New Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal seems to be quickly getting acquainted with his new players on their U.S. tour.
The Dutchman is widely seen as a stern disciplinarian but showed his lighter side and was seen laughing and joking with Wayne Rooney in training sessions while new signings Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera got to know their new teammates.
United are in Los Angeles preparing for Wednesday’s friendly against LA Galaxy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
United will play Roma on Saturday in Denver, then Inter Milan three days later at Landover, Maryland and European champions Real Madrid on Aug. 2 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
United’s established names like Rooney, David de Gea and Juan Mata are in the party but Robin van Persie, Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj are still on holiday after the World Cup. As van Gaal settles in at Old Trafford, much attention is on potential new signings and which of his superstar players may go.
There is much of speculation on whether Danny Welbeck, who worked his way up from United’s academy, will stay.
By the end of David Moyes’s disastrous tenure at United, it looked like Welbeck’s time at Old Trafford was ending.
The 23-year-old striker – who is a devoted United supporter – seemed resigned to moving on because of the way Moyes treated him, constantly using him in different roles.
Although a beloved cult hero for some of the Old Trafford faithful, Welbeck is not universally respected by United fans.
Whilst their criticism is justifiable, largely around his finishing ability, he is still respected as a quality player.
When asked about United’s players ahead of the quarter-final of last season’s Champions league, Pep Guardiola, the Bayern Munich manager included Welbeck in his list of United’s “very good” players.
At the end of last season, as Sir Alex Ferguson prepared to leave as United manager, he said that Welbeck applies himself really well and despite his goal tally drying up from the previous season, he had the will to eventually become a regular goal scorer.
Ferguson admitted that the England international did not appreciate being moved around in various positions and maybe he was being overused, but he has immense value.
The Scotsman added that he thought his best role is through the middle once he matures and starts scoring consistently.
Welbeck works well with Javier Hernandez who belatedly joined the squad.
Relegated to a reserve role for much of last season, Chicharito played for Mexico in the World Cup, appearing in all four of their games and scoring against Croatia. The 26-year-old forward has scored 59 times in four seasons at United.
Meanwhile, United have been told to lower their $15 million asking price for Nani if they want to offload him this summer.
AC Milan are the latest side to express an interest in signing the 27-year-old winger but the Italians do not agree with his valuation.
Juventus are also interested in the Portugal international who played in the World Cup, though that was before new boss Massimiliano Allegri replaced Antonio Conte at the helm.
Milan are now the most likely and are prepared to wait until the end of the transfer window next month to see if United’s stance on him changes.
Nani is on United’s pre-season tour, but van Gaal is expected to declare him surplus to requirements.