May 01

Lewandowski, Falcao, Wanyama…let the silly season begin

Sir Alex Ferguson: Wayne Rooney long-term future Manchester UnitedDespite the season being not over for another three weeks, newspaper are dedicating an increasing number of columns to transfer rumours and, as usual, United find themselves right in the middle of it. The next few months could be absolutely crucial for United’s future, something Sir Alex Ferguson hinted to in the immediate aftermath of last week’s title celebrations as he stressed the importance of planning ahead.

With City likely to launch into another shopping spree – one that they hope will yield slightly better players than Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell – and Chelsea edging closer to Jose Mourinho, United are likely to face an even harder challenge in 2013-14.

While we wait for the Rooney saga to either be settled or explode to another level, all we can do is formulate hypothesis on the possible ins and outs. With Paul Scholes set to retire, uncertainty surrounding Darren Flecther’s future and Wayne Rooney uncomfortable – and not good enough – when deployed in a deeper role, much like in the last five years, midfield is the area United must look to address.

We know all about the reasons behind this necessity, and the potential risks of overlooking the midfield issue yet again, so let’s not repeat ourselves and spell some names out. The Mirror today revives the Victor Wanyama rumour, while the Telegraph points at Porto’s attacking midfielder James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale. Bale, though, is considered to be a very unlikely target as Fergie appears willing to spend his money elsewhere.

Wanyama does indeed look like the sort of physical presence United have lacked in the engine room for a long time, but the SPL is hardly a reliable benchmark in terms of measuring a player’s talent, while Rodriguez would undoubtedly add guile and speed to United’s midfield but Fergie’s record with players from the Portuguese league – apart from Ronaldo that is – is suspect to say the least.

The Manchester United transfer rumours continue to link Lewandowski with a summer move to Old Trafford but they have taken another twist, with the Polish striker’s agent declaring that his client won’t be playing in the Premier League “this summer”, as reported by the Guardian. Why United would be so desperate to add another striker is anyone’s guess, but the Telegraph argues that Ferguson should look at quality rather than quantity this summer, hence the suggestion that Nani and Anderson could be sold.

Getting rid of the pair would allow United to pour some extra cash in their transfer kitty, money that could perhaps be spent on Leighton Baines, although the media are unanimous in declaring that United have cooled their interest for the Everton left-back.

Fergie has done his bit to keep us guessing for another couple months by saying that: “We’ve been doing a bit of work on that over the last three or four months, targeting who the players are that we feel could enhance us, make us better or help us maintain the level we’re at.”

The silly season has well and truly begun.


Dan (@MUFC_dan87)


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Tags: Transfer Rumours · Transfer Stories

21 Responses to “Lewandowski, Falcao, Wanyama…let the silly season begin”

  • Yes, no, yes

  • Speaking of silly season: How is Grognard doing you think?

    If he is alive, he must be hopping up and down like a mad-man.

    If Barca are the best team ever, what are Bayern????

    • @Opti: Don’t really care to be honest, every dog has its day. There is only one club for us. UNITED we stand, and UNITED we fall.

    • @Opti: Munich have a very well constructed team. Lots of balance between its attacking and defending elements, with speed and dynamics in the skilled posititions.
      Not impossible to simulate for any well run club and certainly not out of the realm of possibility for us.
      They have not just out-maneuvered Barca, they matched their skilled players with likewise skilled players, but Munich’s were fitter and stronger.
      We always knew that Barca could be muscled aside, but it also takes ability not just brawn.

    • @Opti: Holy batshit batgirl suddenly people get all serious, like their opinion should be treated like a pronouncement from the oracle…

      What part of entertainment don’t they get? Just think of all the beer that gets drunk whilst pontificating on the various merits of moleskin on the boot heels…

  • Don’t have much to say about our targets TBH. It’s up to the Glazers to commit much cash to the cause, otherwise the whole saga, silly or not, becomes moot and unattainable.

    If we bossed the TM our arguments would become pertinent, however we don’t, and so no matter what we need or what we should expect, it’s a fantasy, a dream, and a then a rude awakening!!

    We must get it through our thick skulls, that we have a responsibility to the Glazers, their needs, their demands, their mandates and their GREED. There is no OURS to the matter, we are simply slaves to their cause and to the the cause of finding ourselves helpless to do nothing much about it.

    But, you know, they could shoot my argument down with a swift arrow to its heart. Make me and all other detractors foolish, without vision, and with no leg to perch an argument upon.
    They could do that, couldn’t they. But what we’ll get is a measured response, based on our history and it’s legendary status amongst the devotees – we will always build from within, because that’s the way we’ve always done it, and thats because we have been always successful doing it.
    Three CL/European Cups in the 46 years I’ve supported them is the measure of success that I now judge them by. If United were to go out of business tomorrow (and or course, they won’t), I just don’t think that their legacy serves them that well!!

    • @Redrich:Redrich I just gave you a thumbs up on this. You are clearly of a similar vintage to me (!) & I agree with the essence of your post – especially the European legacy – albeit undoubtedly distorted by Munich, though I suspect the inference was on Fergie’s self-confessed under achievement in this regard.

      My only question is about how much Fergie and the scouting system is behind our relatively poor transfer record of late and how much is on the Glazers? I have no doubt that there is far more consideration given to our outlay under the Glazers, but at the same time I also feel there has been a lot of money spent quite poorly while they have been owners – Anderson, Hargreaves, Bebe, Tosic, Berbatov, Nani, Young etc (around 120M there + salaries). Ok you can argue it’s easy to say with hindsight, but still, it doesn’t make for good reading. Meanwhile, the fact that we’re still relying on the products of the 1990′s vintage youth team tells you all you need to know about the current academy, or at least management’s faith in it.

      The Glazers certainly have their share of the blame and I’m absolutely no fan of theirs or their business model. But at the same time, our management, scouts and coaching staff have to share responsibility for our relative European underachievement, regardless of domestic achievements over the last 20 years. In fact, to my mind, it’s because of that sustained domestic dominance and our unique stability for such a period of time that we should have had far greater European success.

      • @ForeverRed: Undoubtedly skewed by the miracle of ’99 and then the by Terry’s slip in ’08. It is a very unconvincing Euro show.

        While I share your views about “our management, scouts and coaching staff”, the subtle message is always that “we are doing the best we can”.
        I don’t think anyone has turned their back on the club because of failure. The distinct lack of it has perennially muted our growth.

        • The_Philosopher

          @Redrich: DOing the best we can?

          Chelsea got Mata, Hazard and Oscar. Three brilliant players. We were only interested in Hazard.

          How good is our coaching management and scouting really?

          Newcastle keep pulling up gems.

          Barcelona can sign whoever they want.

          There are a lot of good buys out there that we don’t seem interested in.

          What was wrong with (then) Fulham’s Dembele?

          Why do other teams seem to be able to pull off great transfers but we hit and miss so much?

  • Absolute scores aside, Bayern have just done to Barca what Barca have done to us in the last 2 meetings. Ok, Messi was missing, but even so it’s quite a remarkable paradigm shift and sadly not something we’ve been remotely close to achieving. In fact, when was the last time we crushed a European heavyweight? Rarely have we looked dominant in Europe. Bayern’s feat is quite remarkable really, and then you add in Dortmund’s only slightly less impressive dismantling of Real… Certainly a shift afoot in European football.

    Clearly much of this is down to the quality of players at Bayern/Dortmund, but I also feel that there is a tactical and psychological element in how they approach the big games which we seem to lack. There was a refreshing positivity in Bayern’s imposition and execution of their own game on Barca, while still working relentlessly on the high energy pressing. To me this is very much about tactics and fitness as well as personnel.

    So in the broader context of this thread, even if we were to bring in at least 1 quality CM and a winger, do others think this will in itself bring us close enough to Bayern, Barca etc.? How far realistically will we go in Europe next season?

    • @ForeverRed: Such improvements in tactical gameplan, the recruitment of European class players and overall increase in fitness and discipline can only be seen with an overhaul in the technical staff, including Ferguson. Under Fergie’s stewardship we will not win another European trophy unless we have the luck of 99 or 08, certainly not with the conviction that Barca and Bayern have managed to do it with over the years.

      Since Fergie and his team won’t be leaving this summer, the best we can hope for is some sort of investment in midfield which will go at least some way of bridging the gap.

      • The_Philosopher

        @Moscow: Yes a complete overhaul is called for.

        But we can start the evolution by buying Gundogan and Reus or Lewandowski.

        We need more players who already play that style of football.

        Kagawa can play that football. Robin van Persie can play that football. So lets get more people to help start the evolution.

        If Jurgen Klopp wins against Bayern in the champion’s league final and then subsequently re-takes the German title (which might not be too difficult against Pep Guardiola) then I would vote for him to be the next United Manager(assisted by Gary Neville)

        • tonymontanna4united

          @The_Philosopher: Im glad someone else has mentioned klopp, thought it was just me, but yeah im really liking what I’ve seen of him so far.
          I watch quite a fair bit of German football tbh, so have known all about his fantastic achievements with Dortmund these last few years, but didn’t want to get carried away until I saw them have a proper go in europe.
          My opinion of what I’ve seen from them this season in europe though- fucking wow.
          They take the good bits from barca (constant pressing and work rate off the ball), and combine it with barca’s ball retention ability without ever over doing it, resorting to playing false 9′s, tiki taka BS etc.
          Their game is all about fast, counter attacking, penetrative football.
          I watch them sometimes and I think I’ve gone into some sort of time warp, its so similar to how we used to be, albeit with more modern tactics and pressing off the ball, but still the fast movement when in possession is just a carbon copy of us years ago.
          Their youthful squad must contain atleast 10 players under the age of 25, all excellent, probably all good enough to walk into most teams in europe (hummels, subotic, gundogan, gotze, reus, lewandowski) assembled for little more than the scousers paid for andy bloody carroll.
          You can tell the closeness within that squad. There’s no egos, no one above putting in a shift, and they all seem to buy into what it means to play for that club (i.e. their fantastic celebrations and tribute to the fans last week after the 4-1).
          I don’t want to start talking prematurely about fergie and his departure, as its quite likely he could stay on for another 5 years, but I have to agree, right now im looking at him and im thinking there’s just something very special about this guy, im just intrigued about the thought of him here.
          I don’t know maybe its just me, but I think he ticks a lot of the boxes of what we’d look for in a new manager (his team plays fantastic football, not afraid to give youth its chance, tactically excellent, closeness and team spirit within the squad etc).
          Just think he’d be a brilliant fit here, but tbh I think its almost a given it’ll be David Moyes when the time comes. You just watch.

    • The_Philosopher

      @ForeverRed: High energy pressing is right.

      But with Ferguson still fielding Ryan Giggs in midfield you can forget about high energy pressing at United. And with it you can also toss out pace and work rate.

      I’m also frustrated with our style of play as you are (by the sounds of things)

      And I echo your frustration here too: When was the last time we just blew a team away?

      When was the last time we put a major footballing franchise to the sword like Bayern did to Barca or Dortmund to Real in the first leg?

      We don’t do that any more. We just grind our way through. And I’m all for work rate but surely we can add some flair to our grinding play as well. surely we can try something different! Our style is stuffy and boring!!!

      The passing game that Bayern and Barca play seems too intricate an exercise for Ferguson to pull off. I was ranting about this last week.

      Ferguson is just stubborn. Change is certainly afoot in Europe and we’re getting left behind. If we were in that champion’s league final againt Bayern what would you think of our chances of beating them?

      Bayer and Dortmund play an intelligent pass and move game which is so easy on the eyes. Its sophisticated and it requires the whole team to pass and move as one.

      I am completely in favour of that kind of football.

    • tonymontanna4united

      @ForeverRed: So in the broader context of this thread, even if we were to bring in at least 1 quality CM and a winger, do others think this will in itself bring us close enough to Bayern, Barca etc.?

      In a word, no unfortunately.
      Don’t get me wrong, fergie is still capable of winning trophies, and im not trying to claim he cant nor deserves to be moved on, but and its a big but, I just don’t think hes good enough tactically, nor in the manner he sets the team up, to be able to triumph in europe again sadly.
      An obsession of using far too many square pegs in round holes, often bizarre team selections, his overly negative stifling tactics that restrict ourselves more than the opposition and a side that is too workmanlike and lacking in flair are probably the biggest reasons for me.
      Really I just don’t think this united side has it in it to have a good run in the cups anymore.
      In a long 38 game marathon where mistakes can be made, and defeats suffered at the hands of your rivals and yet still result in you winning the league comfortably, is where I think fergie excels above anyone else.
      Hes great at utilising his squad over the course of the season, the team very machine like, never particularly outstanding, yet very very consistent.
      In cup games however, particularly in europe, where the margin for error is so low, where you need your tactics spot on, and sometimes a bit of flair to change things when its not going great, this is where I feel fergie is often lacking and probably will continue to do so.
      You only need look at our record in the cups the last few years to see that its the league over the cups, where we excel in, maybe because this team is just better suited to the non knockout format.

  • Hold everything, Lads.

    The new GM is singing an old song. He says “there is no need for “a major retooling”". Adding “There’s incredible depth. We could put two first teams out with 11 internationals in each.
    “We have a young squad, each now a year older. We’re very comfortable with the make-up of team and squad.”

    OMFG and goodnight. 8-O 8-O 8-O 8-O

    • @Redrich: glad they say we have plenty of depth what we need is a lil more class. cm/cdm and a left foot winger that can start 90% of our matches and we will have a fine squad.

      • @gator: “plenty of depth” is proportionate to what you want to win. We do have a deep enough squad to match most PL teams and with proper management, we will always contend domestically.
        But the holy grail is the CL and most United fans would agree that we are as deep as a Saharan rain puddle in that respect.
        Only better players up and down the pitch will give the ones we have now an incentive to improve.
        Lets face it, Nani would probably be better if we had DiMaria instead of Young and Rooney would try harder if we had another WC striker instead of Welbeck of Hernandez.

        In the end, the end-game is all about the Glazer’s squishing their debt and so the CL agenda is on hold until then.

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