Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has spoken out after his sides 1-0 victory over Spurs and admits that there is still a possibility that United can sign a new central defender this summer. However, the 64-year-old hinted that he would only invest in a centre back if they are an improvement on the current defenders in the squad.
It was first thought that United would be in for Valencia’s Nicolas Otamendi, the £35m man looked like a shoe-in to move to Old Trafford, but the rumour has very quickly declined throughout the summer. Sergio Ramos was another man linked heavily with the switch, but the Real Madrid centre-back looks likely to stay on at the Bernabeu after reports that he is close to signing a new deal.
Speaking on Sunday night, Van Gaal said: “We have three (right-sided) centre backs, we have Smalling, Jones and McNair but if he is much better than them then it is possible. We go for the best players and it has to be possible.”
“(Jones’ injury) was very peculiar because he had the whole week tightness in his calf and he kept training but we have a very good doctor I think because this doctor discovered a minor thrombosis.”
“We don’t take the risk so we go to a second opinion to a specialist in the hospital and that was yesterday.”
“That was after my press conference so I couldn’t say anything. A specialist has said we have a new medical treatment and we have to keep him out for three weeks and we have to watch him.”
Chris Smalling started the game ahead of Jones in what was initially thought to be a tactical change due to Jones’ rather lax performance in pre-season against PSG. But Smalling soon showed his worth to the side, fighting a winning battle with Harry Kane throughout the game.
Van Gaal hinted at his press conference last week that he is still looking to strengthen his squad with him suggesting earlier in the summer that he was targeting a ‘surprise’ striker. But asked again after the win over Tottenham, the 64-year-old insisted bringing in another striker was not a ‘special item’.
He said: “It is not a special item for me, it is more in the media they are discussing about a striker.”
“The striker is Wayne Rooney and we also have Hernandez, Januzaj and Wilson.”
“It is not a special objective for me. But when we can buy another striker who has a lot of qualities more than our players then we buy, but we have done that always.”
“I said it before but they are not writing it. I have said it before, we have Rooney. You said he has to play in a striker’s position.”
[Quotes sourced from Manchester Evening News]