No Sanchez, Modric, Sneijder, Nasri … nor any surprises

June 20, 2011 Tags: , Opinion 120 comments

So the brilliant Alexis Sanchez is off to Barcelona, with the Catalan giants paying the best part of €30 million for the 22-year-old Chillean winger. Little surprise there, with most observers rating Sanchez as a player with genuine pretensions to join a very elite group of players at the top of the world game. Diminutive, quick, with mesmeric feet, Sanchez will likely replace Pedro Rodríguez or David Villa in Barça’s starting XI next season. He is an archetypal Barcelona player and will surely rise to world stardom under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage.

Manchester United was reportedly interested in the player, whom the red tops have repeatedly suggested as Old Trafford bound. There was even an argument – baseless as it turned out – that Sanchez preferred a move to England, with more opportunities for first team football supposedly on offer. The Udinese player will achieve that and more at the European Champions.

Sanchez’ transfer could mean relegation to the bench for Pedro, sale of Jeffren Suárez and possibly Villa too, especially if Barça is still keen on adding Cesc Fabregas’ considerable talents to the squad. Villa is an outstanding marksman but one that has suffered for Guardiola’s decision to deploy the incomparable Lionel Messi in a central attacking role. Moreover, despite Barça’s massive revenues – considerably more than United’s – the club also boasts the world’s largest wage bill necessitating a period of relative austerity.

Despite this fact, United could not – or possible would not – compete for a player that Sir Alex Ferguson’s team has tracked for three years.

Similarly, Chelsea’s aggressive approach to acquiring Luka Modrić will surely end – despite Daniel Levy’s protestations – in a multi-million pound transfer across London to Stamford Bridge, and not Old Trafford. With Roman Abramovich’s lust for football reinvigorated and Tottenham Hotspur’s historically selling its best players, Chelsea will increase the bid until west London achieves the transfer it desires. It may take all summer, with Modrić keen to repair bridges before departing.

After all, while the Croatian is not widely regarded as a player to cause trouble the very reasonable argument that a midfielder of his calibre should be playing in the Champions League is hard to counter. Without European football it is widely understood that Levy will rationalise Spurs’ playing resources this summer. The chairman is heading for a collision with manager Harry Redknapp, after the former Portsmouth chief demanded Levy buy two “top class” players; this to compete for a place in the top four and keep Modrić at White Hart Lane.

Ferguson’s admiration for the diminutive Croatian is well known but United cannot, and surely will not, compete with Chelsea for the 25-year-old’s signature if it comes to a bidding war. Michael Essien, Arjen Robben, John Obi Mikel and Michael Ballack will attest to Ambramovich’s unique powers of persuasion in the face of interest from Old Trafford.

Then there is Wesley Sneijder for whom has there is not a shred of evidence that the player is interested, let alone prepared to agitate for, a move away from Milan this summer. More to the point, the economics of a deal remain eye watering, with the Dutchman’s lengthy contract enabling Internazionale to demand a huge fee, while the Sneijder’s net wages exceed those of Wayne Rooney. Supporters should take summer speculation with a large pinch of salt.

A similar attitude might be relevant when it comes to Arsenal’s Samir Nasri, who has played a smart game during contract negotiations at the Emirates. Arsenal may well invest this summer to quell the Frenchman’s unrest; the club will also substantially increase an initial £90,000 per week offer.

What then of United’s plans to rebuild this summer? The club is already committed to deals for the teenager Phil Jones, goalkeeper David de Gea and winger Ashley Young but at least one marquee central midfield acquisition is surely a priority. At a minimum Ferguson may want to replace Paul Scholes, Darron Gibson and Owen Hargreaves. After two humiliating defeats to Barça in three years, the Catalans utterly dominant in midfield, replacement of that trio is truly a bare minimum.

It is instructive to note that of Ferguson’s last 12 acquisitions, including this summer’s business to date, none has been a central midfielder. With Scholes’ ageing legs, Hargreaves ongoing injuries, Gibson’s failure to improve and Anderson’s inconsistency, the decision not to strengthen last season bordered on the negligent.

Ferguson surely cannot repeat the trick?

Yet, with United unlikely to spend more than £30 million on an established talent under the Glazer family’s ownership, it remains to be see whether the Scot can improve his options in central midfield. Indeed, it leaves Ferguson with a dilemma; persuade the Glazer family to change established club policy, or revert to type and invest in a younger player with a high potential resale value.


Galadi - June 20, 2011 Reply

We need 2 big name midfield i hate David Gill i hate Sir Alex and owners we need new manager and new owner

daniel - June 21, 2011 Reply

how dare you say that fergies been the best manager yet if you dont like what fergie does then have a look at our history over the past few years

dike - June 21, 2011 Reply

How do you say that? No one claim SAF(for the past), as you see they are even involving in the market b/c they knew it,they need MF. if they can’t do that 19 will not play for us. we all need man utd get better every year,the profit is for glazier, I am sure no one need his head down like CL final.

Matt - June 21, 2011 Reply

You hate Sir Alex? We were shouting “19” because of him, you freaking muppet.

mongoletsi - June 21, 2011 Reply

Wtf? 19th league and the CL semi, with one hand tied behind his back. Come back when you’ve got a clue mate.

mongoletsi - June 21, 2011 Reply

semi = final, I mean

Galdi douche - June 21, 2011 Reply

are you serious? idiot!!!

Dave A Stewart - June 22, 2011 Reply

Fuck off you complete and utter moron.

Phil - June 20, 2011 Reply

If SAF or the Glazers are not going to shell out on a quality marque midfielder then i dont see the point in shelling out for a youngster as I believe the likes of Pogba. Morrison and co are as good as any young player out there.

daniel - June 21, 2011 Reply

including tom cleverley

vlad - June 22, 2011 Reply

they still need someone to learn from by playing with.

Ray - June 20, 2011 Reply

before signing anyone else, SAF needs a decent assistance, wallace and gromit and good for nothing!!! We have no chnace of anything without a good, strategic and tactical assistance. Then we need a brand new midfield!!!

reddread - June 20, 2011 Reply

I feel sick…

redevil_83 - June 20, 2011 Reply

nothing said that hasn’t been said before. the entire footballing world knows united needs a potent addition in the center of midfield.

sounds a bit too pro-barca this piece also. all appreciation for the champions of europe and their football aside, it neglects pep’s heavy bias towards anything catalan (yaya toure case in point, and thus – the improbability of pedro getting relegated to bench). furthermore, the massive barca revenue mentioned should caveat by mentioning how majority of tv rights revenue is split between barca and madrid. were this sad case true in premiership, united would be right up there as well, no joke.

i have full faith the gaffer will add that quality CM this summer. aside from hope and belief, what else can football fans have during the silly season.

Bobbles - June 20, 2011 Reply

However, Levy said in a statement: “I wish to make it absolutely clear, as I have said previously, that none of our key players will be sold this summer. We are building a team for the future to consistently play at the highest level and retaining quality players is crucial to that.

“In respect of Luka Modric, we are not prepared to sell, at any price, to Chelsea Football Club or any other club.

We made our stance on this issue abundantly clear in writing to Chelsea. They chose to ignore it and then subsequently made the offer public.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, let me reiterate that we shall not enter into any negotiations whatsoever, with any club, regarding Luka. We now consider this matter closed.”

What is ambiguous about that?

Jumping Jesus - June 20, 2011 Reply

I would love to see us sell Carrick. I find him toothless and ineffectual. Bring through Pogba (future world-beater) and Morrison to supplement Cleveley, Anderson and Fletch. Buy Diarra and Sneijder and bingo! Instant top drawer midfield. I wouldn’t even mind if we have to job Nani in to get Sneijder. He is not consistant enough for me and we could get big money for himafter his one and only decent season for us

Scott - June 21, 2011 Reply

Reading articles like this is painful. Agree with redevil_83, nothing that hasn’t been said before, and more so the fact you place far to little faith in our squad let alone the most successful manager in history!

I see very little need in investing in a world class centre midfielder, waste of money! We have quality youth in the likes of Pogba, Cleverley and as much as everyone likes to bag on him i believe Anderson still has a future at United. These players have more then proved there worth, and i believe deserve a shot! Everyone told Fergie he’d lost it when he sold Ince, Hughes and Kanchelskis and put faith in the younger crop.

Speculation is always going to be there, but we really know very little of whats actually going on. I have faith in Fergie and the squad, after all, the “weakest” United team ever managed to win #19…

Ed - June 21, 2011 Reply

Scott – Pogba isn’t ready, not even close. Cleverley might be a good player but there’s plenty of question marks. He isn’t a Scholes clone that’s for sure. I suspect he’ll be used as Valencia’s understudy this year, especially if Nani ends up leaving.

sidney - June 21, 2011 Reply

€30 million is great value for Sanchez. He’s gonna be a top player.

Peter - June 21, 2011 Reply

Great article, I unfortunately think you could be on the money. This is so frustrating. Fail to see the point in buying Ashley Young or even Phil Jones unless we buy a world class midfielder. In reality we probably need 2 midfielders before buying a winger or centre back. Carrick needs to be replaced as the fulcrum of the team while we also need to replace Scholes.

Tony - June 21, 2011 Reply

Whilst I agree with your comments re Sneijder, Nasri and Sanchez, you are well wide of the mark on your Modric observations. You have fallen into the old trap of looking at a potential transfer from the buying club perspective, and possibly that of the player, but largely ignored the motivations of the selling club- in this case Tottenham.

Having supported Spurs for over 40 years the list of players sold by the club under heavy pressure is indeed a short one, and very often due to extenuating circumstances eg Waddle and Gascoigne had to be sold due to the club facing bankruptcy in 1991. Recently the sales of Carrick and Berbatov were due mainly to the players having only 2 years left on their contracts- this is when the alarm bells ring at WHL due to the Campbell fiasco. In fact within a year Berbatov was entitled to leave under a “Webster”, meaning he could buy his contract out for about £2.5m, Levy had no choice, especially in view of his appalling behavior.The rationalisation you speak of concerns players surplus to requirements ie dos Santos, Keane, Bentley, O’Hara, Hutton, Palacios, possibly a striker, and Bassong has been granted a transfer.Not the likes of Bale or Modric. The press depict Spurs as a selling club, but ignore that Arsenal under far less pressure have recently sold Overmars, Petit, Anelka and Henry. Equally the press ignore that Utd gave in over Ronaldo, and caved in over Rooney’s demands, which has messed up your wage structure.

Coming back to Modric, Levy has painted himself in to such a tight corner that there is only one realistic way he can sanction a deal. That is if Modric kicks up a “Berbatov” sulk, which is unlikely, and at the same time Chelsea (or Utd) bid high, around £45m. If Levy sells under any other circumstances there will be calls for his resignation. High bids from Chelsea or Utd are unlikely, Levy has a fractured relationship with both clubs, therefore their inclination will be to screw Spurs with low bids. Levy won’t be able to sanction bids in the £30-35m bracket, it would be a massive climbdown. Even the bookies now have Spurs favourites to hang onto Modric.

Man.United92 - June 21, 2011 Reply

What an utterly pointless article. United are strong in every position of the field bar CM. Modric is too much of a struggle to pry away, Nasri is just wanting more wages and Sneijder is obviously keen to move to Old Trafford. Proof ? Quotes from him etc. Sneijder in my opinion is the final piece to the jigsaw if only he was 2 years younger Fergie would buy him in a heartbeat.Would love to see Sneijder at United? Yes but it won’t happen. Would love to see a new striker also if Berba is let go.

Ed - June 21, 2011 Reply

Man.United92 – you mean this kind of “proof” provided as overwhelming evidence that’s Sneijder wants to leave Milan for United.

“Milan is marvellous, picturesque and full of elegance. I love it. At the moment I am very happy here and I don’t see why I should leave.”

Said last week….

andrew - June 22, 2011 Reply

Maybe he read something some guy posted on twitter who knew Sneijder’s cousin’s auntie’s uncle and he confirmed sneijder was coming to OT. Clowntown.

frontwheel 2 - June 21, 2011 Reply

Luca ain’t gone yet and i feel Spurs are for once gonna make a stance,it was different with Berbatoss as he was just a slippery knacker who’s sulking was bringing every one at Spurs down anyway.Still i would have loved it if Levy let the skunk rot in the reserves

herbie simms - June 21, 2011 Reply

Sanchez move to Barcelona will make them even stronger this season. Have not heard any movement for Douglas Costa. He is still available for around 20 million and as the manager of Shakhtar Donestek said, Costa is equal to Messi in quality as Costa can go past 4 players with ease. What makes Costa deadly is that he is a strong two-footed player and can hit a ball 25 yards out with either foot straight into goal and not a man move. Would make a great central attacking midfielder for United. Ashley Young will not have that much of an impact. I rate Ravel Morrison over Ashley Young. We need impact players, world class midfielders.

jack - June 21, 2011 Reply

for me we need to sign a combative/defensive midfielder and a creative one and then replace any first team player that leaves (taking into account that de gea/young/jones are all done.)

also as de gea is likely to be our keeper, we should look for a older back up who wants a bit of a coaching role and is happy to be number 2, just incase de gea doesnt settle or gets injured.

but after the last couple of summers i wouldnt be surprised if no one major signs.

Alfonso Bedoya - June 21, 2011 Reply

“Ferguson surely cannot repeat the trick?”

Sure he can… and I think he will.

Fletcher, Carrick, Anderson, Giggs, Young… add to that Cleverly, and maybe even Tunnicliffe and youve 5/6/7 players competing for 2 spots.

That’s a pretty deep central midfield.

Not a very impressive one mind…


uncleknobheadforfucksake - June 21, 2011 Reply

we’re relying on giggs playing 40 games, he’s the only one with any nous or common sense, or quality obviously, if he doesn’t retire

I can’t believe fergie deems scholes not necessary for replacement

unless he’s given in to cocks and thinks its rooney, ffs

if we’ve bought young to play rooneys position so rooney can do the midfield donkey work taggarts gotta go

MartinJol - June 21, 2011 Reply

You already got Carrick ‘one of Tottenham’s best ever players’, why would you need anyone else? At 18 million wasn’t he a bargain lol

Triggs - June 21, 2011 Reply

if Henderson is £20M, yeah he was

Nil - June 21, 2011 Reply

This is the most pessimistic outlook and of course it floats across every United faithful’s mind once in a while. But lets hope we get someone good enough to grace our midfield. The world is full of excellent players and every year there are new players emerging from the shadow into stardom. With good scouting, I have enough faith in SAF to bring in quality players. You should notice that regular players of United always are good enough to fight for the big prize and its not like we’re depending on Bebe-like to grace the theater of dream.

mig78 - June 21, 2011 Reply

another poor article. Your hatred for SAF is growing steadily Ed. Keep it up!

The Grateful Red - June 21, 2011 Reply

I’m starting to become a little disappointed. Young, Jones, De Gea add depth but not an extra level of quality to the squad. Don’t lead us to believe we’re going to be aggressive in the transfer market and then not deliver. I’m really hoping/praying SAF and Gill have a surprise in store but not counting on it. All we’ve done is identify big targets and let others go after them. It appears weak and that is not good.

herbie simms - June 21, 2011 Reply

Udinese president Giamapalo Pozzo this morning has come out and said that Sanchez has not signed for Barcelona. He goes on to say that he does not know where this rumour came from but Barcelona came up short in their bid for Sanchez.United are presently the highest bidder for Sanchez but they can still be outbid by Barcelona or Man. City. Its going to come down to who Sanchez wants to play for as he seems to be the most sort after player on the transfer market.
Well Alfonso, I do believe SAF is trying to strengthen the midfield with some quality players but his problem is, he takes too long to make a move on players and bang, they are gone off to other clubs. Chasing Sanchez for three years and doing nothing about it until now when he now costs about 30 million is just not good enough. Last year, he could have bought Sanchez for 15 million.SAF is just too slow in getting his men when the price is right.

mongoletsi - June 21, 2011 Reply

Herbie, you’ve been told mate: POST LINKS

emm-you-eff-see - June 21, 2011 Reply

@Herbie I agree with this. Another one was Sneijder when he was at Real Madrid. Why was he not part of the Ronaldo deal? Sneijder or Diarra would add to our current midfield. Carrick plays the ball too slow, he isn’t defensive or an attacking midfielder. Giggs is very good in there but really? Anderson to inconsistent. Fletcher is excellent, Cleverly unproven. We need to buy at least one or two proven mid-fielders otherwise we might win the league but the CL is over.

mig78 - June 21, 2011 Reply

I bet SAF should spend sometime playing the latest EA Sports FIFA Manager thing to get a better grasp on how to deal with player transfers efficiently like a lot of “us” does.
Way to go folks.

Wil - June 21, 2011 Reply

I know it may sound crazy and I’m not SAF…. but I’m not shocked if United isn’t going for any world class midfielder which all of us crave for!

I can see Wayne Rooney playing in midfield. His passing techniques have improved in the past few seasons and his long range shots is second to none. He has the aggression and stamina to run all day so in conclusion, he can fill Scholes boots. And if we really bought Ashley Young then Young will play the no. 10 role. Wild guess, the starting line up will look like:

De Gea
Fabio or Rafael / Ferdinand / Vidic / Evra
Valencia / Carrick or Fletcher / Rooney / Nani

Much younger and energetic lineup but is it good enough for Europe?

mongoletsi - June 21, 2011 Reply

The problem with that is that:

– You blunt Rooney’s attacking threat
– Rooney doesn’t want to play there

I mean, he’s great at tracking back, fast up the wing. Why not play him at left back? Or in nets?

Wil - June 22, 2011 Reply

Well Scholes started off as a striker as well. You could of said that it was a waste of Schole’s talent to play him in midfield then…. but instead he became a legend there….

And if Rooney really does play in midfield and ends up scoring 10-15 goals for the season, I think that will benefit United even more!

but point taken. Does he want to play there is a good question. perhaps not…

emm-you-eff-see - June 21, 2011 Reply

Rooney is a striker will score loads of goals UP FRONT. Him and the Little Pea are going to get bucket loads. We have to buy a midfielder.

Spudiator - June 21, 2011 Reply

uncleknobheadforfucksake said:I can’t believe fergie deems scholes not necessary for replacement

Where you getting this from? Fergie has not said a single word to the press since the transfer window opened, and it’s still only June. We’ve still got a month before pre-season starts and nearly 2 months before the season proper starts, and you’re already drawing a conclusion on the situation? I highly doubt Fergie would be so blind as to ignore the central midfield situation after we made such hard work of winning back the league title last season from such relatively weak competition, and historically he’s always kept his cards close to his chest when it comes to his transfer targets, so just because nothing’s been confirmed yet doesn’t mean it’s not gonna happen. If we get to the start of our pre-season programme and there’s still no central midfielder on the horizon, then fair enough, start despairing, but don’t jump the gun just yet FFS!

MrKirie - June 21, 2011 Reply

Our purchases the last two summers clearly point to a long term plan in my eyes. I never thought we’d get Sanchez, as we have Nani and Valencia, both top quality. In midfield we are in need of a replacement for Scholes, but whats to stop SAF from getting a relatively unknown player that in 2-3 years time will be right up there?

It’s still early transferwindow. If August comes and we still havent signed anyone for the midfield, then we should be entitled to be a bit worried. To start now is just giving yourself high bloodpressure, and thats without a kick of the ball of the 2011-2012 season 🙂

uncleknobheadforfucksake - June 21, 2011 Reply

I get it from how he never replaced keane, didn’t start making plans for like without scholes when he got that six month eye problem (stuck giggs in midfield instead) and has ignored the fact scholes has been struggling off and on for a couple of years since his indian summer

Davidee - June 21, 2011 Reply

Manchester united has got a good scouting network period! But then wats the benefit of having good scouts when all u do is watch talent grow until its stolen right under your nose?
For those of u that r saying its to early to complain, wat do u get wen u sign a player 2days before the close of the transfer window? Crap!!!

Godfrey - June 21, 2011 Reply

I think Ed’s pretty much summed it up…
It sickens me to think of the number of times Chelski’s rubles have snatched a player from under our noses.
Modric set to go the same way.Im not even looking at the Sneijder snippets thats one pipe dream.
Ashley bloody young…if thats confirmed I fail to see what we lack that he can add to…
All braced to hear about faith in youth and no value
Just prayong that the gaffer can pull another one out of the hat…I don’t think he’d be loath to spend when we so woeful in midfield it just whats been oft mentioned we just don’t have the funds

frontwheel 2 - June 21, 2011 Reply

Any size bet you want that Modrics going no where

dingleberry - June 21, 2011 Reply

ashley young can offer

– quality from the left
– back up for rooney in deep forward role

Ashish - June 21, 2011 Reply

I don’t think that Fergie will dive into the transfer market in order to get Scholseys replacement.

He might have some other plan like play Rooney in CM or bring in Cleverley or something like that.

When Roy Keane retired in 2005,did Fergie dive in the transfer market to replace him?No he didn’t.

I don’t expect Fergie to dive into the transfer market to replace Scholes either.

MartinJol - June 21, 2011 Reply

If I were your manager I’d play Carrick and Tunnicliffe/Andison/Fletcher in the centre. As your educated friend put it about the wingnuts you have already Nani and Valencia. That is all.

emm-you-eff-see - June 21, 2011 Reply

Thanks for your insight! Was worth reading that.

Godfrey - June 21, 2011 Reply

Ashish says:
June 21, 2011 at 8:53 am

When Roy Keane retired in 2005,did Fergie dive in the transfer market to replace him?No he didn’t.

It would be a tiresome exercise to list the number of players that we got in to replace Keano..
Just cause none could fill his shoes dint mean the gaffer dint look out fer a replacement..

Hargo..(We were trailing him for quite before we signed him)

Its just that we don’t posses the financial clout we once did

uncleknobheadforfucksake - June 21, 2011 Reply

these kids are brilliant, just like jones spector blake bardsley and rossi were, its not realistic

if welbeck and evans are struggling and fletcher has turned out to be a complete shitehouse when he was a brilliant reserve player what chance have this lot got, we need signings

if we give this lot regular games we’re accepting the seasons a right off, the 96 lot had plenty of games before then and had a team full of bollocks to fall back on,

mongoletsi - June 22, 2011 Reply

Fletcher has not turned out to be “complete shithouse”. Dunno what games you’ve been watching.

Red_Sith - June 21, 2011 Reply

It has been couple season that we want fergie to buy scholes replacement,but he never buy one..in my opinion he want ROONEY to play that role,rooney have good abilities to be a great attacking midfield.
I feel sory for rooney cause fergie keep changing his position…

Paco - June 21, 2011 Reply

I Believe In Anderson And So Does SAF, He Is Just 23 Years Old.Maybe There Will Be Lassana Diarra in But Anyway Ando Is Here !

mongoletsi - June 22, 2011 Reply

If You Type Like This Then Your Opinion Is Of More Importance!

uncleknobheadforfucksake - June 21, 2011 Reply

yes, and after seven years he’s finally in the one he shoudlve been played in from the start, his best position, fucking stupid cunts

enter cal and alf giving it more of this bollocks

squigs - June 21, 2011 Reply

A horrible pessimistic thread, we are defending champions appear to be spending more by recent standards crucially more then other sides. and because we have not signed X and Y people are complaining and talking of next year being a write off.

We are replacing Scholes and Van DeSar, Scholes was poor last year, Van DeSar had a good year but was no where near as good as people think.

Chelsea are in need of more rebuilding then us, City still a bit away, Arsenal look to be in crisis we will be fine.

Ed - June 21, 2011 Reply

squigs – All of that is true. I guess the question is this: Ferguson is spending £50m on Jones, Young and De Gea but essentially all that spending is to stand still. How will United improve to meet the challenge of domestic rivals with larger budgets and a Barca team that is miles ahead on the pitch?

ole - June 24, 2011 Reply

Thank God you’re only the “editor” of an amateur blog. First he admits that other teams have larger budgets, then he complains that United can’t buy the best players. That’s right, no surprises. Pointless article, wasting people’s time.

Ed - June 24, 2011 Reply

ole – thank God you’re only a smart arse first-time commenter with nothing constructive to add, not a real critic. Hey?

Odubo - June 21, 2011 Reply

I hate what SAF is doing to this great team, rooney is the only big name we have in this great team. We need some other big names, bcos it matters too.

frontwheel 2 - June 21, 2011 Reply

Big names?only city will get the big names from now on in Mancland.Start preparing for the fall

Bill - June 21, 2011 Reply

If he does buy a midfielder then 1 of the following must come into play:

1. SAF has alot of faith in Anderson and Carrick (most of us don’t)

2. SAF will play Rooney in a deeper role.

3. SAF has alot of faith in Cleverley and Jones to contribute in midfield.

Triggs - June 21, 2011 Reply

Another ‘sky is falling in’ debtate on Rant, who would have guessed?

As it stands, the signings and recalls United have made thus far have all improved the squad – bar VDS – but that was inevitable. Cleverley, Welbeck, Young and Jones are far, far better than Gibson, Bebe, Obertan and Brown.

We’re obviously short in midfield and I dont believe that the likes of Tennicliffe, Pogba and Morrison are ready. We’re clearly going to bring in some central midfielders. The real issue here is that the papers dont have a clue who we’re targeting and that is making people fidgety. We have no idea what work is being done behind the scenes. Fergie wont let this many players leave without a plan in place.

I expect us to pick up a player such as these: Ever Banega, Mario Goetze, Marvin Martin or Javi Martinez. Young, very talented and ready for the move to a big club. I don’t expect Sneijder, Nasri or Sanchez arriving. I think Modric is still a possibility, albeit slim.

It’s only 21 June – so try not to panic.

Bill - June 21, 2011 Reply

Ever Banega, Mario Goetze, Marvin Martin or Javi Martinez

Very much doubt they will be coming. Not a major upgrade over our current younger midfielders.

Triggs - June 21, 2011 Reply

I didnt mean those players specifically, but players in their class and age range.

I don’t know much about Martin, but in my opinion, all the other players all look better options than Carrick, Ando, Fletch and Cleverley.

Alfonso Bedoya - June 21, 2011 Reply

uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
yes, and after seven years he’s finally in the one he shoudlve been played in from the start, his best position, fucking stupid cunts

enter cal and alf giving it more of this bollocks

Fuck off Knobby… you don’t speak for me you cunt… I like Rooney right where he is… but you can’t deny that he’d make a better midfielder than anyone else currently at the club…

I completely agree with you that we need better midfielders, so that Rooney can play where he’s best suited… when we get them, you let me know.

squigs - June 21, 2011 Reply

Ed said:
squigs – All of that is true. I guess the question is this: Ferguson is spending £50m on Jones, Young and De Gea but essentially all that spending is to stand still. How will United improve to meet the challenge of domestic rivals with larger budgets and a Barca team that is miles ahead on the pitch?

To be honest Ed, I am not picking arguments with your piece, it’s more to do with the overeaction of certain posters here. While you talk of standing still they talk of next year been a write off, that is not the Manchester United way, imagine this place had been around when we sold Ince, Andrei K and Hughes and replaced them with no one.

We can still win league titles in a rebuilding phase, in my opinion we could spend 200 million this summer and still not win the European cup, Barca are miles ahead for the moment and we know that. But this is the best way to catch up, their first XI is younger then our first XI and buy investing in young player we will catch them.

With Jones and Smalling we potentially have England’s central defensive pairing for the next 10 years,

De Gea is young but has considerable experience and is already on the fringes of the Spain team and they have talented keepers in abundance.

OllieWillie - June 21, 2011 Reply

Such a good writer but everything I read on this site is just so negative. Makes me not want to stop by. Even after a win

Ed - June 21, 2011 Reply

OllieWillie – then don’t. I suggest ManUtd.com for undiluted positivity. You’ve been repeating this message for quite some time now. Perhaps you’d better make good on the ‘threat’ lest you lose credibility?

OllieWillie - June 22, 2011 Reply

Nah I’ll keep coming back because you guys are one of the few blogs that contain staff that actually know how for form pros, as opposed to just regurgitating words onto a page and pressing post…….I guess I’m just hoping that you’ll start posting the occasional positive message, after all United did just win number 19 and make the Champions League final, it’s not all doom and gloom.

bman - June 21, 2011 Reply

I’m not sure what all the doom and gloom about Modric is, the situation is still the same as it ever was. We want him, but he’ll be very expensive. He’s not destined for the Chavs, far from it since it’s obvious from their low bids that they can’t afford to pay top dollar for him. Instead they’re doing their best to unsettle the player. We look like we’re playing a canny game by watching how that pans out, and if Spurs become resigned to letting him go, we can come in with a higher bid than Chelsea.

sidney - June 21, 2011 Reply

If today’s reports are accurate then Modric looks set to sign a new contract with Tottenham

MartinJol - June 21, 2011 Reply

My friend Luka tells me he was just ‘doing a Nasri’.

Alfonso Bedoya - June 21, 2011 Reply

Babelfish has failed you badly.

“Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

baloo - June 21, 2011 Reply

Alfonso Bedoya said:
Babelfish has failed you badly.

squigs - June 21, 2011 Reply

Commenter said:
Any size bet you want that Modrics going no where

What odds you give me?

james - June 21, 2011 Reply

its was sad to see utd lose such a one sided game against barca but then thought it was a good thing for the long therm. what has happened this summer so far ie going for young before sanchez proves we wont or cant compett at the top level. i think we will be alright next session but then well slide. i used to always watch all the utd games but over the last year ive been watching fewer. people say we won the premership but i thought we where utd and we win in style when was the last time that happened?

Ashish - June 21, 2011 Reply

If Fergie is unable to get a competitive player after Scholseys retirement,is it fair to say that Fergie won’t be able to get another capable player once Giggsy retires?

Are we still going to be after players of the calibre of Young,Fellaini and other average players 2-3 years from now?

SKW - June 21, 2011 Reply

It’s early days yet, but unfortunately, I think Ed is spot on target. We just don’t go for the big names anymore — and don’t seem likely to.

We HAD to buy a goal keeper, but we can muddle through with no new midfielder and still be competitive next year. Somebody upstairs knows this. The Jones/Young signings are both incredibly underwhelming and our inability to buy Ozil last year looks even worse now.

I fear no trophies next year. None.

MrKirie - June 21, 2011 Reply

People said that last year.

SKW - June 22, 2011 Reply


And the difference is that other teams regressed while we essentially regressed less.

So the relevant question is do you really think Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea will continue to slip this year — or do you think they will buy new players and get better, the way City has?

Right now, we have a worse side than 2011. No Van Der Sar, no Scholes. Giggs will probably be less effective next year, too, so where does that leave us? A worse side. That’s where. We need an infusion of talent just to get back to where we were last season — and we will need even more talent if we want to be better than we were last season…

Bill - June 21, 2011 Reply

Yep Ozil, Van Der Vaart and Sneijder were all available for reasonable money in the last 3 seasons and we failed to buy any of them. Odd!

Kd - June 21, 2011 Reply

I think a lot if the analysis of the champions league final has been myopic. Yes our midfield was outclassed, but barca are tactically miles ahead of anyone. They pocess more attacking threat than anyone else, whilst retaining possession better and pressing better than anyone else, maybe ever. We won’t match/beat them through the checkbook alone, it needs medium to longer term planning. The changes to youth coaching are welcome and have a youth cup whose excellent players are all midfielders.

Part of what has been so rewarding this year has been that fergie has managed to win whilst being outspent by many others. I hate the glazers, but this victory has been very sweet for the lack of financial dopping. When eventually city win something useful, who gives a fuck. A billion might buy you a premiership but a very hallow one.

Neil - June 21, 2011 Reply

Jones and De Gea have been important signings but what do you all think about Ashley Young? Ed what do you reckon?

There is speculation in The Independent that an initial fee of £16 million has been agreed with Villa. Another 50% premium yet again just because a player is British! I’m not convinced about this transfer at all. Young has a good work rate but in terms of quality he doesn’t match Nani or Valencia. He has no Champions League experience and limited International experience despite being older than both Nani and Valencia. He probably has more quality than Park though, perhaps he will move on? Sod it, I would much rather keep Park!

What gets me the most is that this money plus the money allocated to Bebe’s transfer could have come close to matching the fee required for Alexis Sanchez. I know hindsight is a wonderful thing, it’s just that there seems to have been no foresight in the planning of all this. Surely a dead cert like Sanchez would have had our scouts going mad to try to sign him over the past 3 years? Understand that he may have preferred to move to Spain anyway but wish we could have signed him.

Would like to hear everyone’s views on why United have opted to go for Young…

Ashish - June 22, 2011 Reply

Neil said:”Would like to hear everyone’s views on why United have opted to go for Young…”
Probably because Nani or Park could be on the way out?

you only came to see utd - June 21, 2011 Reply

He dislike the God off God’s SAF…

Fuck off you Bastard your support is not wanted at this club fuck off the Chelsea or Shity their mad for sacking people so you will fit in prefect their at a fucked up team with fcked up fans

MartinJol - June 21, 2011 Reply

Better to be manager of Fulham FC

bman - June 21, 2011 Reply

Bill said:
Yep Ozil, Van Der Vaart and Sneijder were all available for reasonable money in the last 3 seasons and we failed to buy any of them. Odd!

Not to mention Nuri Sahin, who Real just nicked for 8m or something reasonable. He’d have been perfect for us I reckon, better fit for United than Ozil, VDV, or Sneijder.

Gibraltarian - June 21, 2011 Reply

United have been short in the central midfield area since 2007 when Milan slaughtered us in the CL semi. Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez masked that weakness with fast and incisive attacking play but we always struggled with teams that overloaded the centre or teams with good midfielders. I happen to think we need at least 2 central midfielders. We do not need Young and Jones at 20 million will not seem good business for another couple of years. We won the league because of SAF but don’t blind yourselves, our weaknesses have been there for everyone to see for some years and he has stubbornly refused to do anything about it. Either that or he has not had the money. But hey, with the money he spent on Bebe, Obertan and Young, we probably could have bought a decent midfielder. Value, what value?

marts81 - June 22, 2011 Reply

I think that the long term strategy is being considered and although we like to play 442 its now considered archaeic and innefectual. Most of the top teams have stopped playing this as their lead system. I now think Fergie is thinking about this especially with the barca display.

I think players such as Mata and Martinez, the future key players in the spanish national side would be superb additions. Are both in the early twenties so by the time Pogba, Tunnicliffe and Morrison are hitting 21 -22 they will be hitting 26 – 27. I am sure they would add a positive indluence to our play. I also echo one of the other posters and suggest we pick up a coach whom is prevalent in the Barca, Spanish systems to aid fergie in improving our possession play.

uncleknobheadforfucksake - June 22, 2011 Reply

we’ve been short in midfield for longer than just since 07, infact that season was probably the only one in the best seven or eight we haven’t looked short because fergie got lucky with scholes having one of his best ever years, no one saw that coming after six months out, fergie got fucking lucky, before and after than our midfield has been crap, its probably currently at its worse point

people will bring up the djemba miller kleberson years, but we had keane and scholes then albeit past it or legless, we’ve got nobody now, one bastard son one bollockless shitehouse and one shit haired fat brazilian bongo beanhead bastard bellend bollockface um cunt

herbie simms - June 22, 2011 Reply

Fox Sports Report tonight is saying Sanchez looks likely to join Man City as they have now bid 33 million for the player.
United will need to match that bid because Sanchez prefers United to City. The only other thing I see happening is Rooney will play in a central attacking midfield position and SAF will look to buy a world class striker to partner Hernandez. Samuel Etto would be perfect but he is 30 years old and so is Berbatov and Michael Owen. So what will be Fergie’s next move? All the top midfielders are being sold to other teams, as the bidding wars continue.

Twisted Blood - June 22, 2011 Reply

There’s still over two months left in the transfer window, is there not?

baloo - June 22, 2011 Reply

Scholes started off as a striker when he was in the youth team and was probably before his 20s. It’s hardly the same thing is it?

sidney - June 22, 2011 Reply

This thread makes me sing “no Sanchez and no surprises” to the tune of Radiohead’s No Surprises

bman - June 22, 2011 Reply

I still think if anybody buys Modric it’s most likely to be us. We’ve almost got all the rest of our transfer business sorted out already, so the club will have the rest of the summer to focus on getting our central midfielder star, and all the indications are that Modric is the man Fergie wants. Even at over £30M, he’d be much better value than Sneijder if you consider that his wages would be probably be £4-5M less than Sneijder’s each season, plus he’s younger so you’d have him for much longer or be able to sell him on. On top of that, I also think he’s probably better suited to the set up of our team these days – we want a team that gets the best out of Rooney, instead of making Rooney job it in sub-optimal positions.

Chelsea are our main rivals for Modric, but the only real advantage they have is that they are in London. They can probably offer less money than we could, since they are also dealing with the cost of replacing their manager and bringing in several other new players. Also, we’ve got the rest of our business sorted out, but Chelsea’s a total mess looking for a new manager and everything, so we’re in a much better position to decide on who we want and make a decisive offer.

bman - June 22, 2011 Reply

I really like the thought of having Carrick, Fletcher, Anderson, and Modric as our proper central midfield players. Each of them has very different qualities and style of play. I just don’t think Sneijder fits into that picture nearly as neatly. Provided Anderson steps on in performances and consistency, and Fletch recovers from his illness to regain the form he had for the previous couple of seasons, that would be a very competitive midfield.

Ed - June 22, 2011 Reply

“Provided Anderson steps on in performances and consistency”

– Good luck. We’ve only been waiting four years for that to happen 🙂

bman - June 22, 2011 Reply

Ed said:
“Provided Anderson steps on in performances and consistency”

– Good luck. We’ve only been waiting four years for that to happen :)

Yeah I know, but I’m always surprised to remind myself of how young Anderson is – he’s just turned 23. He hasn’t been a disaster by any stretch, and he’s had a lot of bad injuries. If he stays injury-free this season, I think he’ll play well. Whether he’ll ever live up to initial hopes is another matter, but I think we let early bloomers like Rooney and Fabregas make us think everybody should be delivering the good by the age of 20, and it’s not at all unusual for players in positions like Anderson’s to take a while to shine.

uncleknobheadforfucksake - June 22, 2011 Reply

giggs still does what anderson was bought to do much better than anderson does or probably ever will, running through the middle, being creative and stuff

MrKirie - June 22, 2011 Reply

Yeah, and that will last for seasons to come!

captainhormone - June 22, 2011 Reply


SKW - June 22, 2011 Reply

Are the Jones and de Gea signing even done yet? BBC is reporting the latter might be off?

Violent Banana - June 22, 2011 Reply

Jones deal done – he’s a United player. The general feeling is that De Gea will sign after the U21 European Championships. I think he’s showing class by not openly speaking of the transfer until it happens – after all he is still an Atletico player.

Bill - June 22, 2011 Reply

João Moutinho is a name I’ve not heard for a while. Surprised he hasn’t been linked with United, can play DM or AM. Probably on Chelsea’s shopping list now I would suspect.

On the issue of Anderson, how anyone who scouted him could believe he was the “new Ronaldihno” as is reported, I will never know! As well as his overrated physical attributes, his other major problem is the thing between his two ears. His application in recent times has been appalling. Too much of a playboy.

herbie simms - June 22, 2011 Reply

Well, Shakhtar are saying they are wiling to sell Douglas Costa, so I don’t know what SAF is waiting for. Natural, gifted attacking left winger or central attacking midfielder.
Next season, he will be worth 30 milion and then he will be gone to Real Madrid or Chelsea. If Ashley Young has been brought in to be the central attacking midfielder, then heaven help us all.

sidney - June 22, 2011 Reply

SSN believe Young has undergone a medical at United http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11661_7001009,00.html
Bye bye Nani, bye bye flair

sidney - June 22, 2011 Reply

I don’t think we’ll sign a midfielder now.

The signs are there… we’ve signed Young who can play in the middle and Jones who play in the holding role. It means Fergie can tinker depending on who we play.

The bullshitting has started, too… Cleverley is being hyped as the next Paul Scholes when he’s obviously not as talented. And he’ll be shunted out wide.

uncleknobheadforfucksake - June 22, 2011 Reply


MartinJol - June 23, 2011 Reply

Why the fuss? Everything is just cool.

dailygaga - June 23, 2011 Reply

Man United prem champions .
Barcelona beat Man utd in two games.
Not the end the world,one might think
but improvement definitely needed
particularly as Scholes,Giggs, Ferdinand ,VDS and Hargreaves
all either ending or coming to end of careers.
Not only are United in serious need of catching up now on Barcelona Real but the Spanish teams are only likely to progress further with top acquisitions. I mean Sanchez to Barcelona will put Barcelona if possible into an even higher gear.
The gap is growing and signings such as Jones and Young are nowhere near good enough if we want to compete with top Spanish and Premiership clubs who are rebuilding with far more cash available than Fergie has available.
WE need to get the Glazers and Fergie out otherwise we are in for a big shock not only on the European front but on the domestic scene also.
Complacency is the enemy we need to be worried and need to act to secure Uniteds dominance.

uncleknobheadforfucksake - June 23, 2011 Reply

there’s nothing wrong with the signing of jones, or the likely one of gea, its just young

Alfonso Bedoya - June 24, 2011 Reply

uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
there’s nothing wrong with the signing of jones, or the likely one of gea, its just young

De Gea was necessary, Jones was planning for the future… but Young is a joke, if he’s supposed to be the answer to our shitty midfield…

MartinJol - June 24, 2011 Reply

Do you want Danny Murphy?

sheesh - June 24, 2011 Reply

Alfonso Bedoya said:
De Gea was necessary, Jones was planning for the future… but Young is a joke, if he’s supposed to be the answer to our shitty midfield…

If he’s competition (and not a replacement) for Nani, then he’s a good signing albeit one that is not a massive priority. If Fergie sees him as a solution to our central midfield woes, he’s potentially a bad signing.
Sadly for him, if we don’t sort our central midfield this summer, Young is going to be the fall-guy here, there and everywhere. He’s a good, solid back-up option (I rate him as a player) but it’s high time we stopped fannying about and started signing more world-beaters.
He could well turn out to be a decent signing if utilised properly. Nobody had huge expectations of Valencia and he’s done alright.

squigs - June 26, 2011 Reply

In fairness to Young, he is a good age and the kind of player suited to a fast counter attacking game, People close to the United scouting team vouched for his professionalism which was the main reason we signed him and not the more erratic Agbonlahor.

We have slightly overpaid and his position is not an immediate priority, but I think he might surprise us a bit. If he can find form of two seasons ago then his excellent crosses and corners will offer a real threat.

Think of a Dwight Yorke scenario, a player who improved in leaps and bounds once he was playing alongside better players.

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