What Signing Thomas Muller Would Mean for Manchester United


It's the ubiquitous Dumb and Dumb Meme that's been winning the Internet forever, and in the case of Thomas Muller and Manchester United, it's wholly appropriate for yet another airing.

"So you're telling me... there's a chance?"

Reports in Germany claim Bayern Munich have already rebuffed just shy of £70 million for Muller. Philipp Lahm, himself born of the loyalty school of Neville and Carragher, won't rule out a Muller move to Old Trafford. Louis van Gaal tells us another big-name signing is in the offing, but won't reveal who it is.

Could it be his former charge Muller? A year ago we'd have dismissed it as fanciful, with Muller freshly crowned a World Cup winner and United out of Europe and recovering from the Moyesery of David. Two years ago, we'd have laughed even harder - with all-conquering Bayern the reigning European champions and United set to enter the bleak post-Ferguson era without a marquee signing to their name (ahem, Marouane Fellaini).

Suddenly everything has changed. Van Gaal has stamped his nonchalant air of can-do superiority on all things United, and Ed Woodward is playing the best game of transfer window monopoly we've seen in a long while.

Bastian Schweinsteiger is a red. Memphis Depay is a red. Morgan Schneiderlin is a red. David De Gea is STILL a red, and it might take Sergio Ramos coming in the other direction to change that fact. Based on happenings thus far, you wouldn't be surprised if Woodward has told Madrid it will take Ramos, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and all the sangria in Spain to send De Gea to the Bernabeu.

International Champions Cup 2015 - Manchester United v San Jose Earthquakes : News Photo

United have gone from a squad with barely a central midfield to speak of, to one that was able to play Schneiderlin and Michael Carrick together for 45 minutes against Club America, and then replace them with Schweinsteiger and Ander Herrera.

Van Gaal has added a fullback in Matteo Darmian, and now has as many as three options on either side of his defence - with Antonio Valencia to the right and Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo to the left. Daley Blind can play to the left also, with Phil Jones not entirely uncomfortable doing the job on the right.

If De Gea goes, expect a goalkeeper to come in, and there may yet be a central defender to add too, but the position of wanting that most excites United fans is the attacking spot vacated by Robin van Persie. Wayne Rooney will play in the advanced role, but he needs support. Van Gaal needs a player who can share the load and at least replace RvP's goals last season. That player could absolutely be Muller.

The German international scored 21 goals for Bayern last season and laid on 14 more. Is he an out-and-out striker? No, but those are few and far between, and Muller is every bit a striker in the modern form - a natural technician who can float in from either side, possesses supreme athleticism and almost effortlessly influences games with his immaculate sense of positioning and decision making on the ball.

At 25, Muller is in his prime. Unlike Schweinsteiger, whose value is at least party in his reputation, Muller would arrive at United for what could be the best years of his career. In time he could even succeed Rooney as the team's figurehead forward and his legacy become as closely associated to United as it already is to Bayern.

Eric Cantona looking back while forming a wall : News Photo

If that seems unthinkable, cast you mind back to Eric Cantona, who arrived at United older than Muller is now and elevated among the club's all-time greats in just a few remarkable seasons. Cantona's inspiration prompted a second coming at Old Trafford - might Muller bring about a third?

Only recently we were talking about all the best players moving to Spain, but the Premier League - bolstered by TV billions - appears to be firing back. Muller might not be Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, but he exists on the very next tier below.

Should it come off, a United deal for Muller would be the biggest power play the club has made in recent memory. It's not that United haven't gone bold, it's just that recent big-money deals for Angel Di Maria, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and alike, can all be attributed to obvious contributing factors.

Madrid were happy enough to offload Di Maria. Jose Mourinho was done with Mata. Herrera had outgrown Athletic Bilbao. Money talked, but United were only greasing the wheels. A Muller deal would be entirely different - a Galactico grab that could only be read as ruthless, red ambition. Buy him and bring on the haters.

Bayern Munich v FC Valencia : News Photo

Make no mistake about it, Bayern do not want to lose Muller. "He is always there and he's never injured," said Guardiola recently. "He can play anywhere."

Muller, meanwhile, has had his head turned. He's flattered and with the numbers being thrown around you can more than understand why. He knows and trusts Van Gaal and has a fast friend in Schweinsteiger to lean on should he move to Manchester.

United fans would love him. The Premier League would be lucky to have him. Should Muller round off United's spending this summer we might look back on one of the greatest transfer windows in history.

I'm saying there's a chance. Exciting times indeed.

 

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