slotting in for Eduardo Vargas, sold to Napoli in 2011, Gohan, as he is popularly known in Chile, scored an astonishing 14 goals in 25 appearances, an unheard feat for one so young. Obviously, having played in Chile, and being hust 18, Angelo won't be thrown into the deep end at United. Some physical toughening up, and also acclimatising to the conditions of England is required. However, having joined a team known for its famed youth setup, Henriquez will be provided more than enough reasons to shine and realize his potential.
2) Nick Powell
As many young players bought into the United setup for most of Sir Alex's regime, Nick Powell possesses the ability to play in more than one positions across the pitch. A player who is comfortable, playing either as an attacking midfielder or down the right wing, Powell is a man for the future. There is an element of transition, from boy-to-man, that Powell has to undergo, a maturity to be attained, before he could be a first team regular at United. However, this 18-year-old player does have the ability and potential to succeed and I do look forward to see him succeed at Old Trafford.
3) Alexander Buttner
Büttner, signed from the Dutch club, Vitesse, is primarily a purchase to cover for Patrice Evra. Evra, who has featured as many as 141 times for United in the past 3 seasons has experienced a steady decline in form over the last season. Büttner, a player who is known for his cool headed approach to the game, has the ability as well as the temperament to succeed at United. A player, who can also slot in at right back, Büttner, will now have to step up his game and adjust to the physicality of the English Premier League. Providing much needed competition to Evra, after Fabio joined QPR on loan and Ezekiel Fryers, an exciting youth prospect joining Standard Liege, the 23-year-old Büttner will feature often in the United first team, and I do hope that he will perform admirably at Old Trafford.
4) Shinji Kagawa
A lot had been said about United's apparent lack of creativity at the center of the park last season and Shinji Kagawa has been bought in just to perform such a role. Signed from Borrusia Dortmund, 23-year-old Japanese international, Kagawa scored 21 times in only 49 appearances for the German champions. A goal-scoring midfielder, he is known for his vision, technique, movement and deft passing. His maneuverability in tight spaces and penchant for killer passes around the attacking third, and also his excellent defensive work-rate has already made Kagawa a firm fan favourite. A successful pre-season and an already budding partnership with his team mates, Kagawa, who scored his first Premier league goal, last week, in his Old Trafford has all the qualities in him to become a Manchester United legend in the coming years.
5) Robin van Persie
The 29-year-old Dutch hitman, Robin van Persie, will really be a welcome addition to the star studded United line-up. Scoring as many as 37 goals for the Gunners last season, Persie has now teamed up with Wayne Rooney, who himself scored as many as 34 goals last season. With the addition of Kagawa, United now possess one of the most lethal strike forces in Europe. Having spent as many as 8 seasons at the Emirates, and winning nothing, the "little boy" inside Robin urged him to sign up for the 19 times English champions. Having been awarded the no. 20 jersey, in United's quest of their 20th title, van Persie seems to have done the right thing, listening to that "little boy".
image: © Marcel Sigg