Friday, February 22, 2008

Transfer links resurface as Fergie plays hardball over star deal...

The will he, wont he, contract saga of Wes Brown appears to be nowhere nearer coming to a happy conclusion. Brown has been at United since he was twelve years of age, but at 28 his next contract will be the most important of his playing career.

Wes has had a good season for United, filling in for injured skipper Gary Neville. However, if Brown doesn't sign that new deal he can leave as a free agent this coming summer, Newcastle have been linked to the England defender.

Brown has so far turned down two offers, the latest thought to be worth in the region of £40,000 a week, but that figure is believed to be well below what other senior professionals earn at the club. If we the fans are to believe what we read about the figures, then many supporters will no doubt have mixed feelings on a player of Brown's ability turning down that sort of money. It comes down to a question of worth for Fergie, as he will be surely consulted on such matters. On the flip side and given what other United players reportedly earn, then some fans will no doubt support Wes in his quest for parity over his wage demands.

The dilemma for the club is, it will cost them dearly to replace Brown and at 28 he's got at least another couple of seasons in him. Any expenditure to replace Wes could be better used elsewhere, like for the acquisition of a new striker.

No doubting out of sheer frustration Fergie has voiced his concerns about this latest contract impasse when blaming the player's agent: "Their agents live their lives for them and if you are happy to go along with that then you get the situation that you have got just now." Ouch.

Not surprisingly, United have been linked to several potential new right-backs, it has even been reported that Fergie has made inquiries about Bayern Munich's Philip Lahm and Willy Sagnol.

Although Lahm plays on the left, he predominantly uses his right-foot. However, as far as I'm aware United have never signed a full German international, and why would Lahm want to move to England? Added to which there has only been a handful of German players who have come to play in England at the highest level, I personally believe that it is unlikely that Lahm's name will be added to that short list this summer.

After recovering from a serious knee injury in 2007, Willy Sagnol has reportedly fallen out with coach Ottmar Hitzfeld and there's talk that he could be heading out of the Bayern exit door. Of the two Bayern defenders who have been linked to United, Sagnol seems the more likely, but it would only be short-term given his age.

Many fans will be hoping that Wes signs that new deal and that he sees out his playing days at United, but given Fergie's comments, it seems that a compromise is starting to look unlikely.

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