Thursday, May 10, 2007

Running the rule over United's top summer transfer targets...

It's that time again folks, the summer transfer window is nearly open for business, the tabloid press sports pages are full of stories linking all and sundry to United and our rivals.

It's a tricky old time for many fans who will henceforth search every column inch for news of impending summer signings, whether you support Manchester United or Macclesfield Town it is exactly the same, the fees and numbers will of course be different but all fans want to see their first XI strengthened.

So what of Manchester United and their summer spending plans? We the fans were led to believe by the Glazers' spin doctors that there would be an annual spend of £25m on players - there was also talk of an additional one off £20m if a Rooney type of player became available.

However, last summer United reportedly made a profit on transfers, it begs the question what is likely to happen this summer. Time will tell. What we do know is that this week Fergie has let it be known he has identified three targets, he did this without actually naming them.

So the guessing game has begun in earnest. One target is Owen Hargreaves, it's fairly obvious to all that the player is desperate to join United, the transfer fee is likely to be £17m or thereabouts.

Then we come to our striker department, it seems almost certain that Louis Saha aka man in bandages will be sold due to his constant 'injuries', so assuming he goes United will then need two strikers - which is what I expect Fergie wants.

Assuming Saha is sold (we wont get back half what we paid for him - it was ever thus) that will net United £6m. So then if we add that to the promised £25m that will give Fergie around £31m to find three players.

Let's take a quick look at the names who are in the frame, but before I run the rule over the strikers who have been linked to the Red's, I'd like to issue a word of caution to anyone who is wet behind the ears on such matters. It isn't unknown for 'unnamed sources close to United' to indicate the clubs' interest in various big name players.

We have to take these stories with a rather large pinch of salt. One such story appeared in today's Independent, the story (with no quotes - which is usually the way of these things) stated that Red's have been told that if they want Samuel Eto'o from Barcelona, then the fee will be £40m. Clearly that sort of money is out of the question. It was a none story and a good one to print on an otherwise quiet news day... So my advice is forget any notion of Eto'o joining United this summer or any time soon.

Then we come to Berbatov at Spurs, we've been reading rumours of United's supposed interest for several weeks now. The Bulgarian looks to be the almost perfect fit, he can play on his own up front and he can drop deep in the Cantona role. Again the fee is likely to be a big problem. Spurs are a selling club as they proved with the sale of Michael Carrick. The North London club paid £11m last summer to acquire the Bulgarian, they will no doubt want to double their money and United are daft enough to pay it. Verdict: Berbatov is the Red's number one striker target.

Michael Owen's name has been cropping up in reports, and the Newcastle Chairman has today stated that he believes sources close to the player are touting him around. Freddy Shepherd has also stated that none of the big four clubs are interested and added to which the former Liverpool striker has only played 11 full league games since his move to the Geordies in 2005 which is due to injuries. Once again the fee would be a potential problem. Newcastle paid a massive £16m for the striker, his injury problems must raise questions about the likelihood of anyone matching that figure should the Magpies decide to sell. Not only that Owen is a bit one dimensional in terms of what he offers as a striker. Yes he's got a great goal scoring record, but he's not a target man and he's not from the same mold as Cantona. My verdict, too expensive, not right in terms of attributes. Unlikely.

Jermaine Defoe, another Spurs player and like Michael Owen another fox in the box. Like Owen he's a bit one dimensional. But if you wanted a fox in the box type of player Defoe is a cheaper option. Verdict: Do not rule it out.

Fernando Torres is another young big name player who's been linked umpteen times to United and this week he's let it be known he's a big fan of rivals Liverpool. Torres is an all round striker and he's quick, the problem will be the fee and competition from rivals Chelsea and Liverpool. Verdict: Unlikely.

Dutch scoring sensation Klaas Jan Huntelaar has been linked to several top English clubs and there appears to be plenty of interest, but again the fee and competition will be fierce if his club Ajax decide that he can leave. Verdict: Unlikely.

Darren Bent has been linked to United several times and with his club Charlton getting relegated then he will no doubt be linked again. He's a player who might improve in a better side than Charlton. He's quick and direct, but I'm not sure he's good enough. Verdict: Do not rule it out, the price could be tempting for United.

To recap, pay little attention to potential big money signings, and always remember that the Red's will be shelling out £17m on Hargreaves and so assuming we only have £31m available then it doesn't leave much for two strikers.

Also remember that last summer's acquisitions were funded by outgoing players - so don't rule out that happening again, but this time we don't have Van Nistelrooy to sell, so the Glazers' will have find the cash from somewhere, or will they?????...

It wouldn't actually surprise me if Hargreaves comes in, Saha is sold and then United sign a token replacement, you can read into that what you like. Suffice to say it will be one of the names mentioned above. The Glazers' have to back up their rhetoric with hard cash. If United only sign Hargreaves and replace Saha with a makeweight it will have been a bad summer in terms of strengthening but do not rule it out..

2 comments:

  1. As much as I like Fernando Torres, I agree that he will be expensive and unlikely. I think the following would make for an acceptable summer:

    1. Sell Saha (+6M)
    2. Buy Hargreaves (-17M)
    3. Buy a Bent type player (~-8M)
    4. Bring back Rossi

    I would like to get another big name striker, but I don't know who it would be. Rossi returning with Serie A experience, Alan Smith playing again, Ronaldo fitting into a striker role when necessary (something he has done lately), and a stronger midfield that does not require Giggs to fill holes in the center; all provide attacking options.

    ReplyDelete
  2. As much as I like Fernando Torres, I agree that he will be expensive and unlikely. I think the following would make for an acceptable summer.

    1. Sell Saha (+6M)
    2. Buy Hargreaves (-17M)
    3. Buy a Bent type player (-8-10M)
    4. Bring back Rossi

    I would like to get another big names striker, but I don't know who it would be. Rossi returning with Serie A experience, Alan Smith playing again, Ronaldo fitting into a striker role when necessary (as he has been doing on occasion as of late), and a stronger midfield that does not require Giggs to fill gaps in the center; all make for attacking options.

    ReplyDelete

Our Comment Policy. Do NOT post spammy unrelated comments for the purpose of link building - as they WILL be removed...Comments containing foul and vile abuse will be deleted.

Follow by Email