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Time to move on after Benzema snub

United signed Valencia, but their intent to go blitzkrieg on the transfer market suffered a blow when Benzema opted to go to Real Madrid. Reports say they were willing to pay £6m more than us. This can mean either of two things: one, we were trying to play hardball with them while staying firm in our [new found] commitment towards not getting fleeced. Two, we didn’t really expect Madrid to act so quickly so as to have gazumped us to this bid.

If it was the second it’s a shame. If it was the former, I’m not sure how to react to it; I am torn between lauding them for not paying £32m for a largely unproven, albeit talented, 21 year old and expressing bafflement over their refusal to budge on £6m when we have £90m lying around. [Correct me if I’m wrong, but Fraizer Campbell’s this close towards completing a £6m move to Hull.]

Personally, whilst I liked Benzema, the player, I never really found his general demeanour endearing. For one, he seemed to favour a move to Spain more than England. He was known to be moody, although I wouldn’t rate that quite as important as the first reason.

It’s obvious Ferguson loves the player, and what Ferguson likes he tries his level best to get. Predictably, a good performance against us — in particular, his blinder of a goal in the 07/08 Champions’ League encounter when surrounded by gazillion red shirts — nailed it for the manager. Only on this occasion, Ferguson didn’t get what he wanted. It’s also unlikely waiting a year for his target is bound to work this time; unlike RvN, Berbatov et al.

Our current situation resembles that line from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner: ‘water water everywhere, not a drop to drink‘ (More like money, money everywhere, not a player in sight.) Of course, there is still enough time to bring in two players to get us going before things actually escalate towards desperation but it would be a stretch to expect to bring in everyone by the cut off pre-season training date that is July 13th.

We have been linked with the likes of Aguero and AS, the Spanish newspaper, have us linked with Huntelaar. Bringing in Huntelaar should be easier, provided Ferguson really wants him. Hell, if he really wanted him, he would have come in long before Madrid even had a sniff. Aguero gives us star power, real creative energy around the box, although, if Rooney is to be played in his preferred role, the Argentinian would have to be played out wide.

Despite all this transfer talk, I really have two major concerns that need to be addressed. Which is what I want to end this post with.

1. Rooney needs a full season where he can play in a central role. I think Ferguson has little excuse to sacrifice Rooney this time round. There’s no Ronaldo to ‘accommodate’ in this team anymore. Rooney plays in the role he plays for England. No dicking about sticking him in the wing. Most of Ferguson’s rebuilding exercises have revolved around switching focus and building the side around that focus. It could be based on a good strike partnership, like the side of ’99; or relying on the interchangeable play of the front attackers, [the 2008 side with Ronaldo as a focal point]. This time attention obviously shifts to Rooney, and he needs to be played as a number ten. So why am I talking about Rooney in the midst of discussing transfer targets? In order to ensure Rooney does not get played out wide, we need to ensure there is enough credible depth on our wings. We have Valencia and Nani (and a rookie in Tosic) as attacking wingers (Park is a defensive midfielder, and Giggs is not a left winger anymore). We clearly need reinforcement there. Aguero might help, but his talent could be wasted out wide. So one more decent winger should fix that worry.

2. A box to box midfielder, or an attacking midfielder who’s capable of scoring from midfield.
The first one ties into the lesson learned from our defeat against Barcelona. Despite our success, we haven’t really got a midfielder who can grab the game by the cliched scruff of the neck. We have Hargreaves, but he’s not back until January. And I really won’t believe his fitness reports until I see him on the pitch. True Fletcher had his moments, but doubts still linger over his consistency.

The second part, regarding the need for a creative attacking midfielder, sort of ties in to our need to spread the goals around this season instead of relying on a couple of players. But this is an either-or requirement. I wouldn’t want both to be signed simultaneously. This would mean Carrick would be marginalised, or if we were to go for a 4-3-3, Rooney would be forced to plough a lone furrow on his own — again, not something I’d want.

Anyway, that should be enough tactical analysis from my side for the day. for general transfer stories, half baked thoughts during the day, you could either find me here, or in the comments section of this post.

* * *

In other interesting tidbits, Scott sheds more light on the scouse delusion.

And 101 Great Goals has a three part video link to MUTV’s Ronaldo tribute video. To be honest, despite my strong opinions over the deterioration of his attitude over the past year, there are still enough clips in the video to make me relive some of those special moments with fondness; especially the parts where he was a scrawny, little teenager.

518 Comments

518 Comments

  1. Stephen

    3 July 2009 at 20:04

    @Grognard: He has composure experience and seems desire to play in the World Cup, I am and will never be a fan but for a free, and peformance driven wages surely there are no negatives bar the obvious.

  2. Dan

    3 July 2009 at 20:05

    @Red Ranter: whys he still allowed to post after calling me a muppet?

  3. Stephen

    3 July 2009 at 20:05

    @Grognard: Campbell is simply not United quailty.

  4. Gabriel

    3 July 2009 at 20:12

    @Stephen: I might have to second that.. even though I really like Campbell as a player πŸ™ ..saw him once at the printworks in Manchester, surrounded by hot girls!! πŸ˜› oh, the life of a professional footballer πŸ™„ πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

  5. Stephen

    3 July 2009 at 20:18

    @Gabriel: Ha ha where abouts there?, I have been known to frequent that establishment myself, he does have a Mr Bling rep around town,!!

  6. colver

    3 July 2009 at 20:18

    Good post Gabriel. I feel sure that is Fergie’s strategy. Owen may not have the dash, speed and enthusiasm of youth. But he will score goals and with Ronaldo gone those are going to be in short supply. If we need someone to come off the bench and score Id much rather put my faith in Owen than Welbeck. Unlike Newcastle we have the luxury of using Owen in 30 minute spurts which will get the most out of him and reduce the chances of him picking up injuries. Meanwhile Welbeck will still be able to get 20 games or so which will help him develop nicely.

  7. Darth Red Diablo

    3 July 2009 at 20:21

    If Owen scores like 25 goals this season… And trust me has the chance given the possession United have….
    Then the First thing Fergie is going to do is show a ===============> To this blog! Especially his old mate Grognard! πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

  8. steve

    3 July 2009 at 20:28

    25 goals a big ask if rooney cant and ronaldo only scored 26 what hope does owen have

  9. Red Ranter

    3 July 2009 at 20:28

    @Dan: Because you’ve called people muppets in the past and yet have been given a chance to continue. πŸ˜‰ You’ve dished it out to him and called him a troll. He’s had his say back to you. Now time to move on.

  10. Red Ranter

    3 July 2009 at 20:29

    Ok new post up. This has obviously slowed down.

  11. Craig Mc

    3 July 2009 at 20:33

    @Darth Red Diablo: Fergie has no juristiction over this blog, that privilege belongs only to RR, so SAF has no rights to tell Grog to do a runner πŸ˜† πŸ˜† .

  12. Craig Mc

    3 July 2009 at 20:43

    @steve: Steve you were involved in a lot of conversation with a good few of us on here, for a good while last night, and we had great banter and no problems with you. So keep it light buddy, anything else is not worth the aggro, for all concerned mate!

  13. steve

    3 July 2009 at 20:48

    Craig sorry people about my rants ever since micheal owen was going 2 be signed my mood as been really nasty. I am so mad we have signed owen it has really eefected my attitude, its like united are a cursed club we can win 5 european cups in a row and the best on the world want a nice tan

  14. Cypriotenglish

    3 July 2009 at 21:14

    Guys, whom do you guys think we will sign next????????????????????

  15. gator

    3 July 2009 at 21:31

    @steve: i have something RIGHT HERE that you can handle mate hahaha.

    but seriously calm the fek down bro we loose 2 players and its the worst team ever? come on… yea some are getting old too but we have the youngsters. welly can play left right and up front macheda is class for his age. and we have other youngsters that we are waiting to come good(ando). if you need big names to fill your heart with warmth for united then well my friend maby you should follow the winker to fake madrid.

  16. Craig Mc

    3 July 2009 at 21:35

    @steve: Mate just wait an see who else we sign, and see if it brings you out of the dumps or not πŸ™‚ . Although we don’t understand SAF’s logic at the moment, there must be some involved somewhere. Anyway its done now, so we just have to take it on the chin. I believe he has been bought for ONE reason only, to contribute GOALS. We can only wait and see how effective he will be in that goalscoring department. He wasn’t bought to contribute all those other things you are fretting about mate. Fergie knows what he is getting, and so unfortunately do we. But shellshocked as many of us are, we have to soldier on Bro!

  17. NicoQB

    4 July 2009 at 01:56

    Just read the thread and Dan, Grog and the others did a blody good job standing up for Berbatov, against another tevez lover (i thought that species were extinct).

    Good job, guys! πŸ™‚

  18. Onkar

    4 July 2009 at 08:40

    @Dan: Relax Bro.. New species on the blog sites will always go after few established people because they want recognition on the site. So, what the more experienced blogger should do… Ignore and move on… I mean he is having go can be understood (because he is new) but he should know where to stop or else what you have decided just carry on with what you are doing… Just ignore the newbie on the blog…
    TBH, when i had come on this blog i also had one hard go at GROG of all people… (But, GROG also agreed that i was partly right but my way of putting things were wrong….) But, after the confrontation with Craig and RR i just got to my senses…
    And today i am one of the biggest supporter of GROG on the HUNTER issue… Like i mentioned before in some comment I am ready to Dance on the Streets of MUMBAI like GROG is ready to run butt naked on the streets on CANADA (Can’t remember the CITY)…
    So, the the point is move on his childish behavior will stop or else our Big Daddy (RR) will taken care of him…
    GROG it was just to remind you as well what you have said…. Don’t forget to upload the video on Youtube…. :mrgreen:

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