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19th Nov 2015

Van Gaal identifies lightning fast La Liga ace as the winger his team needs


Louis van Gaal has made his number one target clear – a rapid wide man.

The Manchester United manager is frank about what is missing from his somewhat functional and one-paced side:

I have said already in my first year many times we need speed and creativity on the wings,” he said.

“You have seen that now we play with Jesse Lingard and he is not the most speedy winger in the world, and Mata is also not the most speedy winger in the world.

“So first we must first finish that problem and then we can see how we have to play and how we are in balance with playing with speedy winger.”

That’s all well and good, but the key question is whom? The traditional winger with pace to burn and chalk on his boots is something of a dying breed, as modern formations dictate a bias towards rampaging fullbacks and roaming playmakers.

But it looks like Van Gaal has found exactly what he’s after in the shape of Valencia’s Sofiane Feghouli.

Despite speedy competition from the likes of Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi, Jordi Alba and Neymar, the Algerian winger is officially recognised as the fastest player in La Liga, with a top speed of 35.53km/h.

Not that the 25-year-old is some head down speed merchant in the Aaron Lennon/David Bellion mould. He has starred for Valencia with his intricate interplay, speed of thought and tireless work ethic.

He has all the skills in the world in a one-on-one (or a three-on-one) situation, but shows great awareness and positioning. Just as key is the fact that he is still improving with his peak years ahead of him.

Reports in Spain – and over here via The Sun – claim Van Gaal is determined to get his man, but faces competition from both Inter Milan and Chelsea, who see the player as a possible replacement for Eden Hazard.

As the player is in the final year of his contract at Valencia, and therefore a free agent come the end of the season, Los Che may be willing to cut their losses and sell for a bargain price in January.