It’s been slightly over a month now since our dismantling at the hands of Barcelona. Yet, the pain has been eased (or blotted out depending on your preferred perspective) somewhat by our activity in the transfer market thus far. While most of our major rivals have yet to make a big money signing (Chelsea did get Villas Boas for a pretty penny), we’ve gone ahead and clinched the signatures of Jones, Young and De Gea.
Despite De Gea being the only one who really filled a need, fans have just as much to be excited about over the signings of the 2 Englishmen.
I for one cannot wait to see Jones out on the field in the red jersey. How we’ve longed for some toughness in our squad when for so long now, Vidic has been our primary and some may argue, only source of that. Soft in the middle has been a mantra that opposition fans have taunted us with over the past couple of seasons. Unfortunately, that has been true more often than not since Hargreaves was down and out for the count. Jones might be the player who changes all that.
Will he be the second coming of Keano? One can only hope.
Will he be able to emulate Hargo in the way he protected our back four and snuffed out the attack headed toward our goal? Maybe in time. I hope that we give him a go from early on in midfield just to get him more game time and better acclimated to the rigors of the league and the expectation that comes with putting on the famous red strip.
Young doesn’t need much of an introduction since we’ve seen him time and time again for Villa. He’s demonstrated his ability to not shy away from the big stage with some huge performances for England recently. Considering the claim that most English players retreat into a shell when they play for the 3 lions, we can be encouraged that Young has not shirked away when cast into the spotlight. That will do us a world of good when we’re up against our major rivals domestically and in Europe and need a spark of inspiration from somewhere.
A New Playmaker?
As with most United fans, the one signing we’re all still waiting for is the eventual successor to Paul Scholes. Despite Cleverley’s claim to want to fill that position for United, he might not be quite ready. Then again, it’s hard to see any player really ever be like Scholes. From the get go, a fairer expectation would be to ask for a player who can come in and excel creatively behind our forwards while not being afraid to get stuck in and defend deep when needed. It does appear (at time of writing) that Nasri is on his way to City. It still befuddles me that Wenger would be so adamant about not selling him to us, and yet, be willing to let him go to City. Does that mean that Wenger does not consider City as an equal to Arsenal? Based on the transfer fee that’s being thrown around, it appears to be a figure or valuation that we are more than willing to meet. If the deal for Nasri to the other half of Manchester goes through, we will have to move on quickly as the other top clubs start to narrow down and place concrete bids for the players on their shopping list. And we know from the past couple of seasons how unwilling United is to get into a bidding war.
If it all falls apart and we end up starting next season with only the 3 new signings, will that be enough? We addressed the Van Der Sar replacement issue and got the man we wanted. But if we don’t get our replacement for Scholes, can we have a successful season playing Rooney in that role? Or perhaps attempt to somehow integrate someone like Nani or Young into that position and hope they do the job? Maybe Cleverley comes out and surprises everyone with his play? Perhaps we could just promote from within and allow Ravel Morrison to have a breakout season?
The new season can’t come soon enough…