United to go for Huntelaar? But better with Young

July 8, 2009 Tags: , , Reads 13 comments

While Rant rarely engages in idle gossip, newspaper reports have once again linked United with a £20 million move for Real Madrid outcast Klass-Jan Huntelaar. It’s not the first time that the club has apparently expressed an interest in the former Ajax player, who scored eight goals in 20 games for for the Spanish club last season. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson had reportedly been tracking the striker before his £19 million move to Madrid in January.

However, the arrival at Real of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaká and Karim Benzema this summer means that Huntelaar will be available for transfer, just six months after moving to Spain. The forward, who has scored 13 goals in 23 appearances for the Dutch national team, has become a victim of President Florentino Perez’ bank-loan inspired revolution at Real.

The question is, do United really need another central striker? That is not to doubt Huntelaar’s quality as a goalscorer, who’s record at international and club level is better than a goal every other game. But with Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen now at the club, there would seem to be little room for another forward. Indeed, there was really little point bringing Owen into the squad if Ferguson is also after Huntelaar as both occupy the same role. This argument is even more pertinent when youngsters Danny Welbeck and Federico Macheda are brought into the equation.

At the same time, the club has also been linked with a £25 million move for Aston Villa’s excellent winger Ashley Young. The former Watford wide-man has progressed immensely in the past two seasons to become a regular in Fabio Capello’s England team. However, for a player who is unproven at international or Champions League level, Young would cost a fortune. Primarily because United would be shopping at one of the league’s leading teams, but also because there’s always a premium on English talent.

But United are weak in wide areas, despite having Ryan Giggs, Nani, Zoran Tošić, Ji-Sung Park, and new signings Antonio Valencia and Gabriel Obertan in the squad. Serbian wonderkid Adem Ljajić is also due to join the club in January 2010. But Giggs aside none are proven at the highest level, and unfortunately the legendary Welshman is in the twilight of his career.

Together with Valencia, Young would add extreme pace in wide areas – something United will lack through the middle of the park next season. While Tošić, Ljajić and Obertan may well prove themselves in the long term, nothing is guaranteed. Park, meanwhile, deserves his place in the squad as a willing worker but is never going to win a game on his own. Nani is in the last chance saloon.

Young, although frighteningly expensive, will be available if he expresses his desire to leave and does have the requisite quality to make a real difference at the top level. He would surely be a better use of more than £20 million.

13 comments

Red Ranter - July 8, 2009 Reply

Also, Giggs cannot really be considered a winger. Even last season he was lauded for ‘reinventing himself as a central midfield’ — whatever that means. He can hardly be considered a winger. Realistically we have only Nani who provides real attacking threat / creativity of any sort on the wing. Park is more a defensive winger. Valencia will need to have an amazing pre-season if he is to hit the ground running.

I think we really need to strengthen the central midfield with the acquisition of a true box-to-box midfield (I don’t think we can really rely on Hargreaves) as well as the wing.

The striking department is the least of our worries. However I think Fergie sees buying prolific scorers/poachers as a way of offsetting the loss of Ronaldo. I am worried that, in order to accomodate all of Berbatov, Huntelaar and Rooney in one side, he would try to push Rooney out wide.

tom - July 8, 2009 Reply

are you really telling us that united have enough strike power upfront?!
as benetiz would say lets look at the facts;

1. rooney has never got more than 12 EPL goals in a season
2. berbatov only yielded 8/9 EPL goals in his first season
3. Even tevez has scored more EPL goals in his first season at old trafford (15) than any current united player

the truth is united have no established out and out striker and for all of rooney’s puffing about being the main man he has failed to produce up front when given the oppourtunity.

United need another striker in addition to owen if they want to win the league and UCL.

english players are all over rated and the fact is if one was to contruct a world 11 team, only rio ferdinand would make it onto the sheet!

Ed - July 8, 2009 Reply

Fair points. But more of a case that in United’s 4-2-3-1 system (or whatever it’ll be, it certainly won’t be two up front) there’s no real room for a couple of poachers in the squad. I’d certainly see Huntelaar as a better bet than Owen but £20m is a lot for an Owen replica.

dimitar - July 8, 2009 Reply

Last year Tevez scored 5 EPL Goals, Berbatov 9
Previous year both Berba and Tevez scored 15 EPL goals each, but berba had significantly less support from his teammates than Tevez.

Cabronyc - July 8, 2009 Reply

Truth is somewhere in the middle in my opinion. While it seems that we have a powerful striking force, realistically we only have Rooney & Berba; we cannot count on Owen as a first 11 as he’s clearly a sub. On the other hand if another striker is brought on, that means that Rooney will be immediately dropped either behind the attack or on the left wing.
Another thing that I noticed (correct me if I’m wrong) is that everybody is looking at the forward line-obviously because of ronaldo&tevez living, but I think the middle should be SAF’s main concern: with Giggs & Scholes in probably their last season we need someone to provide for the strikers and I don’t think we should count on Rooney for that. Even with the rare brilliance of Carrick and the aggressive Anderson I don;t think we have a middle strong enough for next season’s PL and CL.

Deanie - July 8, 2009 Reply

We’ve got the money for Ashley Young & Klaas-Jan Huntelaar! So why not buy both? After all, it probably won’t be long until Owen’s injured again anyway?!
Listen. We’ve still got about £80 million left. How can we possibly go without buying such a fantastic striker as Huntelaar is? He’s good in the air, with overhead kicks the lot…! We really need someone of his quality in the team! I’d sooner have 1 too many strikers, than not have enough! Plus, I don’t think Berbatov’s much good either.

Julian - July 8, 2009 Reply

If it was a direct choice between Huntelaar and Owen we should have gone for the former. Owen is high risk, not financially but from the footballing point of view. Both Rooney and certainly Berbatov have yet to show they can be consistent goalscorers. if deployed consistently as a central striker, Rooney may do just that but Berbatov’s record shows he’s not really a true predator. That leaves Owen and the many question marks that hang over him – injuries, pace and even desire. All in all I think we should go for Huntelaar.

MKL - July 8, 2009 Reply

No need for another striker?

Consider this,

it has been widely guessed (I know – we are only guessing before the pre-season) that United would next season play more 4-4-2 than last season, because there is no more Ronaldo as a focal point. If it is 4-4-2 – and we have at the moment three proven strikers, wouldn’t this be stretching the squad the limits?

And don’t say Macheda and Wellbeck – they are both unproven and can chip in at the most 15-20 games each. (And at least half of them from the bench)¨

So with a likelyhood of us playing with two strikers – would you feel comfortable having only Owen on the bench considering his recent injury history? I wouldn’t.

And having 60-70 games a season – two striker slots makes it 120-140 games to share for the strikers – there is more than enough games for 4 proven strikers and 2 excellent prospects.

Bring on Huntelaar! 🙂

MBm - July 8, 2009 Reply

Sell Berbaflop and buy Hunter is a smart choice !

dimitar - July 8, 2009 Reply

“Berbaflop” created the most goal chances and assists last season – more than CR7, Rooney or Tevez. Maybe more than all of them combined. Sell him for Huntelaar, who also does not create chances, and you will have Anderson and Park only left to do all the assists. Before talking nonsense – go check the Actim index for player ratings based on real statistics.

tom - July 8, 2009 Reply

I should of also said my main concern is the CM area we really lack a creative attacking player. carrick was absolutely woeful last season in terms of attacking play and in the champions league final he kept playing useless long balls on a very quick pitch. The priority is to bring in another cm player, but no one really comes to mind?

Just1n - July 9, 2009 Reply

With the signing of Valencia and possibly Young i see us playing with these orthodox wingers who beat the fullback and cross the ball. Berbatov and Rooney are not that great in the air and Huntelaar would be perfect for this role.

scotto - July 9, 2009 Reply

young, to united? you’re all having a laugh! we have plenty of wide players, and young is clearly not united quality. he was bought excessively from watford and now united would be mugs to pay MORE for him from villa, huntelaar as good a player as he is would only suffer at united with the players we have at the moment for the striker positions, i think fergie knows what he is doing and he has the foundations for another great united side. then with this 80m or whatever he should buy one ronaldo quality type player and then bolster his weaker positions and buy some cheap reliable backup. but for this to work we need our existing young players like anderson, nani, tosic etc. to step up another level. bring on the new season! quad here we come! hehe

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