Sunday, June 14, 2009

Should Fergie follow Wenger and refuse to pay silly money for players like Valencia?

At this admittedly early juncture, it doesn't look particularly good for United concerning transfers, with players like Ribery and Benzema looking unlikely summer signings.

We have been told that David Gill has been given a list of potential targets, the United CEO will work his way down that list from top to bottom - the fans would dearly love to know the names on that list but it's a fair bet that the two Frenchmen are listed highly. At the foot of the list you can also bet that Atonio Valencia's name figures. Question: Why is it that only Manchester United are being linked with the Wigan midfield star? Could it be that he's not rated highly by the elite clubs?

The worry is that Fergie could be about to sign another average player, United paid a lot of money to sign Nani who has under-achieved and at times seems incapable of delivering a final ball.

It could be argued that labelling Valencia as a another expensive flop is grossly unfair, but the lack of suitors is concerning, what's more in time honoured fashion United will more than likely pay over the odds again. The only reason United will end up offering silly money for the Ecuadorian is because Wigan are aware the club is cash rich and the champions almost always pay over the odds - but we are not in a bidding war with any other club. If Wigan sold Valencia to just about any other Premier League club barring United they'd receive half the fee they are likely to prize out of United.

Some United fans are demanding that the manager should be given all of the £80m they will eventually receive from the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo, but that money will be paid in instalments leaving the manager probably looking to sign players on similar "easy-terms'. Despite the nonsense in the mainstream media about this "world-record fee" Fergie's hands are to a degree tied, which is why I have been saying the Ronaldo deal is a bad one for United, but it was always going to happen at some point.

With players of genuine quality looking unattainable, you do wonder if now is the time for Fergie to follow the lead of Arsene Wenger by refusing to be held to ransom for unproven players.

What is the point of blowing £20m on any player who will not significantly improve the squad? Granted, there will be many who with some justification will point out that the Gunners' haven't won a trophy since 2005, but the Arsenal manager continues to produce competitive teams that consistently finish in the Premier League's top four.

Perhaps now is the time for United to change the club's history of spending big every time the cheque-book is opened, but this route is a dangerous one and it should only be taken if the manager has total confidence in his ability to deliver that crucial top-four finish at the end of next season. If Ferguson were to take this route, it could be argued he'd be doing it for the longer-term good of the club, if he were to do so it would more than likely be at the expense of more silverware in the short-term.

Such a change would also incur the wrath of many trophy hungry supporters who want to see every penny spent on team-building. Then there are the Glazers' debts, now reported to be a staggering £699m - no supporter can be happy about this and those who advocate spending every penny of that £80m do so in part because they fear where Ronaldo's transfer cash will end up.

It is doubtful Fergie will care too much about concerns over the club debts, given his history of support for the Glazer family. Nonetheless, there's a strong argument for keeping your powder dry until the right target becomes available.

It would be wrong to follow Wenger in all aspects of his transfer dealings, the Frenchman has a remarkable record of near balancing the books, unlike the Gunners' boss Fergie will and should go out and spend big when the need arises, there should be no debate about signing top quality players, but the question remains will Fergie manage to do that this summer and in the event of them being unattainable for whatever reason what will the manager do?

34 comments:

  1. Interesting article. Hope you don't mind a comment from a gooner?

    One thing to consider about Valencia is that he's not the player Ronaldo is (and perhaps he never will be) but he is pretty young and talented.

    You are gonna be charged over the odds for him, obviously, because Wigan can. And if Wenger or whoever also had him in mind this will push his price up for everyone, but part of the fee for a player like this is for their potential - you spent a lot of money for such a young player when you purchased Ronaldo, remember? Some of that fee was for the player he became, not the one he was on day of purchase.

    People who can make senior level contributions to a team while still very young (Rooney, Fabregas, Owen back in the day) are an exception, not the rule. You have to also consider how people grow in the team, and if your manager wants to rebuild the team around Rooney or Berbatov, say, Valencia might be worth the money as a supporting player to that central figure even if he never becomes a star in his own right.

    For all that though, I do think the big club managers need to think about what a player is really worth and not pay over the odds - just that they also need to consider all the factors of their value, not just the immediate return we tend to look at as fans.

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  2. Rob,

    No worries about you being a gooner. We all want to see our manager's signing the very best available talent, be they young or the finished article.

    When United signed Ronaldo, they had more or less tripped over him in a pre-season friendly, the story goes he gave players like Neville the run around, it was the players who convinced Fergie to sign him, so it was a bit of fluke, ie he wasn't on the club's radar. True to form, United paid silly money to sign Ronaldo, but it was a gamble that has ultimately paid off, obviously.

    Regarding Valencia, he's not that new to the Premier League, he has been playing for Wigan since 2006 in that time he has scored just eight goals, a poor record when you consider that some United fans are questioning the club paying £25m for Tevez.

    Like I posted in the article, I think United look to be in danger of signing an average player for a lot of money, just as they did with Nani who might turn out to be a better alternative. The point being, I'm simply not sure United need to keep on buying journeymen types.

    The fact that no other clubs are looking to sign Valencia does concern me - if he was any good then Bruce would take him to Sunderland.

    I doubt Fergie will follow the path of Wenger because there's too much pressure on him to spend that money, but I honestly believe he should not be spending for the sake of it unless he is 100% sure that he is buying top quality. I'd rather see the manager giving Macheda the opportnity to shine and at the same leaving no stone unturned in search of the next Beckham or Ronaldo.

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  3. Another gooner here, albeit one that does actually respect United to a certain extent (we are rare.)

    Ferguson has used Wenger's methods before - look at the Macheda's etc. who could arguably not have been signed without Cesc or Anelka making such a name for themselves.

    The circumstances when it comes to big money signings is very different though. We have had to be very stingy in the past, say, 6 years because of the stadium move. Before that - we spent 11m on a dejected winger not making a name for himself most fans thought was mental (lol, thierry) and what at the time seemed like big money moves for jeffers etc. on a whim. TV money and added worldwide ad revenue means the prices have gone up but it's similar.

    The thing is Ferguson doesn't seem to care about the new Glazer Utd. This is entirely unfounded but from my eyes, it looks like he knows it's going to sink either way eventually and he's just trying to make a legacy for himself before it happens. You could argue that you have some of the most exciting youngsters in the world (Nani might have had a bad season but he still counts, work on his training and mentality and he could still shine) and if they really cared about the future of the club, maybe using the full 80m to appease the bank a little would go a long way while giving the Welbecks and co. a chance like the Beckhams and co. were in the mid 90s or our current lot.

    Any signing you'd make after a 80m figure will be overpriced. Valencia offers something a lot different - he isn't the showy ego of Ronaldo or goals, but more of a Park or a Kuyt - all stamina and defensive cover as well as wing technique. You won the league from the back this season and Valencia would help reassure that from midfield - it's just now you'd expect Berb/Rooney to chip in more to make sure games end up 1-0 instead of goalless.

    And back to the original point - refusing to spend more has cost us dearly. We *just* missed out on Sporting's Ronaldo, Ajax's Ibrahamovic, Sao Paolo's Kaka, Lyon's Essien, Everton's Rooney etc. because we wouldn't chip in a little extra. And the reality is we ended up with Hleb's, Reyes', Adebayor's, Diaby's instead and a top 4 team instead of a world class one. We are in a different situation though and looking at Valencia's firesale and money problems, am OK with us sticking it out with *potential*.

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  4. I think the 'fluke' thing regarding Ronaldo was put to bed by Fergie himself. It seems that United had been after him for a while and had made contact with Lisbon regarding their interest. Fergie said that after the friendly it was obvious that the rest of the footballing world would sit up and take notice, so United realised they would have to go ahead with their plans to buy him. The players did enthuse over him of course, but United where already making plans to aquire him.

    Regarding Valencia, I have always thought that first Bruce and now Wheelan have been far too 'nice' in all of this. Bruce started months ago with this 'not standing in his way' and 'understands why the big teams are interested - the lad deserves it' type rubbish. They have been setting him up for a big move and United are biting. I think he would do ok at OT, he would join the likes of Anderson and Park that are trusted to come in and do a job in a specific game. He is not a £20 million player though, far from it. I was watching him against Argentina and hoping I could see something different from him, amongst a better class of player and against beteer opposition than playing for Wigan usually provides, but he was the same as ever, steady without doing anything outstanding. £6-8 million max.

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  5. The RedC, I think you've hit the nail on the head: £6-8 million max.

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  6. a hoy hoy, it's really quite interesting to see gauge the reaction of rival fans regarding perceptions on our respective players.

    I seriously doubt Welbeck will make it at United, the same can be said of Nani. However, I always thought Hleb was a very good player for Arsenal, one who was under-rated by many. Adebayor is a good Premier League striker, but maybe he suffers from believing his own publicity.

    As I mentioned in my post, there's nowt wrong with signing quality players for big money providing you get it right, the example of Rooney is a case in point.

    Wenger doesn't waste money whereas Fergie has had the luxury of being able to get it wrong big time on several occasions. I'm not saying Wenger hasn't made costly mistakes, Wiltord springs to mind....but they are few compared to Fergie's.

    Regarding your point about Fergie knowing United are doomed. I think you'd have to be blinkered not to accept that point - how can anyone ignore debts of £699m? As I understand it, the Glazers' are not paying off any of their debts they are only servicing huge interest payments.

    However, I think rather than spending willy-nilly and taking chances when shelling out £20m on average players like Valencia the manager should do as I suggested and save his money for the right player - why make a bad situation even worse by spending big for the sake of it?

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  7. TheRedC - Are Utd biting, or are the media biting. We're all fans of bigger clubs here so we're all used to the papers talking complete nonsense about our clubs, our fans, our players, our managers, right? If Arsenal or Utd signed a quarter of the players who the media claim get as far as a medical at our respective training grounds we'd both have squads about 4 times as big as our current one.

    How much of the stuff about Valencia is media hype and how much is substance? Possibly a small amount of substance wrapped in a lot of hype, ginsters "quality" style? About 8 mil does sound about right though, true enough.

    James - thanks!
    As you say, why aren't other clubs interested in Valencia? Unless they are but on the quiet... though I think Wigan would make some noise to get a bidding war going and who can blame them, business is business?

    I actually said something similar a few years ago when Bent ended up at spurs and Arsenal were supposed to be interested in him. I didn't believe it because "If he's so good, why aren't we in a cage match with 'pool and ManU for his signature"?.

    I can believe that a really good player might pass ONE of the big clubs by, because the scout just doesn't "get" their game or they have an off night or two when being scouted, or maybe the club doesn't need a player in that position, but when all/most of the big clubs aren't bothered then you really do have to wonder if someone's as good as their agent claims.

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  8. Rob,

    DO you recall Gary Breen being linked to Barcelona a few seasons back? That has to go down as one of the most outrageous/hilarious rumours ever.

    Apparently Jon Richardson of the Daily Express has today linked Fernando Torres to United - it simply isn't going to happen.

    And so it goes on and on for the whole summer...

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  9. I've always been lead to believe that if the BBC report it as an actual story, it's the closest to truth a rumour will ever get. 85% of transfer stories there are correct, unlike the 2% everywhere else. Miss 15% because, ya know, Kaka didn't sign with City, Ribery didn't sign with Arsenal because of contract negotiations.

    (Funniest no doubt has to be Pennant being linked many times to Madrid - like wtf?)

    Fergie doesn't really *waste* money. All his signings are calculated and not done on a whim. And to see Forlan trounce Spain right now, he obviously knows what he's looking at, even if it doesn't work out at Utd. You can overpay but Utd are, if not the richest, one of the top 3 in the world- of course fees will get inflated no matter who they come asking for, non? Especially considering you've just got a £80m bumper.

    Valencia has been linked to many teams. Liverpool, Real (obv. not now), lol Spurs, Utd, a couple other teams on the continent. And the fact that he's not a fashionable player makes it look like an inflated price but he is a good player, one I wouldn't like to see a rival have either way. I also presume the transfer will be delayed till Martinez takes control.

    Of course you need to make stories to ease fans fears but wasn't it just six months ago you got 'little kaka' and loaned him back out? Whatever happened to his mate? One thing I'd love to see football teams do is be bold in coming out and saying, say 'we are putting the 80m in the reserves, we already have 'little kaka' and he deserves a chance.' Fans know what they want but not what their clubs need and if you wanted to continue supporting a sustained successful team, this is what should happen instead of spouting out about the Ribery's etc. I know that (again, casting an eye at Valencia and yr Leeds, Deportivos, Parmas etc. from the decade) a couple cheap, mediocre 4th seasons for a secure and successful future is better than instant success until the day it all goes tits up in the red.

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  10. I'm an arsenal fan and I am content with whats going on at my club. We are in £300 mil debt BUT we are running a sound financial business model. Wenger has to be one of the few managers who take an interest in the long term stability of the club they are at, he knows it would be unwise to spend big even though all the noises you hear from our board is that the money is there. If we can still compete with what we have, which we have shown we can, getting to the semis of fa cup and champions league, then as long as we continue ridding ourselves of debt season by season, making a profit I WILL BE HAPPY. I'm not going to be an arsenal fan just for the next 2 years where we are unlikely to win win the league etc. Many fans can't accept this lack of glory. In 5-10 years we will be at the stage where we are almost completely self-preserving and self-reliant. We will not be in the astronomical debt that United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Madrid and Barcelona etc. are in.

    I can see exactly what Arsene is doing. The youth project he has running is long term because he has a long term plan for Arsenal football club. We have a squad that, although being short of having the squad depth to win many of the competitions we enter, has a bright future and still competes, playing attractive football that on its day can be as good as anybody. Managers like him do not come along very often, and I for one am extremely, unbelivably, amazingly happy that he manages my football club!

    The Man Utd business model is the antithesis of what we are doing at Arsenal. A club of that global stature means the fans demand success on an annual basis. Is Manchester United making money? No. It only has the capacity to sustain itself, servicing its debt, requring the trophy revenue to survive. I wonder what might happen if United go trophy less for 2 seasons? Would they still be able to pay off the interest or would it require further loans?

    I sincerely believe that it is only a matter of time before one of the big club topples over, I mean we saw it with Leeds didn't we?

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  11. a hoy hoy, the BBC doesn't tend to get involved in the tittle-tattle speculation end of the business but there's still some annoying aspects to the BBC sports website IMO, it could be my paranoid imagination but I for one am of the opinion that the BBC has too many people with leanings towards Liverpool and therefore it isn't as objective as it should be all of the time. The row with Ferguson hasn't helped.

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  12. Sol, with the very real danger of being accused by United fans of holding a Sunday afternoon Gooners love-in, sadly I have to agree with your comments about the state of United's financial affairs.

    I can only conclude that the Glazer family are pinning their hopes on someone bailing them and the club out at some point in the future, it is the only positive scenario that makes sense.

    Your question about United finishing poorly over a couple of seasons is one that Fergie might well be pondering right now because United need to find a 20 goals a season striker and they will need to replace Tevez. It's a big ask.

    Could United head in the same direction as Leeds? I think they actually could but I'd hope someone would come in and save them before that happened.

    Unlike some clubs, for someone who could afford the huge asking price, United would be a great club to own because it could be profitable, the issue is of course is the owners’ acquisition debts.

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  13. If I were to ask a hundred arsenal fans whether they would have what Man Utd have, that is great success but a very unpredictable financial situation or a continuation of Arsene Wenger's long term plans, I really dont know what the responses would be.

    I know what I would go for, obviously, all you need to do is read my comments. I fear however, many of the short sighted, bandwagon fans, who look enviously over at Chelsea and United, would take that risky option without hesitation.

    You do have a point, where Newcastle are, for numerous reasons, a very unattractive purchase for a prospective consortium or sugar daddy, Man Utd would be able to attract a very different type of buyer, more in the vein of Abramovich or the Arabs who own City. As a Man Utd fan, I would be very uneasy about relying on an unknown saviour, but as an Arsenal fan I predict that you probably will be bailed out by somebody. Which also saddens me when Arsenal are trying to do things in a more, should I say, ethical manner, but still sacrifice the short term success that Man Utd are enjoying but who will in all likelihood be saved by somebody and continue as if nothing had happened.

    Its a risky business.

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  14. Sol, I agree. There's unlikely to be any reward for trying to be prudent. Look at the events of this week at Madrid, they've blown everyone out of the water with their crazy offers. Platini talks about clubs having to operate within their means but at this point in time you just cannot see it happening.

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  15. It's funny that big debt and big money transfers/wages is only a problem for the likes of blatter and platini when it's the likes of our clubs he's talking about and he's strangely silent about clubs like Real Madrid, who if I recall correctly are the only club mentioned to be baled out by either their local council or was it the national government? One of those, sure of it.

    Love to know where their money is coming from, even with paying in installments, which is common enough practice in football these days, if they end up with Kaka, Ronaldo and Clichy (did I just hoist myself on my own "media" petard there?), that's a lot of debt to service for a good couple of years in its own right.

    I think the greater a club's foundations, financially speaking, the greater the risks it can take, so the likes of Arsenal, ManU, Barca, L'Pool probably can all afford to take on a fairly large amount of properly managed debt comfortably enough - the recent rumours that L'pool are struggling with their debt are down to their owners hating each other and hence not working to manage the debt as well as they could in my opinion, but while Arsenal's stadium and Man U's financing deal for the Glaziers are clearly serious debts, both clubs are built on solid enough foundations to be able to manage those debts ok under most conditions.

    As for us fans, do we want jam today or jam tomorrow? There's certainly a grave risk in stretching the money too far, just ask any Leeds fan, but SAF has shown how much success you can achieve with a little bit of financial daring, and AW has shown that you can still compete on a shoestring. They're both examples to most of the rest of the clubs and their managers (though I confess I wouldn't mind if AW spent a little bit more on big name players than he does now.. *sigh*)

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  16. I dont like to comment on platini, or indeed blatter. It is typical of the hypocrisy displayed by the european and world footballing authorities to defend on the one hand madrid's unrealistic spending (to be fair to platini, he did criticise the ronaldo purchase) and on the other accuse English clubs of unsound practices by running themselves into huge debt.

    Platini may have not been happy about Madrid's spending this time, but where is his criticism of Valencia or Barcelona, clubs who are in huge debt just like United, Chelsea and Liverpool?

    If you are interested in knowing a bit more, although it sounds as though you already know what you're talking about, have a read of this article:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1162201/Still-Spanish-inquisition-Mr-President.html

    You completely summarise what most of the majority of Arsenal fans are feeling right now; there is no reward for being prudent. Or so it seems. Despite this, I am happy to see Arsenal achieve their seasonal targets, not doing anything spectacular but achieving their revenue objectives so that they wont be in any doubt of their financial security in the years to come.

    Hopefully some of the part time fans will get fed up and go away!

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  17. Rob,

    Regarding cash, I think some of Real's money is coming from Perez personally, but I'm not 100% sure about at as Ramon Calderon was yesterday implying his great work as the previous president had laid foundations for the new man...

    Any football fan would love to see Kaka and Ronaldo playing for their club no matter where the money is coming from, that is a reality we all have to agree on, but it sure as hell isn't a level playing field (relatively speaking).

    Madrid sold some land a few years back and were given around £200m I believe, as I understand it the land was sold for a lot more than its true worth, but I cannot find anything on that having just searched, but here's an interesting link:
    http://www.soccerblog.com/2009/05/real-madrids-accounts-come-und.htm

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  18. Sol that is a great article, it raises many unanswered questions..

    One of the great ironies about United's situation is that if the club had not been so well run prior to the Glazer takeover, ie no debts and profitable then the Glazers' would not have been able to borrow all that money...

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  19. Sol,

    I forgot to add that if United had been say £100m in debt then they quite probably would not now be in this great mess...because the Glazers' wouldn't have been able to secure all those loans.

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  20. we should sack fergie and get wenger!

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  21. Some quick points so I don't miss anymore Spain goals!

    1. I think the BBC is very varied tbh. For every Hansen there is a Pallister or a Dixon. Of course bias' can be seen at times but they try to stay impartial as much as any organisation based around supporting teams with individual bias' and rivalries can be.

    1b. On that note, nice to see Gooners and Mancs' getting on. :)

    2. Real are in a very special position where their commercial prospects (and subsequent ability to abuse it for cash money) blows any other team out of the water. Ask Arsenal how they are gonna account for a 80m transfer and we'd shrug our shoulders. Ask Real and they'd say: this many shirt sales in this time, this ad revenue, these commercial prospects etc. - Zidane had supposedly paid for himself in months.

    3. Waiting, hoping for a sugar daddy seems very dangerous. Especially as thee ol' credit crunch is taking money away from billionaires having expensive playthings. Look at Ashley having to pimp out his email address! And even then, look at Liverpool- it is no guarantee that they'd be able to sort you out; their new stadium is nothing but hot air.

    4. Profitable business' can take on debt for investment. That's a given. But where does the buck stop on responsibility? Liverpool overspent on their squad and nearly won the league/done enough that they can continue for now competiting; West Ham and Pompy severely overspent and have gone to pot. A football team is nothing without players but where is the country wide development in academies, that cost pittance compared to summer signings? Our Hale End academy has supposedly cost 1m a year - and for a handful of players (Wilshere, Gibbs, lol Ashley Cole, just won the youth double so more most probably.) it has to be worth ten times that. Look at Barca - what would you pay for Xavi or Bojan or Puyol? It's based around an old barn for gods sake! Throw in some extra youth coaches and focus on technique, surely say Bolton spending £10m instead of buying one Elmander would pay immense dividends?

    Maybe I just don't understand football.

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  22. a hoy hoy, I understand the points you're making and regarding United waiting for a sugar daddy to turn up does seem like a crazy business plan, but I cannot offer any other possible solution.

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  23. Of course I agree with that a hoy hoy, that a business is allowed to take on manageable debt. So long as that debt is controllable, there is such a thing as "good debt", wherein it is a side effect of allowing an enterprise to expand and thus create larger revenue in the long run, but only so long as that debt will not disrupt the financial stability of the business. If a football club can reasonably propose to pay off its debt at some stage in the future there should be no problem in taking out a big loan as it is being used to make the business bigger and more profitable, so it will be able to off the debt with its increased revenue capacity (its not long ago I did A Level Economics, economies of scale etc)

    The problem arises when a club is taking out loans, tryin to grow, and only manages to service the constant interest payments, without any intention of paying off that debt in the foreseeable future. How can Man Utd seriously ever be believed to pay off their debt when every season they put the majority of the profit they make into buying new players as oppose to reducing their debt?

    There is nothing technically wrong with what they are doing, although you must wonder, if you were the bank, when you might be seeing your full amount of money back. But at the same time, as the bank you would not be hugely concerned because of the huge interest they are receiving on an annual basis, which I suppose will eventually end up being a larger amount than the total initial repayment schedule.

    Man Utd and clubs like Madrid will be constantly spiralling into debts of a massive and intabgible level, but they wont be truly concerned until they cant pay off those interest payments. They can continue to perpetuate their debt until that day comes and at the moment, it seems, despite the good ol' credit crisis, they are able to manage which makes you think when they will ever be in trouble if they can manage to stay afloat in such turbulent economic times.

    Well, enough of the economics lesson, like James said earlier, there appears to no reward for being economically sagacious, which sees many Arsenal fans calling for our board to replicate the actions of your Chelsea's and United's. I for one am happy to see Usmanov turned away, for the time being at least, with our lock in agreement. Its the pressure from elsewhere that might eventually see our business model turned upside down. But at the same time we have a certain Arsene Wenger in charge who, being a student of economics himself, will not allow such radical changes to be made as long as hes there. That satisfies me.

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  24. Absurdly there is another solution: carry on winning things! And don't spend all the money you make, don't spend all the transfer money you make. You already have the best squad in the country - even without Ronaldo (it was Vidic/Ferdinand that won the league remember.) Even if Utd spend £40m trying to replace the 30 goals a season Ronaldo gives you (two wingers, Silva and Valencia could do it?) - that's your squad sorted and 40m for the bank manager. And then there is money made from Campbell and other yuts and those on the edges to be sold off. You have 1 of the 2 best stadiums and training grounds in the world, no need for further investment. So put the money in the bank and you should be fine and still obvious favourites for the title. (Look at Leeds and remember that if the bank manager isn't appeased a little and some sort of actual success isn't sustained though and... goodbye rivals :) )

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  25. a hoy hoy, that is what I've been advocating except I'd only spend when I was 100% sure the players concerned would improve the squad, I'm simply not sure about Valencia.

    I would add that United do need to find another goal scorer, quite probably two actually. While the defence played well without Ronaldo United are nowhere as potent up front.

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  26. UNited are paying off the glazers debts with their winnings, and as said a last week by the glazers, SAF usually only has 20mil to refresh the squad. Hence 80 + 20 =100mil.
    We saw last summer, after winning the two most "profitable" trophies, we only spent 31.5mil on Dimitar Berbatov, banking the rest ( 95mil -31.5=63.5mil)
    The repayment of the glazers debt/interest is almost covered there. SO for now, i don't think there are too many problems.
    BTW what wouldthe english populations reaction to Man UNited becoming a company again and floating on the stock exxchange? Surely that's the best way to run the club?

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  27. although it would certainly give the glazers a decent profit, as the club has grown in size and stature in the last few years. How receptive would english people, and the "rich" be to UNited re-floating?

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  28. I dont see a problem with United spending big money on players to replace Ronaldo, as long as they are the right players. As you have mentioned in the article, the lack of interest in Valencia is concerning and the fact that he has hardly set the premier league alight with Wigan suggests, in my mind at least, that he is not the man we need to replace Ronaldo. I'd obviously like to see the club go for Ribery as i believe he would be a capable replacement but as he also appears to be madrid bound in the near future, i think David Silva would be a good option. Especially as he wouldnt cost silly money due to Valencia's current financial situation. Anyone agree?

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  29. Harry, I don't know a lot about David Silva to be honest, but isn't he also RM bound?

    I've been saying all along that I do not expect United to make any big name signings.

    The club has always had great difficulty in signing the very top players from the continent. Veron only came to United because of a passport scandal.

    My own view is that United may well have to settle for a top four finish for the next few seasons until they can get over the Ronaldo exit. We have to remember that United are not just looking to replace a winger (Valencia and or Silva etc) but we are talking about a player who bagged 60 odd goals in the last two seasons. United's goals this season came mainly from four players; if you take out Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez and Berbatov the rest only scored 15 between them and of course we are going to lose two of the above.

    I'm noy carping on about this as some United fans have intimated on my blog, when claiming I'm being pessimistic, I am trying to be as realistic as I can be. I will give you an example.

    A few years ago Fergie allowed Stam to be sold; it took United two or three seasons to recover as well as £30m cheque for Ferdinand. I see the same thing happening again, in the short term (three seasons) United are going to struggle because Fergie (if he's still in charge) is going to have quite possibly change the way United play going forward - where are the goals going to come from?

    Rooney will not get any more than he has done over the last few seasons IMO.

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  30. Wow, what's with the multitude of Gooners at a United blog; things have indeed changed. Haha.

    I'm a Gooner myself, but anyway, came across this interesting post on Goonernews.

    Now, I don't know exactly the mechanics of United's current debt or whatever, but surely it'd be a good idea to put some of that sizeable fee back into that. Furthermore, perhaps it would have been a good idea (if its possible) to have made the transfer fee undisclosed, as this surely inflates the market such as we have never seen before? I mean, basically, every club that has a player linked to Man Utd can easily say that he won't go for less than 80 million (perhaps not upfront) because everyone knows at least how much Man Utd have.

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  31. Haldire,

    I think the idea of an undisclosed fee has some merit, but I doubt there'd be any agreement on keeping a lid of things given the publicity surrounding such a high-profile move. United fans needed to know how much the deal was worth because many are unhappy about the move, but at least the price tag will pacify some fans even if the payments are spread over four years, which hinders United somewhat when looking to sign replacements.

    Personally, I would hold the money back until the right target comes along. I doubt that man is Valencia but I could be wrong.

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  32. I agree that United will be hit hard by Ronaldo's exit by i think that it could prove to be the making of Wayne Rooney as a player. I imagine, depending on who United sign to replace Ronaldo, that he will move back into the central role he has been excelling in for England, hopefully producing a similar goal return.

    On an unrelated issue, was just wondering if you have any tips on how to make a successful blog as i have started one recently as i'm doing a sports journalism degree and wanted to get my writing out there? Thanks

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  33. Harry,

    Rooney has been playing at the very top of his game for United, he isn't capable of improving to the degree that some fans are suggesting, it simply is not going to happen..

    Regarding the blog question, I update mine for fun really and so I guess I'm the wrong person to ask. All I'll say is update it often and try to keep on topic. A lot depends on how on you dertmine success. You also have to consider which blogging software to use there's a fair bit of choice and you can make your blog look really professional if you use Wordpress as there's many theme options. I use Blogger because its free and it works for me but not everyone likes it. Hope that helps.

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  34. Harry, I used to write a reasonably successful blog in technology. My advice would be to write as often as possible on subjects that you can actually talk about with some knowledge and enthusiasm - as opposed to the advice you get sometimes to blog every day, which doesn't help if you don't have something to say each day, or the time to write to a decent quality.

    And take part in other blogs and stuff in the area you're writing about, look for chances to push your blog naturally but don't force it into conversations or spam blog comments with it.

    James - how much does Rooney need to improve? He's already a great player as much as it pains me to admit it ;-). With the departure of Ronaldo, and the marginalisation of older stars like Giggs and Scholes who just can't do it every game now, perhaps the "core" of people your team is built around - Rooney might do better next season not from becoming a good player but because he'll get the ball where he wants it more instead of having to work hard for the team.

    Haldire: The undisclosed fee thing - that assumes that the other team involved want to keep it quiet. Arsenal do it, sure, but quite often the team we buy someone from let the info slip... and in this particular case, I think the Madrid president wants to boast about the big money he's spending, so even if Utd wanted to keep it quiet they couldn't.

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