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Revolution the only solution at United

9d95a711-b618-4707-a19c-9859617bc117As the dust finally begins to settle on the schizophrenic hyperbole that is transfer deadline day, Manchester United appear to be a complete different proposition to what they were 10 days ago, let alone when compared to the team Louis Van Gaal took charge of in July.

If Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw were a promising first date back in June, Marcos Rojo the long overdue call for a second meeting and Angel Di Maria the – extremely expensive – first dinner out and Daley Blind the movie date that followed the meal, then the arrival of Radamel Falcao was undoubtedly the moment in which the girl United had not even dared to look at for fear of rejection invited the club back to her place.

Whether the invite will lead to a glass of wine before a “thanks for tonight” dismissal or to a night of passionate love remains to be seen, but the revolution United fans had hoped to see it’s undeniably underway.

A drastic reshuffle of the ranks had been long overdue at United, with the need for reinforcements criminally overlooked by Sir Alex Ferguson and those who – briefly – came after him, before the cracks Fergie had so masterfully papered upon surfaced simultaneously in all of their brutality.

It hasn’t been plain sailing for Van Gaal in his first two months, in fact the Dutchman has had to navigate much rougher seas than he would perhaps envisaged before he arrived at Old Trafford for the first time and he has already come under scrutiny by sections of the media, who are suddenly wary of the threat posed by United.

Of course, Van Gaal’s start to the season has been far from ideal, his system yet to be completely grasped by his players, as United stumble from unexpected defeats to turgid draws serving up the same horrible brand of football David Moyes was lambasted for last season.

However, while on the pitch things might not have changed, off it the situation couldn’t be more diametrically opposite to the shambles that unfolded under Moyes’ guidance.

Where the former United manager was happy to hand chronic under-performers five-year deals as United continued to carry passengers, Van Gaal has shipped out 17 players, on loan or otherwise, clearing a sizeable portion of the deadwood that had infested the club for the past couple of years.

The former  Holland manager doesn’t carry passengers, nor is he afraid to make demands.

Poorly planned as his transfer strategy might have been, it’d be hard to deny that Moyes was badly let down by the club last summer. However, while the Scotsman toed the party line and refrained from knocking onto Ed Woodward’s door, Van Gaal has not only knocked on the door, he has brutally ripped it off its hinges and demanded results.

And, at least in terms of signings, results have indeed been delivered.

Herrera’s untimely injury has made things more complicated for United in the first couple of weeks of the campaign, but pre-season showed the Basque has all the credentials to develop into a crucial cog of Van Gaal’s machine, while Angel Di Maria took all of 65 minutes to impress his new fans and United look to have finally found a fitting owner for the number 7 shirt.

Despite what the press might say, Rojo was one of Argentina, and indeed of the whole tournament, best performers at the World Cup, therefore there should be plenty to be excited about the former Sporting Lisbon defender, while Blind is a typical Van Gaal signing, which is a guarantee in itself.

Shaw has followed a familiar path so far: wonderfully talented while at a medium-sized English club, overpaid and overrated since he’s joined United, at least according to Fleet Street’s finest, who have also conveniently ignored that Falcao’s arrival on loan means United have captured one of the world’s best strikers with a relatively risk-free deal.

It would, of course, be naive to expect Van Gaal to wave a magic wand over his new signings and steer United to the title, for even the best players and the best managers require time to settle into a new system and the £150m United have spent this summer will ensure pressure will be firmly on their shoulders from now until May.

It would also be easy to overlook the fact that United have only partly addressed their gaping hole in midfield, while the defence looks suspiciously shaky after the departure of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra.

However, Rome, to use one of the cheapest cliches available, wasn’t built in a day, and the fact that United still require work despite spending more than they had ever done speaks volume for the disrepair and misleading sense of comfort the club had been allowed to fall in over the past couple of years.

By their very nature, revolutions are seldom perfect or pacific, often brutal and likely to require time to yield results but, at long last, United have finally taken a couple of steps in the right direction.