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Nani and Anderson – The Future Gets Brighter

I just came back from an argument with my landlord. It was a problem with my apartment’s internet. As it happens, I was out of the loop for just a day and what a day it has been.

DAMN! So much has happened. And I thought the summer was going to be boring.

Well anyway, Nani – dubbed the next Ronaldo – and Anderson – dubbed the next Ronaldinho are coming to OT. So let’s see what this means to our team composition next season.

First, here is a thanks to Carlos Queiroz. Portugal has become a breeding ground for great young talent of late. Our assistant manager has been very influential in the past with the Ronaldo situation. Him staying on with United during the turbulent post world cup mess had to do a lot with Carlos Queiroz’s presence and advise. The spectacular season that Ronaldo’s had has also gotten these two young kids interested. Ronaldo must surely have become a role model for the kids back in Portugal. And the Portuguese speaking contingent in United now grows to three (plus Queiroz).

The other thing that needs to be lauded is the transfer strategy of United this summer. While last year, David Gill and Sir Alex made claims public about wrapping up the transfer business before the world cup. What resulted was more speculation linking the club with every conceivable defensive midfielder. When nothing was done prior to the cup, desperation set in afterwards, with potential United targets having dream world cups and player prices shooting sky high. All we managed was a Michael Carrick, who despite being an excellent buy, was a tad overpriced by a couple of millions.

This time, it has been more Wenger-esque, with the only difference being that the young players we’ve bought have been coveted by other clubs too and are not relative unknowns. The deal bring both of them is reported to be in the region of GBP 30 million. Quite a catch this season following the arrival of Owen Hargreaves.

Anderson has been a product of the Brazilian club Gremio, the home of Ronaldinho. He plays more as an attacking midfielder, winger or a striker. He has been called to the Brazilian senior team for the Copa America. He comes with his own pack of tricks and he also seems a strong kid. I doubt if he’d be played into the first team straightaway. But if this is all the business the club plan this summer, I think it means more time for Rossi to get a good run in the first team. However I would like either Saha or Smith to stay and see how the season pans out for them. If Saha can stay fit, then I think he would edge Smith out. Ole could go to Sunderland for all you know.

Nani looks more likely to play more next season. Hopefully he will learn a lot from his idol, Ronaldo, not just football-wise, but it will also help him settle down in England much more easily than Ronaldo when he came over.

The purchase of more flair players like these two only bodes well for the club’s future. More sexy football to come. More trickery and one-touch football, and the bite in the midfield with Hargreaves’ arrival will see a much subdued role for Scholes and Giggs. There will be more focus on a 4-2-3-1 formation. Hopefully all the flair and high tempo football gets us the end product we so need, and does not end up like Arsenal’s 06/07 season.

Anyway, to borrow from Ahmed, I never felt this happy for a long time.

A big thanks to whoever got these transfers through.

While most of you might have seen Nani’s compilation videos due to interest, all these months of tiring speculation created, we’ve instead embedded a Youtube compilation of Anderson.



  1. Pingback: Man Utd Headlines 31 May 2007 | Red Rants

  2. richpenguin

    May 31, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    “More trickery and one-touch football, and the bite in the midfield with Hargreaves’ arrival will see a much subdued role for Scholes and Giggs.”

    Don’t get me wrong, I am delighted about all three of these signings. Really, genuinely delighted.

    But is anyone else concerned that nobody is going to know at the start of next season what our best team is? I am. I am worried that we’re about to see another case of what I think of as The Veron Syndrome.

    This occurs when you add one or more undoubtedly talented players to a successful, settled team and in doing so upset the balance of that team to such an extent that it becomes worse. There are two recent cases of this horrific disease:

    1) United, 01/02

    Obviously, the addition of Veron to our 00/01 side caused havoc with our midfield. Prior to Veron’s arrival, our best midfield was undoubtedly Giggs, Scholes, Keane and Beckham. His arrival provoked undignified shuffling of that winning formula, with Scholes playing variously as an auxiliary striker, right midfield and left midfield to accomodate Veron. Veron was also tried in all those positions himself. Coupled with the Stam for Blanc debacle, we lost the title in 01/02.

    2) Chelsea, 06/07

    The most recent is Ballack and Shevchenko at Chelsea. Prior to their arrival, Chelsea’s model of two wingers roaming around a strong centre forward, supported by runs from midfield and a watertight defence seemed unstoppable. After Drogba and Essien made themselves undroppable at the start of the season, Shevchenko and Ballack had to be shoe-horned in to a narrow 4-4-2 at the expense of both wingers. The Premiership was lost, no further headway was made in Europe.

    I think we’re heading for a 4-2-3-1 formation next season, a la Real at their peak………and I don’t know if it will work.

  3. Mick

    May 31, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Fair comment.

    But I think the “Veron” syndrome comes when you try and shoehorn an established superstar, who won’t be happy to sit on the bench, into a first XI that needs no improvement.

    At the end of the day, both Anderson and Nani are kids and will be bedded into our side quite gradually (unless one or other of them makes himself un-droppable, which is definitely a good thing!) I also think that our “”elder statesmen”, like Giggsy, played too much football last season, hence our dip in form this spring. Our first XI badly needs some fresh options and that’s exatly what these signings will provide – some more options – rather than a massive change to the status quo.

    As for 4-2-3-1, I think you’re right. But I think we can make it work. If you’ve got any doubts, I suggest watching a replay of the Roma game!

  4. Red Ranter

    May 31, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    Your concerns may be well thought out but as Mick pointed out, we are not forcing well established stars here. Chelsea had to break a winning formation to accommodate their new signings. We had to do that in the case of Veron.
    But here things are different. We will not see too much of Scholes next season. If we do see him play along with Hargreaves and Carrick then they will be in games where Sir Alex goes conservative (either Europe or crunch games). Otherwise I would expect some kind of a rotation between Carrick and Scholes if he is to go with a 4-2-3-1. Otherwise there is no real hurry to play Nani and Anderson straightaway. They will need time to settle in.
    I voiced similar concerns regarding formations in an earlier post. Do have a look.

  5. richpenguin

    May 31, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    Mick and Red Ranter – thanks for the responses.

    The previous formation post is very interesting – wish I’d seen that before. If it’s ok, I’ll respond here (and I hope debate of this sort is encouraged – I’m not trying to be argumentative here!)

    I suppose the only assumption I hadn’t made is that Scholes will be the one to make way for Hargreaves Given that Scholes was a lot of people’s player of the season (in some cases in England, not just for United), I wasn’t expecting him to drop away and become a reserve. Play less games, certainly, but not become second choice. Why do you think we won’t see much of him next year?

    I also don’t really buy the idea of playing Scholes in the hole – he has never played at his best there, because he doesn’t see enough of the ball to influence and control the game in the way he likes.

    I personally think we should only play 2 central midfielders (one of Carrick, Scholes and OH assuming a fully fit squad). Which two should depend on the game. Think back to (for example):

    – the Sheffield United game we won 2-0. In the game, we had no need for full backs, still less a midfield enforcer – Carrick and Scholes to help us break down a well organised defence.

    – the cup final – packed, physical central midfield – Hargreaves and Carrick / Scholes.

    – away at AC – Gattuso on one hand, Pirlo / Kaka / Seedorf on the other – all three

    You could probably make similar arguments for Evra vs Heinze – do we need extra strength defensively, or extra penetration further forward?

    My main concern, though, is that for any given one off game, not only might we not know our best team, but not even our best formation. I don’t think that’s because we have superstars who have to play, but rather because we have such a wealth of choices in each position (see my response to Ahmed’s post) that it may be difficult to see the wood for the trees.

  6. jos

    May 31, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    what is scholes or carrick succumb to some long/medium-short term injuries???

    Plus u can ‘test’ both these stars plus any other new signings in the micky mouse cups!!! we dont need to play the first team in every tournament! this way they can have time to settle in England as well..

  7. Mick

    June 1, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    JOS makes a good point about injuries.

    Besides, we’ve now got two top-class players in every position so I think a bit more rotation is inevitable and will (hopefully) mean we finish the season stronger than we did this time round, when the likes of Giggs, Ronaldo and Carrick were running on empty.

    For all the hype about Nani and Anderson (most of which I agree with!) they are still just kids and I don’t see them starting many games next season. i don’t think their arrival causes much of a dilemma in terms of team selection/tactis.

    I agree that the arrival of Hargreaves makes a decision on our best XI that little bit trickier. But when you look at how many games John O’Shea played in midfield last season you can see a very important role for OH, even if he he is seen as lower down the pecking order than Carrick/Scholes. FWIW, I do agree that the makeup of our central midfield should reflect the opposition but I think Scholes, Carrick, Hargreaves and (yes, really!) Fletcher have the quality to adapt to whomever they are selected to play alongside on the day.

    When Veron joined United he was joining a team that had a formation and first XI that had remained constant for quite some time. Our current side are much more used to chopping and changing, in terms of tactics and personnel. Which is a good thing, especially if we are to succeed in Europe.

  8. sungimann

    June 2, 2007 at 6:04 am

    A winning formation?! I don’t think the 06/07 team is solid enough. They have done extremely well by winning the League with what they have but looked vulnerable too often for my liking. Losing the Champions League and the FA Cup proved that they are good but not a great team!

    We still lacked the final piece which could moved the team to the summit. The missing piece which would determine the difference between a good team and a great team. Scholes has undoubtedly done the most in this role but he was never near the influence that Keane or Cantona had.

    The new signings are really exciting news for me. Maybe, we can finally find this missing piece.

  9. Damian

    June 2, 2007 at 8:07 am

    The signings of Nani and Anderson are very interesting, and they are two players that I was genuinely talking about before we had even been linked to them. I had seen Anderson in the World U17 Championship. I was amazed to see this short Brazilian number 10 bursting past midfielders as if they weren’t even there. He has a frighteningly similar running style to Ronaldinho. Portuguese Journalists, as well as Tim Vickery, have described Anderson as a potential Genius – a phenomenon.

    We shouldn’t expect too much, too soon, though. Both players are still very raw. We should continually keep in mind that eventually we may see a forward line of Rooney, Ronaldo, Nani and Anderson, at somewhere near their full potential. It would be worth the wait, if it happens.

    I agree that we are slowly moving towards using the 4-2-3-1 formation, most of the time. It is the formation that has allowed Spanish teams to be so attractive to watch, for many years. There are obviously noticeable exceptions. Using two holding players allows for the forwards to be less concerned with defending, and more concerned with finding space, when the team doesn’t have the ball. This allows for lightening quick counter attacks. The players that we now have couldn’t be more suited. It also allows for attacking full backs to attack with an intention to affect the game, rather than support other players.

    I like the balance between the playmaking ability of Carrick, and the energy and destructive abilities of Hargreaves. I doubt that we will replace Scholes, when he eventually retires. The sadness of that is only slightly dampened with the addition of Nani and Anderson – for me, anway. There is no better site than watching a player who can control a game from midfield through technical, and passing, ability. They are a dying breed.

    A front four that can interchange positions and attack from every conceivable angle is not only a mouth watering prospect, it could mean that United have the best attacking unit in world football, in a few years time. I expect Scholes and Giggs to play as much a part in next season as they did last season. It will simply mean that they can be rested for the more vital moments. United have invested in exciting talent, and bolstered their options, after a successful season. It is something that we have failed to do, in the past. These two signings are all about the future.

  10. alan wood

    June 3, 2007 at 1:00 am

    my friends one thihg you forgot anderson and nani have speed and thats very important in england not like veron ballack etc and time is at there side 19 and 21

  11. segedoo

    June 24, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    ManU for life!!!

    but fellas, how about our defense? i’m a lil scared ….

  12. Erasmus Ikenna

    July 24, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    I like the two signing anderson and nani, i believe with this we are going to achieve our estreem goal this coming season.They are kids but ambitious and with the likes of OH,SCHOLES will be rested in some matches.

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