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United’s Tongue Twisting Duo and What they Mean

It is true. United have signed Serbian duo Zoran Tosic and Adem Ljajic from Partizan Belgrade. Try saying Tosic-Ljajic in quick succession. If you manage to say it right ten times then gift yourself a pint (and think of me while you down said pint) from your local.

Oh — and I am deeply sorry to have forgotten this — a very, very happy, albeit belated, new year to all our readers. I have been too caught up in New Year festivities to find time to post — although I suppose I shouldn’t be wasting space with another long winded excuse for not posting.

Right, so United seem to be among the first movers during the January transfer window. In the current weak economic climate the Glazers have shown that they are willing to back the manager on signings, if they need to be made, even when we have won consecutive premiership titles and are defending European and World club champions. This is a good sign and, while worries persist over the effect of global slowdown on English football, the Glazers have shown that they are willing to spend whenever asked. There is precious little that can be weaned from the goings on in the Manchester United boardroom these days, so we have to take help of signs like these to form our opinions. Therefore my take is this: I am not aware of how strong the Glazers are financially and how much the downturn has affected them, but I don’t think that has affected the way they’ve backed the club in terms of transfers.

We must, at this point, acknowledge that David Gill and co continue to run the club magnificently well and are, in no small part, among the reasons why the Glazers have left the footballing stuff to the footballing people. [Yes, yes, I do say this with my non-typing body parts touching big portions of wood.]

Tosic, is a left winger and 21. Immediately one would think Ryan Giggs. As the man looks to wind down his playing career, the think tank needs to look to the future and this is where Tosic would figure. However, his addition would also interest some other players in the squad — not the least, Nani.

The Portuguese winger has had an underwhelming season by most counts, although his biggest advocates would point to the way he’s been used by Fergie. However, extended game time or not, there has been a clear sign of the Portuguese winger regressing this season. Most of all, his lack of decision making is a big downer, considering his undeniable talent. Tosic’s addition presents the first genuine young threat to his position on the left wing and it will be interesting to see how he handles this new pressure to perform.

He has time, though. It is unlikely that Tosic would be thrown in right away, as would be expected from January signings that are not injury enforced. And if this Serbian lad ends up showing real value for money, the Portuguese lad will have his job cut out for him.

Park, on the other hand, would have to continue doing what he’s already been doing: work hard, impress in training, fill in when needed, and such like. It’s a harsh position to be in, despite his efforts over the years, but while his work rate and energy is unrivalled, his lack of improvement on his attacking attributes will always force people to view him none more than a very good squad player.

Adem Ljajic — about whom I know very little apart from his being hailed as the most promising among the current Serbian crop of youngsters — is an attacking midfielder [presumably of the Kaka mould]. He would naturally attract further attention to the Serbian Premier Division as he’ll join the club next season. It is believed that staying at Partizan for the rest of this season would be to his benefit, considering our packed midfield. Which leads us to another interesting discussion.

If he is, in fact, the next Kaka — which I doubt for no logical reason other than my cynicism over media hyperbole — the manager will be left with a few big decisions to make. But let’s not go there. Let’s just suppose, for sake of realism, that he is more than decent for his age (17). Then how will our midfield look in, say, two years’ time? Will Anderson grow into a very good box-to-box player? Will Possebon become the next Pirlo? Would Hargreaves make a strong return on the pitch? Where will that leave the likes of Carrick? How will emergence of such talent in midfield force whoever’s at the helm to make tactical adjustments so that the team won’t skip a beat? I think it’s too early to be talking about all this, because I think for Ljajic’s age, he will be eased onto the big stage like we’ve nursed other youngsters in the past. For now it’s just idle discussion and dreaming, but nonetheless, there is something to talk about no?

Anyway, that’s your lot for now. Happy debating. Before I sign off though, here’s something to spend money on this festive season. “John Terry Banana Skins




  1. JB

    2 January 2009 at 22:44

    @Nino: It is a fair enough concern but it is essentially the same gamble that is being taken again. It is not as if the fledglings were a sure fire guarantee to replace the old guard. Sure the new players may not match up to their predecessors but it is not as if that is a sure fire disaster. You could argue that Keaneโ€™s replacement was/is Carrick. Now there is no way that Carrick is a better player than Keane in his pomp but we have adapted to the new personnel and continue to be successful. Hell, some of the new players may eventually eclipse the likes of Scholes in the years to come. After all how many would have thought the gawky, 18 year old from Madeira we bought would have reached the heights he has?

  2. HSK

    2 January 2009 at 23:00

    With the overheated market and everyone being the next “Cantona/Ronaldo/Maradona/Kaka etc.” Forget that. Forget Veron who was at the wrong place at the right time or vice versa. Remember that 90% of SAF signings have been pretty much good ones. Just check out how much we paid for the Brazilian twins and multiply that with ten and you still couldnยดt buy Rafael.

    “We have to sell before we can buy” was best ever. Manchester United Football Club is hated mostly for two reasons. 1) We can win everything with our unbelievable luck ™. 2) We can buy without selling. Name the key players we sold to buy Veron, Ferdinand, Rooney and Berbatov. Ok let’s add few more transfer records from the modern era Pallister and Keane.

  3. Rd

    2 January 2009 at 23:10

    @Craig Mc: Yeah we let Silvestre go for ยฃ750,000 and then let Saha go for fees based on appearance, how’s did that contribute to the Berbatov transfer??? Also did you see the part where I said the part of your comment I had an issue with was the “always” wording, as I don’t believer we’ve “always” had to sell to buy. The Fergie ruining the team comment wasn’t exactly aimed at you.

  4. Nino

    2 January 2009 at 23:41

    @JB: OK cool, I see your point, but we are also living in different times now too. Our rivals such as Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City are much stronger now than they were back in 1996 and will continue to get stronger, so I think the original point that Colver was trying to convey was that it’s a cut throat dog-eat-dog world out there and any weaknesses in our squad in terms of quality and strength will be quickly and brutally exposed in years to come and so we would be automatically be usurped. Note that there was a very, very, very thin line between us winning the Double last year and Chelsea scooping both prizes instead; that’s what I’m talking about. We need to ensure that we remain at the top of the tree by either producing or buying the best talent and not resting on laurels.

    So let’s hope for everyone’s sake that the new players will develop rapidly and surpass the Golden Generation like you said!

  5. dan(u-ol)

    2 January 2009 at 23:46

    @Nino: it looks like it was the other way around! fergie finally saw sense and gave him an acceptable deal.

  6. HSK

    2 January 2009 at 23:50

    Ok now you got me going. If those Serbs were English they would cost about ยฃ40M or more. Three good games in EC got Arshavin so expensive that only the biggest six could buy him and they don’t think he’s worth the money.

    Darren Bent and Robbie Keane are good footballers. I still wouldn’t exchange them both for Rooney or Buffon although they did cost the same amount of money. Neither would I want four or six of that kind of players in exchange for Ronaldo.

    Schmeichel, Solskjaer, Cantona, Irwin, Evra, Vidic, Rafael and the list goes on.

  7. dan(u-ol)

    2 January 2009 at 23:52

    i was just having my bath, i remembered that fergie said he was watching tosic for a year. that must mean he has scouts in the serbia, which would also mean he possibly has scouts all over eastern europe including germany. that said, surely he would off known about this marin kid? so im guessing, the scouts and/or fergie saw something in tosic that wasnt in marin. Hmmm…

  8. Grognard

    3 January 2009 at 02:14

    @Gabriel: Keep in mind that in many cultures the word kaka is an infants term for shit. So I hope he truly isn’t a little Kaka, ๐Ÿ˜†

  9. Grognard

    3 January 2009 at 02:20

    @colver: This is why I brought up the name Marko Marin. Highly versatile and highly skilled and only 20 or 21 himself. Already a German national and the future star of German football along with Toni Kroos. Kroos we wouldn’t be able to get even though he is perfectly suited for the English game and adds lethal crossing, corners and set piece taking. Problem is he belongs to Bayern and they know exactly what they have and they are not letting him go for anything short of a major mint. Both young players but players who have been bloodied already at the highest level. David Silva would have cost over 20 mil but there again, a player who could have made an instant impact. Forget Ribery as he will cost well over 30 mil to get. I sure hope Tosic works out. Ljacic I am not sure about. I have seen nothing from him except YouTube and to be honest, he seems slow and no big deal to me. But I also know that is not a fair reference by which to judge him by.

  10. RedDevilEddy

    3 January 2009 at 02:21

    I just woke up from having a dream. Or a vision maybe? ๐Ÿ˜‰ What happend was that we faced Liverpool at Old Trafford in the Premier League, it was tie at 1-1 with 92 minutes played. United got a corner from shot by Rooney, and from the corner Tosic curled it presicely in for Vidic to head the ball in. What wouldnt that do?! We will finally get a player that- hopefully- can take great corner kicks because of his swerve and accuracy on crossing. And we have the best player in the air. Even John Carew has admitted that not even Terry or Hyypia or Laursen dont trouble him in the air as much as Vidic does. Terry against Vidic on a corner kick by Tosic, and the Serbian connection produces a goal. I think this will do marvels for our attacking play. This season we have sucked from set pieces, scoring 3 penalties, 2 free-kicks and 5 goals from corner. 2 by Vidic and 3 by Ronaldo. That from at least 50 free-kicks and 100 corners. And when you think we have players like Rio, Vidic, Ronaldo and Berbatov attacking on corners we should do much better. 5 goals scored from at least 100 corners is quite embarrasing with the talent we have. Will Tosic do wonders? For easy for me to say, but I am sure his corners cant be worse than Giggs`, Parks or Waynes. ๐Ÿ™„ So, I just wanna wish Tosic all the best luck to become a United hero, and I hope the Serbian players will prove to be steals, even at ยฃ16 million.

  11. Grognard

    3 January 2009 at 02:22

    @Craig Mc: Very true but unfortunately it’s more a case of money talks. You play the players that cost you a mint because management does not want to think you are throwing their money around for nothing.

  12. Grognard

    3 January 2009 at 02:24

    @JB: Oh I realize that is being optimistic JB. That’s why I asked Craig if he was going to be the one driving Nani to the airport. ๐Ÿ˜†

  13. Grognard

    3 January 2009 at 02:26

    @Nelson Otieno: Perhaps but with the money they paid to get Tosic, Marin could have been bought for a few mil more. Personally you can’t gamble with a team like that. You should go for a surer bet. Marin was a better choice and it’s too bad Fergie isn’t interested in him. I just wonder who snaps him up, because one thing is for sure, he isn’t going to be with Monchengladbach next season.

  14. RedDevilEddy

    3 January 2009 at 02:27

    And another thing. I remember many of you commenters talkking about buying players from Serbia, Russia and Norway and such during the summer because of Ronaldos stupid games. We all agreed that players from colder and harder enviroments will enjoy and fit better into our style of football. Now we have got Tosic and Ljajic, and we almost got Ivanovic. Looks like United are doing fine business. I think our team in the future will have a real mix of Latin magic, English grit and determination, and of cource Serbian steel. Latin players like Rafael, Fabio, Anderson and Ronaldo, British players like Rooney, Rio, Evans and Hargreaves, Eastern European players like Vidic, Tosic, Berbatov and Ljajic. Perfect combo? Sounds like it! ๐Ÿ˜€

  15. Liam

    3 January 2009 at 04:21

    Or who knows, maybe there is no conspiracy theories and Fegie just decided to sign a player? Nani can still be part of the squad. It just means some player’s roles will be redefined. It has happened before. Nothing wrong with a bit of rotation unless you try putting out of position players in for the sake of rotation.

  16. Liam

    3 January 2009 at 04:30

    Btw does anyone know if Fabio is going to play in any of the cup games? I’ve never seen him play except for YouTube but I have this feeling about him. Although the signing of Tosic means he won’t be converted to a left winger so he won’t get as many chances now.

    Also looking at Sky Sports and how come Gerrard completely keeps his reputation after thuggishly beating up somebody?Barton’s name was (rightly) dragged through the mud after a similar incident but for some reason Gerrard isn’t getting any in house or FA punishment. As I understand Barton got both and he is not as looked up to by children as Gerrard.

  17. Gabriel

    3 January 2009 at 05:19

    @Liam: mate I was wondering the same thing while reading some comments… I mean, has the state of affairs at United gotten so bad that some fans can’t heartily accept new signings without a pinch of salt? Why does it have to imply the exit of other players? Is it not possible that we are planning for our future and improving our squad depth at the same time?

    All I know is that the signing is most welcome at this period, with us having only what, three recognized wingers in the squad? He might not play immediately but he will get his chance at some point during the season and I for one hope he dazzles. ๐Ÿ˜›

  18. Nelson

    3 January 2009 at 07:44

    @grog.IMO, fergie would have bought marin but that could have threatened nani(and park) and cause one to leave.inorder not minimise risk of loosing he brought in tosic, a lesser threat but still habours potential to be a star. I saw MUTV yesterday and fergie said he wont be playing till around february since he hasnt kicked a ball since Dec 10 and needs to adjust to trainning. Off topic, i had disturbing dreams last night.we were eliminated by southampton in the fa cup and tosic got a serious injury in a reserve match.i hope they just remain that,a dream. It really scared me

  19. dan(u-ol)

    3 January 2009 at 10:39

    wow, you’re all dreaming about a dude ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  20. RedDevilEddy

    3 January 2009 at 13:14

    @dan(u-ol): So what, you are thinking of Wayne Rooney in the shower! ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†

  21. colver

    3 January 2009 at 13:34

    I don’t buy this argument that Ferguson bought Tosic and Ljajic because they wouldn’t threaten any first team players this year and therefore not unsettle the team. Surely we should buy the best young talent we can get? If Marin is better than Tosic and available for a similar fee we should have bought him plain and simple. But it is equally possible that Marin’s club isn’t selling because they hope to spark an auction in the summer.

    Anyway I will be interested to see how Tosic compares to Park and Nani. I heard his nickname is Bambi because of his slim build! I’d hope Ferguson puts him through the bulking up programme so he won’t be taken out by Pogatrez or one of the other henchmen in this “beautiful” game

  22. Craig Mc

    3 January 2009 at 15:33

    @Gabriel: Mmmmmmmmmmm Gabriel mi man, I see you got your HALO out and polished it up ๐Ÿ˜† . I just posted out to you a heavenly HARP so you have the full acoompaniment ๐Ÿ˜† .

  23. Craig Mc

    3 January 2009 at 15:35

    @Liam: As Fergie always does.

  24. Craig Mc

    3 January 2009 at 15:38

    @Grognard: Even if you are throwing around their money for nothing Grog ๐Ÿ˜† .

  25. Craig Mc

    3 January 2009 at 15:40

    @dan(u-ol): No chance Dan(u)ol, the only thing they saw, was that Tosic is cheaper. Marin is a truly great little player ๐Ÿ™‚ .

  26. Craig Mc

    3 January 2009 at 15:49

    It’s all over TV today and yesterday, that United and Tev’s agents cannot agree on terms to make a permanent deal. Fergie on MUTV yesterday was very nonchalent and non commital on Tevez permanent signing. So – maybe he might yet be the fall guy I was telling you I had a feeling about, someone in, someone out. Then again maybe not ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† . Fergie didn’t seem at all bothered that’s all I can say. Oh, and I didn’t think Fergie looked very convincing when he said that was the last of our buys, he had very shifty eyes trying to look honest.

  27. Grognard

    3 January 2009 at 18:13

    @Craig Mc: His eyes were shifty because he had just polished off a bottle of wine in his office. ๐Ÿ˜†

  28. Craig Mc

    3 January 2009 at 19:36

    @Grognard: Hahahahahahaha – good point Grog mi man. El Wino Fergie ๐Ÿ˜€ .

  29. the three Rs

    3 January 2009 at 22:38

    Craig, a good man to have on an interview panel I’d say. Eye watch. He he.
    ……and poor old Sparky, he must well and truly have shitty eyes tonight.

  30. Craig Mc

    3 January 2009 at 22:54

    @the three Rs: Eye watch – Good one mate and funny ๐Ÿ˜† . Yeah I feel for Sparky, but he does deserve it a bit going to shitty, Man SLIPPY doesn’t he ๐Ÿ˜† .

  31. Jay Jay

    7 January 2009 at 05:31

    Hey lads, trust fergie1! he’s a master at everything. when i was talking to him in my dreams, he said “look Jay Jay… these players are mature but they are young in their way they live and think.” then am like “gaffer?, what’s that supposed to mean?” replied the boss “in order to keep Vida, and Berba happy so that they are not disrupted by home sick and other things that come with being lonely, i have to build a community that they share something in common like i’ve done with the south americans at the club, the portugues and ofcourse the english.

    So guys that’s fergie, he likes guys who are committed and he’s seen it done it all to know that in an alien world, you need people you can relate with, people of your culture people you can trust.

    Footballing reasons aside, fergie wants to build a condusive aura for Vida and Berba as well as the duo.

  32. Biplob Kishore Deb

    8 January 2009 at 12:39

    The two players are still very young and they have potential to flourish in the years to come. So, they could become big assets United. Another good thing is that Manchester United now has a number of options for the right wing position and they do not need to play Wayne Rooney as a makeshift winger anymore in what Ferguson can get best out of Rooney playing him as a striker. Tosic is young and is playing for Serbian national side. So, he may not have much problem in adapting to top flight football. On the other hand, Ljajic is still very young to comment on. I think, Manchester United picked up two right players in January transfer window.

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