Jan 03

Possible new signings could define United crisis

Manchester United's Patrice Evra is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring his side's second goal.Some people would argue that we are in a crisis. Hard to disagree when they come up with points such as, “How many of our players would get in to any other top side in the world. The answer would be only a handful; Van Persie, Carrick and Rooney. Rafael and David De Gea also possibilities but that’s about it. It’s easy to say, but a couple of big signings and small changes could change things dramatically.

At Left back, we have Patrice Evra. He’s been magnificent over the years and been loyal. Still decent at going forward but defending he’s been very poor and that is the main priority. He’s almost always poor against Tottenham (and largely due to Lennon) but the latest defeat at home was as though it was his debut. His positioning was awful!

Possible replacements are Southampton’s Luke Shaw and Real Madrid’s Fabio Coentrao. Luke Shaw is only 18 and is one of the most sought after players in Southampton’s latest generation of talented players and it’s because of that he would cost £20+ million (and also due to the fact he’s signed a new contract recently and is English of course). Fabio Coentrao who nearly came to United on a loan in the summer is also a terrific left back and has experience behind him playing in the Champions League and having already 43 caps for Portugal. He is still only 25 and having to play second fiddle to Marcelo means he wouldn’t be as expensive as Luke Shaw.

In the middle of the park, it’s obvious we need a CM and one that would speed up the play since it’s so slow. By the time we’re near the oppositions final third they have their team back in shape and organised. Cleverley has produced some good displays recently but still don’t think he is good enough for Manchester United (and hasn’t been the same since Kevin Davies injured him at the Reebok) compared to midfielders the other big teams have got. You look at Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona and even City, and you will agree Cleverley is not good enough for a place in the starting eleven (yet). Anderson has had plenty of chances and his time is up for me.

Ilkay GundoganCabaye and Vidal have had plenty of shouts but I can’t see Juventus selling their midfield power house and Cabaye isn’t ‘world class’ for me. A player who would sit perfectly next to or just in front of Carrick is ?lkay Gündo?an. He is only 23, already with 137 appearances in the Bundesliga and was their catalyst to reaching the Champions League final last season. Also, for a possible world class central midfielder at approximately £25mil, he’s relatively cheap, especially in today’s market. If United were to get him in January, he would be available in the Champions League this season, having not featured for Dortmund. Other possibilities would be Alonso with only 6 months left on his contract and Mata. The problem Mata would bring is Rooney would still play off the top and Mata would have to play on the left, where he won’t be as useful.

I think the final improvement needed to be made is on the wing. Januzaj has made an amazing impact coming on the scene like he has, but he isn’t ready yet. He’ll slowly improve and fill his shirt like Cristiano did. Young, Nani and Valencia have all been very poor for me. United have always had very good wingers in Beckham and Giggs and it was always going to be difficult replacing them. It shows how weak they are when we can’t play Nani and have to play Valencia because he’s better defensively. Would you ever see Ribery or Robben dropped because they want to be defensive? You teach them to defend and if they can’t you have to replace them! Valencia is good but nothing more and at United you need to be more than just good. 423 out of 533 crosses have been unsuccessful this season (a league high) which just proves the wingers have been poor. Young was a poor buy and think he’d be good for a mid table team. Nani is very inconsistent and can’t beat the first man when delivering set pieces, but he’s shown glimpses of what he can do (which is what is annoying). Unlike Valencia, Nani is good on the ball and not just go on the outside every time. He can cut in, he’s both footed and has a decent shot on him. If I was to play any of them 3 it would be him.

Angel Di Maria is an option; however he would be a risk in the Premier League as he’s not the strongest of players. I would love to get Reus in but I from what I have read, I don’t think he wants to come. However there is always hope as his buyout clause is supposedly £29.3 million. A possible makeweight for the deal could be Kagawa. Although I like Kagawa a lot and he is a very gifted player, his best position is off the forward and unfortunately for him Rooney is playing there. That only leaves one position and I don’t think he is good enough on the wing.

Rio and VidicAnother improvement could be made at CB, where Vidic and Rio are nearing the end of their careers and you wouldn’t think Smalling and Evans are the best CB’s you’ll come across, although they’ve done pretty well there together recently. United need a CB but I don’t think it’s necessarily an urgent position we need to improve on.

Coentrao probably wouldn’t cost any more than £15 million. A world class winger and a CM would cost United more or less £60 million. For example IF United got Gündo?an and Reus (admittedly unlikely) All of a sudden, you have an attacking six of Nani/Valencia, Carrick, Gündo?an, Reus, Rooney and Van Persie. Now that attack would be feared. £75 million may seem a lot but we’ve been told he has that and with a few departures, it wouldn’t be as much. The question is would they want to come?

One of the plusses has been the young players that have improved so much. David De Gea already up there with the best in the league, and the likes of Welbeck, Januzaj and Phil Jones has been terrific this season. Even Evans and Smalling have put their shifts in. We’ve still got a very young team so the future isn’t too dull!

Sir Alex Ferguson shakes hands with David MoyesDavid Moyes wasn’t my favourite choice either but now we’ve got him, we have to back him. He hasn’t done well in his interviews with what he’s said and his defensive substitutions but he’s slowly improving. I think he made a big mistake changing the backroom staff straight away but it was a bold decision and easy to say in hindsight. I think Sir Alex Ferguson has to take some responsibility, as the team is simply not good enough. He may have left a championship winning side, but that’s only because all the other teams underperformed and well we did have Sir Alex.

All our Premier League opponents recruited and strengthened in the summer whereas United, criminally, didn’t.

I can’t see us winning the league any more. The title is City’s to lose. As long as we get in the top 4, do well in the CL and maybe win the Carling Cup or F.A Cup, considering the circumstances, it will have been a successful season.

I would just like to add that I’ve been to several away games this year including Liverpool, Hull, Villa, Stoke and Leverkusen. One thing we haven’t lost is our atmosphere. If anything it has improved even more. I think the supporters realise the position we are in and have backed Moyes!

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Tags: Opinion Piece · Transfer Rumours

No Responses to “Possible new signings could define United crisis”

  • The rumour mill seems to being going mad with news from spain in relation to Koke from A Madrid…….I wonder….we do need to buy to improve..too many mediocre performances….

  • well i agree with you to an extent, that dortmand midfielder and reuss, but cant see them coming to united. I would sign coentrao and spend a fortune on vidal, deffo another winger if not 2, and a defender. like you said we have a young team, sell young, nani, Anderson, cleverly, hernandaz, evra, Fabio, keep rafeal, jones evans, smalling, welbeck, rooney, van persie, janusi, we need players fit to wear the shirt and some I have mentioned are not fir to be in the starting 11, also still have my doubts about moyes.

  • good read. would love to see some of that in jan but not holding my breath. Ill still be here if all we do is bring back a few loan stars. but im a romantic like that…

    felly still has a chance to come good and i hope fletch surprises some people this year.

    …but if you were to give me a new starter at lb and cm i think we could stay in europe and pick up some silver by the end of the term.

    • @gator: Pick up silver? In the Champions League? This season? 8-O

      • @Moscow: ;) guess those two statements were separate and should have intimated so… stay in europe next term(top 4) and win some silver… any of the cups were still after would be welcome this year.

        and with two class starters at cm and lb we could get there easily i think. new lb and raphiel back along with a new cm allowing jones to get back to cb gives us a much better look.

  • I disagree. Ferguson had Garay lined up for the summer and I think he rightly identified that we need experience in central defence now that Rio and Vidic cannot be relied upon to play week in and week out. Our midfield has been terrible for years but over the last few seasons there has been a definite increase in the number of goals leaked through defensive errors.

    Evans has proven himself competent alongside an experienced central defender. But put him alongside Smalling and he instantly looks shakier. Good defender but not a leader and leadership is what we desperately need.

    The problem is that Ferguson failed to blood Smalling and Jones adequately as central defenders. Now we are in such a crisis that it is experience and leadership we need more than anything in key areas such as central defence and central midfield.

    Id love a good midfielder but world class midfielders are difficult to sign and we cannot afford to waste more money on someone who turns out to be unable to make the step up like we did with Fellaini.

    Personally I’d shuffle Carrick Jones and Fletcher together in central midfield to at least ensure we are defensively solid in midfield.

    If we stop conceding so many goals then with players like Rooney, Van Persie and Januzaj and even Welbeck we are good for a goal or two a game even under someone as unimaginative as Moyes.

  • i wonder how the board could allowed this thinks to happen,we are talking about man utd ,one of the most valuable clubs and sporting brands.the board is earning millions a year ,how could they misjudge the situation so much.now all the blame goes to moyes,but the board is running the club.this was a process ,the leftback,cm,winger problem didnt happen over night ,it was slowly coming,the fans have seen it long ago and they have spoken about it.the fans had no power to change anything.but the board was in sleep all the time as the time shows.they have to take all the blame,as they take their millions every year.

    • @toshe: Toshe – agree with this and the omnipotent Fergie needs to carry a good deal of responsibility along with the board. Moyes is not helping himself for sure, but this decline has been in the making for a number of years. There has been no substantive team development/ evolution since Ronaldo/Tevez left – just the last hurrah for Fergie in signing RvP. Just look at how few players in the side we have at the prime age range of 25-30 (never mind being world class) and that tells you how much management has been asleep at the wheel since we were last humbled by Barca – despite all the promises to the contrary. As you say, this has been an entirely predictable decline over 3-4 years, bordering on neglect. Just buy a few mid-table standard players or a bunch of unproven youngsters and then loan them out or stick them in the reserves for 3 years – that just about sums up our strengthening of the team in Fergie’s twilight years.

      And I don’t completely buy the argument that there’s been no money – including Young 18M, Berbatov 30M, Valencia 16M, Smalling 10M, DdG 18M, RvP 24M, Jones 17M, Fellani 27M, Tosic & Lajic 16.5M, Bebe 8M, Kagawa 18M? Buttner 4M. Go back a little further and add Hargreaves at 17.5M, Nani and Anderson combined 35M etc… That’s around 260M since 2007/8 on these players alone. I would argue only 3 of them have had an significant/sustained impact on the first team and many in the list obviously never will. Anyway, everyone’s entitled to draw their own conclusions, but even accounting for the 80M received for Ronaldo, I wouldn’t have been thrilled at the return on investment if that had been my 260M.

      • @ForeverRed: Fully agree.

        The way I see it, it is the manager’s responsibility to reach the targets (win league, reach finals, etc.). It is the board’s responsibility to make/save money for the Glaziers. Money will always be provided to the manager IF he can convince the board that he needs that money. Our problem came to be when Fergie started seeing the view of the board. Great in principle IF Fergie was a forward thinker. He is not. His focus was on leaving a legacy for himself. (Can’t blame him though). His strategy of forward thinking is ‘lets buy all the talented youngsters we can and loan them all out to other clubs’. This way we will ensure some gems’. In other words, his strategy is on building up numbers for the future and hoping other clubs will do the work of developing

    • @toshe: Complacency, simple as that.

  • If I was Rooney I would also stall on a contract extension. What player with any ambition at all would want to play with this bunch of hacks.
    Fact is, Rooney would be doing the right thing to leave, and also no decent players could look at this club and see a future for success/silverware for themselves either.
    The ambition lies firmly with the Ownership and Board – they, apparently, will rest on their long standing belief that there is no value in the transfer market, that the bigger belief is that the Glazer fortune needs to be protected and not spent.
    Rooney, Van Persie and Carrick are our spotlight players – I would look to see them all leave in the next year and a half.

    Frankly this club has an agenda that doesn’t have winning in it. The objective is to pull wool over its following in order to pursue maximum profits.
    You, the team and any ambitions the two of us have are not on the drawing board. This is now a major corporation under the guise of a football team. The idea that anything other than appeasing the shareholders is laughable and totally naive.
    In the space of 5 years we have gone from Champions of Europe to a mid table team that will struggle to hold on to its present position.

    Pathetic, disgraceful and almost unimaginable. To think that we all stood by and watched it happen – we should all be ashamed of ourselves!

    • @Redrich: The point about standing back and watching all this happen, makes sense in theory but in practical terms is a bit unrealistic.To affect the glazers you have to hit them in the pocket.So how many utd fans would boycott the MUFC “brand”.hardly any. People will still go to the matches, buy the merchandise and everything else, even if we’re going through a rough patch, so it’s just all wishful thinking.Unless a consortium or extremely wealthy individuals come along and are prepared to pay the over inflated asking price that the glazers would want, its a situation we’re stuck with.

  • Still i dont think moyes is the man.He has not convinced me yet. 8-O

  • Based on current evidence, the best targets for DM United would be:
    – Ronaldo for LB (we need attacking playerd)
    – Bale for RB (as above + he’s british). Besides we know Brazilians are not dependable
    – Baines for LWM (someone with defensive qualities to compliment Valencia on the right)
    – Messi (to assist Rooney in CDM)
    Now we just need RVP to keep fit to assist Welbeck and Fellaini up front.

    The above is plan-B as plan-A is most likely a bit difficult: 11-Rooneys.

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