When one sits back to construct lists of the best players on a team or the best players of all time, obviously the position has to be taken into account. And let’s face it, one position that comes with players who showed true skill, pedigree and a touch of class is that of the center forward. Manchester United has been blessed throughout its history with extraordinary center forwards who transcended their position, redefined the duties of that position and above all either created or scored plenty of goals or both.
The finale of Manchester United’s tour of the U.S. kicks off in a few short minutes, and while it goes down as only a preseason friendly, it’s not a stretch to say that tonight’s clash against Barcelona will serve as a good barometer for where United are heading into the new season.
With a little over a month left in the summer transfer window, it’s still uncertain whether or not we’ll see ‘Manchester United have signed [insert desired target here]’ at least one more time before the window shuts. Given what David Gill said earlier this week, the chances are more in favor of it occurring than some feel, but that’s something we won’t find out for certain until after United have returned to English soil. So, for the moment, there’s only so much that can be said, speculated, and guestimated about who, if/when, and why/why not.
With the retirement of United legend Paul Scholes at the end of last season, a gap has been left in the squad’s midfield. Admittedly the ginger prince did not find himself playing as many games in 2010-11 as he was used to in previous seasons, but even at 36-years-old he had the vision, creativity and guile to split a defence and pick a precision pass. Without the Salford born man for Sir Alex to call upon, a new playmaker is much needed, with three in particular linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer.
After following the dominant, tour-opening 4-1 win over New England with a 7-0 shellacking of Seattle, you could be forgiven for feeling like another massive Manchester United-MLS mismatch would end up being yet another mauling.
Let me start by saying that this isn’t going to be a anger filled anti-Fergie tirade like the ones I have become famous for in the past. Let’s just say that I may be in a small minority of fans who truly are not pleased with what has gone on this off-season with our transfer policies and actions. And it’s time I had the forum to write about my concerns and discontent in the only way I know how, Grognard style.
Sure, it was only a preseason friendly, but I’m certain I’m not the only one who’s glad to see Manchester United back in action. And speaking of action, there was plenty of it to be had last night, as United opened their five-match U.S. tour with a 4-1 win over the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.