MANCHESTER, Sporting Alert – Louis van Gaal backed out of signing Pedro from Barcelona this week because he didn’t think Manchester United needed another winger.
The Dutchman revealed earlier in the summer that he needed to add more pace to his current squad and Pedro was identified as the ideal option to strengthen that area.
It was understood that personal terms were agreed to bring the Spanish international to Old Trafford before the end of the transfer window and it looked like a certain thing when the club reportedly sent representatives to Barcelona this week to finalise a deal.
However, news broke on Wednesday that Van Gaal had decided against signing Pedro because he didn’t want to meet £21.4m buy-of-clause in the player’s contract and Barcelona had no plans to negotiate over anything less.
Furthermore, sources are claiming the United manager did not want to bring in another winger, as the battle for playing time in that area intensifies.
MEMPHIS CHANGED VAN GAAL’S MIND ABOUT PEDRO
But it is clear that Van Gaal is now coming to grip that his star summer signing Memphis Depay, who was outstanding in the Champions League play-off stage win over Club Brugge on Tuesday night – is indeed the man he needs to use out wide.
The manager tried Depay in the No.10 position behind Wayne Rooney all summer long and again in the English Premier League season opener against Tottenham, but the new recruit struggled to get going playing that role.
The 21-year-old was pushed out wide on the left-wing in his Champions League debut and he delivered a man-of-the-match performance after scoring twice and setting up another goal for Marouane Fellaini with the last kick of the game in Man United’s 3-1 victory.
So impressed was Van Gaal with Depay’s performance against Club Brugge, the manager revealed: “I want to kiss Memphis Depay tonight.”
On the back of that performance and his impressive link up with Luke Shaw down the left-hand side, Depay has finally convinced his manager that playing on the flank and cutting inside on his right foot is the ideal way to get the best out of him.
“I think our relationship is starting to build up, we have played a couple of games together and I am starting to understand how he wants to play,” Shaw said.
“It is great to be playing with him, he can beat a man and he likes the attacking support from me as well – which is something I like to do.”
And although it might not be the only reason, the show put on by the Netherlands internationals on Tuesday night has firmly convinced Van Gaal that he doesn’t need to sign Pedro, who has signed for Chelsea.
Ashley Young, who was one of the improved players from last season, is also available and is perfect to play in that position in case the manager wants to rotate his squad.
This now opens the door for Van Gaal to go all out and get a centre-forward with Wayne Rooney struggling to get going this season.