Pre-season and summer roundup

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I think it’s best to stick my head out and say it—with the barely lingering hope of jinxing it and being proved wrong—that we aren’t going to sign anyone. [Fergie, prove me wrong.]

We can only go by evidence. And save for the signings we made in the close season, it’s unlikely we are going to sign any.

More worrying however is if we were to sell existing players. There are rumours that Evra and Vidic might be sold on. Now, with Evra, the rumours have intensified because he sold his house, apparently. But then Wes Brown has just put up his house for sale. We haven’t heard any rumours about his transfer now have we? So I don’t think there is much credibility to the Evra transfer.

In Vidic’s case, I can’t be sure. This is a transfer that has been threatening to bubble up to the top. Last year it was all about his wife being ‘unhappy’. This time there’s a lot more agent-driven talk. Nemanja, who is vacationing in some corner of this world, has been largely kept away from the press, so any leaked stories will have to be from his agent. But there is definite talk from several journos about him wanting to leave this summer, be it Madrid or wherever.

I have almost given up hope on Ferguson signing anyone this summer. But selling a major player like Vidic would be unacceptable, if it were to happen. It’s one thing to keep faith in youngsters and maintain that the current squad is better than the previous because they have an extra season’s experience under their belt. But selling a defensive lynch pin especially considering Ferdinand’s dodgy injury problems is baffling to put it mildly.

I don’t want to go off on the we-don’t-have-money-so-we’re-hawking-players-off-to-profit-from-it line of argument because we are yet to see us hawking off big name players this season. I’d rather reserve my judgement on that till the transfer window shuts firmly. But there seems to be some merit to the Vidic rumours even if it’s not necessarily going to translate into an actual transfer. It just doesn’t feel like a contract improvement would settle this.

A word on Joe Cole’s transfer. The Liverpool move felt a bit odd considering he wanted to stay in London. Spurs and Arsenal are obviously better choices at the moment than Liverpool. And if he were to move to Anfield, United would have suited him just as much. But, as much as I wanted Cole at United, this transfer saga tells us a few things: Redknapp, a well-known admirer didn’t want him enough to break the bank. Arsenal have been strict about their wage structure, so it’s understandable that Wenger didn’t want him enough. Liverpool were willing to buy him which probably casts doubt over their chances of holding onto the likes of Torres and Gerrard over the summer. Ferguson is a known admirer, but it’s quite possible he, Wenger and Redknapp knew something about his fitness or motivations to not take a punt on him. So I trust the combined wisdom of those three men in this case and hope they’re proved right.

However, we do need a player of Joe Cole’s quality—albeit a less injury-prone version, since we already have the likes of Hargreaves and Owen to deal with. I am willing to give the benefit of doubt to our striking department as well as our backline if Vidic stays. But I am just not willing to accept we are good in midfield. We need a midfielder who is dynamic or creative enough to make those forward runs to support our strikers. Scholes is not the solution as much as a lot of United fans believe. Many fans I’ve spoken to throw me the he’s-still-the-best-we-have argument. Which essentially defeats their point. If we have to rely on a 35 year old who needs to be nursed and cannot be expected to perform week-in, week-out, we know we’re terribly lacking in midfield. Carrick has regressed last season, and I just don’t rate Anderson. Fletcher is solid as a defensive midfielder, but any combination of Scholes, Fletcher or Carrick only serves to isolate the strikers up front. Anderson is played more defensively, again. I am not convinced by his consistency anyway. And the less spoken about Gibson, the better. A good shot does not a player make.

* * *

A good word on the pre-season before I end this. It was a welcome relief to watch the lads come on to the pitch after a long time. It was Celtic we were playing and not a Guangzhou-based outfit. They gave us a good game and the back four that we started with was solid; especially impressive was Smalling—despite his penalty-conceding gaffe.

Berbatov stood head and shoulders above everyone, and Diouf seemed to have plenty of pace to burn. Obertan showed flashes as he ran at the defence, but there was a bit of rust, and perhaps, a lack of decisiveness. It’s a pre-season game after all, so I am not going to over-analyse this to ridiculousness.

United are in Philadelphia at the moment where they will play the new MLS expansion side, Philadelphia Union.

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171 Comments

  1. My verdict is we have very good young players but just not ready…I can’t stack up any of our kids with a Muller or an Ozil…the one player who made me take notice was Tom Cleverly…there is a hunger there and a skill and an eye for a pass which is impressive..its a shame that Scholes is STILL our best player on the pitch….the truth is when it comes to the rough and tumble of the Premier League Scholes cannot produce week in week out….anyway its only the second game of the pre-season…I think Obertan, Cleverly and 1 of Welbeck or Macheda will be an integral part of the 1st team squad this season….

  2. @Don: I agree about your Obertan observation. I am a pre-fan of Cleverly as well and hope he does well. I think Welbecks weakness is his first touch, while Macheda’s weakness is his pace/acceleration. Macheda+Welbeck = great young striker. unfortunately on their own they still lack a little bit of class to make them wonderkids.

    I agree with your that Welbeck/Macheda, Cleverly, and Obertan will break out this year. Maybe add Fabio to this as well (and we all must agree that Rafael is here to stay).

  3. Personally, I don’t see much improvement to Macheda, Obertan or Welbeck from last season or the season before.

    I believe we should be optimistic, but in Welbeck & Macheda, they remind me of Frazier Campbell, Erik Nevland.. highly rated, yet failed to shine.

    Forbes just rated Man Utd the richest club in the world… sure don’t seem like it with our transfer activities…

    Once upon a time, we could afford duds like Djemba-djemba… I am truly a Pissed Off Red!

  4. @[OPTI]Madschester United: What a moron. I hate footballers. Honest to god they have to be about the thickest idiots on the planet. What fucking chance does he have of starting at Barca? There is no position open for him. Only a moron would accept a job playing for a team on the bench. 🙄

    Keep in mind though that your source is one of the least reliable on the Internet. The infamous Tribal Football. Run by assclowns.

  5. @[OPTI]Madschester United: Rodwell signed a long term extension with Everton mate. He isn’t going anywhere unless United break the bank. And they have nothing in the bank. Didn’t you get the memo? 😀 😀

  6. @Don: Bottom line is I hate this tag we give the kids like promising or full of potential. What a load of horse shit. For me that is code for not fucking good enough. Fergie look around. Ozil 21, Muller 20, Khedira 22, Kroos 19, Marin 21, Badstuber 22, and these kids were all stars for Germany in the World Fucking Cup, not mediocrities playing a useless MSL club to a squeaky and boring 1-0 win. These kids we waste our time on don’t have the quality to be world class and for me if they aren’t in that calibre, we should not be wasting our time with them. We should be wasting our time with under 21’s who showed world class abilities like Giggs, Ronaldo, Rooney. Unless we have some of those kind of players, we must then go out and buy them or at least buy proven stars because I for one have no intention of sitting through boring Carling Cup matches and other games waiting for Cleverley, Anderson, Obertan, Fabio and Gibson to become first team players. It’s not gonna happen and it’s bloody time the whole lot of you took the blinders off and stop sniffing positive vibe glue and instead woke the hell up and smelled the coffee. Manchester united’s youth are a massive case of overhyped mediocrity. 🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄

  7. @PissedOffRed: Forbes is a joke. They never ever bother to ask the businesses they rate so highly about there debt load which would knock the value of the club in half. Total muppets. 🙄 🙄

  8. @Grognard: You dont have any thing positive to say about the club, strange

    I only saw some of the game last night, it looked typical pre season. Give the lads a work out and let MUTV pretend it is a real TV station.

    grognard said he did not care about youth “are we a day care centre” perhaps a witty comment in some parts of the world. United has always been about youth from the 1950s to the hear and now. I am much more pleased seeing a young lad rise through the ranks and make it than I am seeing an over seas player come in on huge wages.

    Fletcher, O Shea, Ronaldo all took huge amounts of stick from fans my self included when they were comeing through. Giggs, Scholes, Butt and the Nevells when they came on the scene many supporters called for Fergies head. I imagine many thought Sir Matt was crazy back in the day as well.

    Grognard you mention the German players at the world cup. They play regualr first team football as a result the progress made by them will be greater. You also refer to Manchester united as a franchise you have supported for over 30 years earlier in the thread. Franchise a terrible term. The correct term is football club.

    Having seen the build up and the conversations with American fans last night I understand poster here a little more. The cultural diference is clear and I am sorry to say you will never see United in the same way as a lad from Salford or Manchester. I do not mean this as a dig it is just a fact as fat Rafa would say.

    I think Grognard is so filled with hate for the club that he misses many facts. When discussing a captain you say Rio is not vocal on the field of play. If you have ever seen him play in the flesh you will know the complete opposite. Rio is a passionate leader on and of the field.

    Last season we were 1 point away. If we had a fit defender for one of the games when we had Fletch and Carrick in defence or if one of the bad desisions we received at Stanford bridge had gone our way we would have been champions. Had Ribery not mugged of the young Da Silva boy we would have reached the final in Europe I have no doubt of this.

    We are not even in August and again we are being written of. I hope Fergies buys and think he will. Transfers in a world cup year often happen later in the summer and I feel many clubs will sit back untill city conclude there business (for obvious reasons)

    The money we have spent so far is virtualy nothing when you way the money out against player sales (all done at a profit, should keep Malc happy) If we have money it will be spent. If we do not have money it will not be spent. If Fergie keeps us in the top 2 and cmmpetative in the cups with a virtualy negative transfer out lay then he is a genious. You work with what you have (go and ask any kid in Manchester) If you dont have you do not spend. The football and financial world is fukd as every one was spending what they did not have. (Go see the Michael Moore film on Capitalisem) Manchester united Supporters need to realise that more than ever united is more about business than football. This saddens me to the core, but again as the fat one would say Its is fact. We have had the good time now we must have some bad times. That is the cycle and if you can not take the bad times, shut up and jump ship

    The biggest problem faced by Manchester united this term is not Chelsea or city but interest rates. If they start to climb we are royaly up shit creek.

    Stop bashing the team and manager, you are called a football supporter for a reason. Perhaps it is our time not to be dominant for a while. you can not win every thing all of the time, or are you all spoilt glory hunters who will be gone after a few bad seasons?

    Dont buy official merchandise join MUST and love united hate Glazer

    Thanks for reading

    (probably spelling mistakes and shit but i aint checking I have money to make)

  9. @RedTanRedTan: One is allowed to criticise players, managers and the team if he deems fit. At least on this blog. If you can’t take that deal with it and jump ship to another blog.

  10. @Red Ranter: I say in my post that I criticise players my self. How ever it is this constant doom doom doom because we have not spent 50 million we do not have and blaming the manager for not spending money we do not have due to our owners destroying our financial footing through a hostile take over and constant draining of our resources. I am trying to focis peoples passionate argurments in the proper direction. How can you blame Fergie for not spending money he does not have? Whi is to blame for us having no money?

  11. @Grognard:

    I really don’t think we need to make wholesale changes but I don’t think our squad is good enough a Fergie purports…I think part of develoing players is getting them games..but at a club like United you just can’t heap on the pressure too young else they will lose confidence and disappear into football oblivion…the bone I have with Fergie is he is banking on the likes of Giggs and Scholes for yet another season but on evidence from last year it was clear they can’t do the business for the whole season..so in a sense it is like groundhog day unless somebody really emerges during pre-season…as for your young German pups i rate all of them except for the Badstubber (sp) kid who I don’t fancy at all…but to think Khedira would never have even made the squad if Ballack was fit is just another example of you have to give youth a chance and if they are good enough they will come through..my very early verdict right now only Cleverly and Rafael are good enough and possibly obertan and Macheda…Welbeck needs to improve…

  12. @RedTanRedTan: Now I have to say that your rant against my attitude and way of thinking is a fresh approach and the way I wish all members of this blog would try to debate me. I have no problem with your disagreements towards my attitude or thought process where United is concerned. I just don’t happen to agree with all of it and that’s fine too. So as much as i appreciate your friendly tirade against me, let me try to answer some of your accusations and misconceptions about me.

    1. No I am not Salford born and bred and for me that is not an issue whatsoever. United is a global brand and although it should mean more to locals, I also know that half of Manchester are dumb enough to support a team wearing baby blue. Being from Manchester does not make you more enlightened and more red than me or anybody else not from that region. I have been a fan for 35 years so I have been through the highs and lows and for me, it has never been as low as this simply because the problems that i am most concerned about have nothing to do with the play or performance on the pitch. The games are just a bi-product.

    2. Regarding youth. If we had youth with the kind of skill and potential that young Giggs, Beckham, Scholes and others had, then I would be for keeping the daycare clinic open 24 hours straight. But they are not. The reason the Germans I mentioned are playing regular football for their teams is because they are that good. No manager has the time to break in kids for the sake of new blood and youth. A player needs to show he belongs and the likes of Mueller, Ozil and company have shown every reason why they not only should start for their respective teams, but why they were stars in the World Cup. It’s all about skill level or as I like to say, pedigree. Too many of the youth with United haven’t got enough of that. Sure given time some may actually make the grade but United is not a team that can wait 3 to 5 years for a young player to mature and show his quality.

    We are United and we are amongst the top 5 teams on the planet and so our time frame is much shorter and we have so much more on the line with much greater goals and serious ambitions. The team hasn’t got the time to coddle and nurture young players who are taking far too long to develop. How long must we wait on Anderson and Welbeck to start showing the kind of talent that makes them United starters? And that is the only kind of players we should be wasting time on other than the odd utility man who is valuable off the bench. Look at Barca and Bayern as examples. They ship off young players that don’t cut immediately. Or they send them out on loan like they did Kroos last year. And now he returns not only as a great player but probably on of the top 4 midfielders in all of Germany last year while at Leverkusen.

    This isn’t some fantasy pool where we get certain points for accumulating kids. Chelsea and Madrid could care less about kids and they succeed because they utilize their deep pockets. But we don’t have deep pockets now do we? And why don’t we when we were just picked by Forbes Magazine as the richest club in the world? It’s because we are not getting any of that richness directed at club building. Not a dime. We are therefore in desperation mode where we buy speculative youngsters on the hope that a Ronaldo comes out of that.

    Mate I have been a baseball fanatic for longer than I have been a fan of football and I have always taken a great interest in young prospect in baseball, especially pitchers. I study them and get the skinny on the main ones even when they are still in high school. So I am not lost on the interest many have for kids in the game. But United is playing a dangerous game that some baseball teams do. There are two theories to reruiting young baseball talent. You either draft them straight out of high school or you wait and draft them their senior year out of college. College is the safer waybecause players are usually 21 or 22 by then, fully mature and have shown what their ability is as well as overall makeup. They may not possess the ceiling of possibility a high schooler may have but then again they also do not possess the risk factor either. High schoolers may have a higher ceiling if they are truly diamonds but more often than not they are just busts who showed ability at a certain level but were not able to maintain that level as they ggrew up matured and went up levels in competition. United is playing this risky game. Rather than go out and sign semi-proven young players in their early twenties who may cost between 10 and 20 million, they are looking for teenagers they can get on the cheep and in most cases, these kids will disappoint as they are thrust into games with harder competition than they have ever been used to. Some like Rafael seem to be able to handle it but many others like Anderson, Fabio, Welbeck and others seem intimidated and very much lack the confidence and belief they can compete, so they just go through the motions. Well mate, Ozil, Mueller, Messi, Ronaldo never acted like that. Why? Because their skill set and mental strength coupled with confidence and self belief catapulted them into stardom before they reached the age of 20. United’s kids all look like ordinary players who for the most part are mediocre and who will probably mature when they are 25 or 26. Way too late for my books.

    I am not appreciative of your comment where you say I am filled with hate. Well yes I am. I hate the Glazer’s with every fibre of my being and I hate that nothing is being done to rid us of these awful bastards. As for Fergie, my tirades against him are more out of frustration and hurt. A man I have loved for almost 25 years has gotten into bed with the enemy and for me, that is a hard pill to swallow. If you want to side with him and see his every move as a virtuous and honest one, that is your prerogative. I however choose to see things for what they are and it makes me angry but only because I love this team, not hate it.

  13. @RedTanRedTan: I for one had no problem with your criticisms of my views because you never came across as rude. You just disagreed with me which is fine. I think we bot love the club mate and we both hate Glazer and want the best for the team. We are just not on the same page when it comes to Fergie’s role in this whole mess and how he is going about building this team. And the only way to prove who is right or wrong in this is to give the situation time to play itself out. As much as I admire Fergie as a manger, I honestly think he is drinking too much if he thinks these kids will keep this team in competition with Barca and Madrid. And at the end of the day, this is what we are all about. I could care less if we are a top four team in the EPL. We are United and our motto should always be SECOND TO NONE.

  14. @RedTanRedTan: Fergie is lying through his teeth and supporting the owners who aren’t handing over a responsible amount of funds for transfers. The whole excuse about value is BS and you know it. His 25 year track record for spending above and beyond the value for players should tell you it’s BS. So he should be honest with al of us rather than continually lie through his teeth and act condescending towards us because he thinks we are all so stupid we will buy into his bag full of lies. WWell not me mate. I wasn’t born yesterday. And one more thing, your comment about my use of the word franchise is not incorrect at all. Because I am using it when referring to United as a business model, not just a football team. It is a brand and it is a franchise because of that. All teams are franchises and that’s not just an American thing. Yet again another reason why many United supporters need to stop looking at the team as the club that plays across the block from them. It’s a worldwide name brand and thus it deserves to be looked at like the Yankees in baseball, the Canadiens in hockey and the Celtics in basketball. All franchises. 🙂

  15. @Don: Khedira has been with the German team for a while now so his pedigree is proven with Stuttgart. The fact he is second choice to a star like Ballack is no dig on him whatsoever. He just needed to wait his turn and it came early. As for Badstuber, if you watched every Bayern game last season like I did, you would have a different view of him. Another thing you may not know about him is that he is a CB who has become a transplanted LB which is no easy adjustment. He also is a lethal free kick taker with a cannon of a leg. A lot of potential considering he kept Bayern from buying a LB as he like muller just stepped in and took that position to the level it needed to be.

  16. @Red Ranter: I am not constant doom and gloom. I never get any credit for those days when I am bright and humorous like yesterday for example. But I am fighting for a cause I believe in that is not popular with the irritating fans who see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing. One day they will get a real dose of reality and realize that I was right all along. Until then it’s shoot the messenger time. Trust me, I’m not the boy who cried wolf here. I am sure of what I speak and if that’s an example of arrogance, I wear that with pride. People who disagree with me or label me are not arrogant, they are ignorant.

  17. @Grognard: I know that mate! He said you were constant doom and gloom, and I meant to say even if it’s constant doom and gloom it’s his opinion.

    Give me credit for actually defending you. You should know better about me by now.

  18. @Red Ranter: Oh you definitely get credit for defending mate. No doubt about it. But considering how some in the past have attacked me, this gentleman attacked my position with class and politeness. I have always made the statement that i never minded people disagreeing with me. It’s how they went about it that bothered me. As long as they stay away from getting personal and throwing f-bombs my way, I am more than fine with it. But thanks anyway. It means a lot that you do defend my right to speak my mind. 🙂 🙂

  19. Guys, don’t get me wrong…
    I Love Manchester United. Alwasy have. Always will.
    At this stage, I don’t really give a rats ass who we sign, or even where in the league we finish. What bothers me most is the missing ENTERTAINMENT FACTOR. Our games are boring as hell lately and I honestly don’t see that changing. In fact, I see even more boringness to our games due to the embarrasment of throwing away the title last season. What hurts me is the fact that management is oblivious to this entertainment factor.

  20. This is the end of the season now. And Some of people look stupid&fool for doubting SAF. Who do U think U are? Think yourself Smarter than SAF huh?!
    That old Man has 30 fuckin’ years of experience!! SURE He knows what to do, what they need! EAT YOUR HUMBLE PIE NOW & SHOW SOME RESPECT &BELIEVE TO HIM! 19!!

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