MANCHESTER, August 7- Manchester United defender Luke Shaw believes the club’s new signings will enable them to mount a sustained challenge for the Premier League title this season.
Louis van Gaal’s side finished fourth in the Dutchman’s first campaign in charge, but a pre-season spending spree has bolstered United’s hopes of wrestling the title away from Chelsea.
Netherlands winger Memphis Depay, signed from PSV Eindhoven, and experienced Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, lured from Bayern Munich, are the most eye-catching names among those recruited by Van Gaal.
And England left-back Shaw has been impressed with impact those two new recruits have already made ahead of United’s opening fixture against Tottenham at Old Trafford on Saturday.
“Bastian’s a massive legend,” Shaw said. “For someone with that much experience to come into the team will be vital to help us push for some trophies this season.
“He’s one of the most humble guys I’ve come across. He’s not too loud and he’s quite funny at the same time. It’s nice to have a German around in the dressing room.
“I’ve also got on well with Memphis. He’s a different character. It’s good for the changing room and he’s confident about his own ability. It’s something new to have but it’s very good to have.”
Van Gaal has to decide whether to pick goalkeeper David De Gea, who has been unsettled over speculation which has linked him to Real Madrid during pre-season, for the visit of Spurs.
Should the Dutchman decide that De Gea is not in the right frame of mind he will hand a debut to Sergio Romero even though he has not featured in any of the club’s warm-up matches.
The Argentina international joined United at the end of last month on a free transfer, having previously been at Sampdoria.
United are without Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who serves a three-match suspension following his red card in the final game of last season against Hull.
– Bloated squad –
Tottenham’s efforts in the transfer market have been focused more on trimming a bloated squad with just three new faces -– Toby Alderweireld, Kevin Wimmer and Kieran Trippier -– arriving at White Hart Lane since the end of last season.
Alderweireld, Wimmer and Trippier will all strengthen Spurs defensively, but England striker Harry Kane will be heavily relied on to provide the goal threat for an inconsistent attack.
Tottenham’s pre-season produced a mixed bag of results prior to this week’s confidence-boosting 2-0 victory over AC Milan.
The significance of that result will disappear completely, however, when Spurs begin their efforts to build on last season’s fifth-place finish at United.
Alderweireld, a winner at Old Trafford with Southampton last season, is convinced they can make a winning start.
“I’ve played a lot of big games so I know what to expect. The first game of the season is always a strange one -– everybody is very excited and we’re looking forward to it. It’s a big challenge,” the Belgian defender said.
“We have the opportunity to take a good first step -– we are confident we can get a good result but we know it will be difficult.
“They have brought in a lot of good players but we’ve had a good pre-season and trained hard so physically we are 100 per cent.
“We have confidence in ourselves to play football. It’s always difficult to play at Old Trafford but we have to believe in ourselves and how we want to play. If we do that, we can get a good result.”
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino will check on the fitness of striker Roberto Soldado (back) and winger Andros Townsend (shoulder) ahead of the trip.