MANCHESTER United are insistent that Louis van Gaal remains committed to the clubâ€™s tradition of youth despite a Â£150m splurge on six players, of whom only Luke Shaw is English.
The promotion of James Wilson, 18, to the first-team squad is being cited as evidence that the Dutchman is not embracing a galÃ¡ctico-style policy at the cost of in-house talent.
Shaw, 19, arrived for Â£27m but Van Gaal also acquired five major foreign signings. The Colombian Radamel Falcao arrived for a Â£6m season-long loan fee. A British record Â£59.7m was spent on Ãngel di MarÃa, while his Argentinian compatriot Marcos Rojo cost Â£16m. The Dutchman Daley Blind was bought for Â£14m and Spaniard Ander Herrera for Â£28m.
This led to accusations that the club famous for a homegrown policy that developed George Best, Bobby Charlton, Duncan Edwards and the famous class of 92 were abandoning their history.
Nevertheless, the club hierarchy believe Van Gaalâ€™s track record of promoting youth during his managerial career is continuing at Old Trafford. Since taking over the reins in July, he has given first-team debuts to Tyler Blackett, Jesse Lingard, Reece James and Michael Keane, although the latter has since been loaned out to Burnley.
Others, though, have been allowed to leave. Danny Welbeck, who was the one local player to have made the breakthrough into regular first-team action, was sold for Â£16m to Arsenal, while his fellow Englishmen Tom Cleverley and Wilfried Zaha, have been loaned to Aston Villa and Crystal Palace respectively.
When United confirmed their 25-man Premier League squad for the first half of the season, 12 of the players were homegrown, more than Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea, the last of these having only three.
Van Gaal is a firm admirer of the potential of Wilson, Blackett and Lingard, with the latterâ€™s leg injury during the 2-1 defeat to Swansea City in the season opener causing the Dutchman particular disappointment.
Falcaoâ€™s arrival has raised questions about where he will fit in alongside Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Juan Mata. As Rooney is the newly appointed captain and Van Persie the man Van Gaal made his Holland leader, Mata, whose best position is No10, is being viewed as most likely to be dropped.
However, it is understood the manager still believes the Spaniard is a valuable member of his squad and he is weighing up who will start Unitedâ€™s next match, which is against Queens Park Rangers in the late afternoon kick-off at home on Sunday week, a fixture in which Rojo should make his debut after finally being granted a work permit.
United had been monitoring Falcao for the past few weeks but only when the decision was made to allow Welbeck and Javier HernÃ¡ndez to depart â€“ the Mexican on loan to Real Madrid â€“ did the club make a move for the 28-year-old at the weekend.
Van Gaal will soon decide on which of a clutch of players will be offered new deals. Darren Fletcherâ€™s contract expires next summer, while those of David de Gea, Phil Jones, Van Persie, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling end the following year.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who left United in 2009 for Real Madrid for a then world record Â£80m, has backed the signings of Di MarÃa and Falcao. â€œI do think they did well to buy Di MarÃa and Falcao,â€ he said. â€œI think the team will be much better. I want to see them better because it is such a fantastic club and they deserve to be better.
â€œFalcao is a very good signing. He is a very good player. I donâ€™t think Falcao is the wrong type of player for them. He is a top player, so I donâ€™t think it is a wrong buy. He will be a fantastic buy. Manchester have not started well, with two points in three games, so they need quality players and Falcao is a quality player. And Di MarÃa, too.â€ – The Guardian