Sunday, July 12, 2009

Campbell sold, Nani to follow: Eto'o in?

News that United have sold Fraizer Campbell to Sunderland will surprise few given Fergie was happy to use him as a pawn in the deal to sign Dimitar Berbatov last summer. Like the player himself, many United supporters will wonder what might have been if he'd been given a proper chance to shine at Old Trafford; one thing is for certain he is not the first, nor will he be the last young striker with potential to be sold prematurely.

The thing is potential is never enough when you're playing for one of the top clubs in the world, you need to be among the very best - being a good player at Manchester United is no guarantee of a long-term future at the club. Fergie must have had some doubts about Fraizer because even with regret the manager was ultimately happy to allow the player to leave. The fans will wish Campbell well, as long as he doesn't score against the champions next season, obviously.

According to the latest speculation Nani, another player with "potential" could soon be following Campbell out of the exit door, however unlike Campbell the Portuguese winger has been given ample opportunities to show what he is capable of. The former Sporting Lisbon winger has scored some spectacular goals, but he is nowhere near consistent enough and he has failed to measure up to expectations. All too often Nani makes the wrong decision when in possession, he is wasteful and his crossing is poor. What's more, unlike Park, he is one of those wingers who doesn't do enough where defensive duties are concerned. On a personal note, I will be glad to see the back of Nani.

The future of Dimitar Berbatov has also been the subject of speculation, his worth has divided opinion among the fans. Manchester United do not carry passengers no matter how much they've paid to acquire them, and it was his arrival that so unsettled fans favourite Carlos Tevez who now looks set to join Manchester City. Towards the end of last season it looked like the penny had finally dropped with Fergie that just perhaps Berbatov shouldn't have been treated as a regular first-choice pick, but sadly it was too late to the change the mind of the Argentine.

Over the last few days rumours have been suggesting United's Bulgarian striker could be up for sale, this would not surprise me in the slightest, but I doubt Fergie will want to be seen to lose face so quickly given the hefty price he paid to bring him to Old Trafford, which is why I expect the former Spurs player to be given one more season to prove his worth.

With Ronaldo and Tevez gone and with only Michael Owen coming in as a replacement United are in an awful mess up front, at least that is how it looks right now; some fans are saying "we sold the best player in the world and we have replaced him with a player who is almost always injured". Some have gone further when cruelly labeling Owen as a near cripple, which isn't fair, but it is fair to ask quite how Fergie has managed to get himself into this awful mess.

Interestingly, according to Rafa Benitez, a Premier League rival has offered £60m for the services of Fernando Torres, it could have been Manchester City, Chelsea or United, but more likely the former, it doesn't really matter who it was because it was never going to happen.

With Karim Benzema opting to join Real Madrid (as predicted on this blog) instead of United, it isn't looking good for the coming season. Ferguson will not be able to rely on the partnership of Rooney and Berabtov to score the goals next season, it is a partnership that simply will not and does not work; both players are essentially second strikers, both like to drop deep and drift. In terms of importance to the team Rooney stands head and shoulders above the Bulgarian, it was therefore vital that Ferguson brought in a player who would compliment the England striker this summer.

As things stand the club appears to be no closer to acquiring such a player, but with Manchester City dropping their interest in Samuel Eto'o you do wonder if United will now make their move. The Barcelona striker has apparently let it be known he is leaving, and that he wants to win more silverware - another good reason not to join City.

Over the last few days there has been media talk of a swap deal involving Nani and or Berbatov in exchange for Atletico Madrid striker Sergio Aguero, but according to the La Liga club's president Enrique Cerezo, United have yet to make contact.

United have also been strongly linked to Klaas Jan Huntelaar who is mulling over an offer from Stuttgart. Madrid are understandably keen to sell after spending so lavishly this summer and according to the Spanish club, the Bundesliga outfit are the only ones who've matched their valuation which is reported to be 20 million Euros.

In other news Zlatan Ibrahimovic has today confirmed that Chelsea want to sign him, but no mention of Manchester United, which is disappointing if not entirely unexpected, given his reported price tag.

United's best hope for goals next season may well rest of on Rooney and the young shoulders of Macheda and Welbeck, though personally I have doubts about the latter, but both could potentially learn a lot from Michael Owen.


  1. please not eto'o!!look for zlatan or fernando.splash the money united!!!

  2. Eto'o i'd take, scores goals has pace - would be ideal if he didn't have a bit of an attitude but I think thats more to do with players like Ronaldinho's attitude at training, which wouldn't hapen at OT and is no bad thing to want proffesionalism shown from your colleagues.

    As for Nani he didn't pull up any trees last year but when did he get more than a 45min cameo a month and a chance to play on his preffered flank RW?

    As for saying he neglects his defensive responsibilities you could say Park is the complete opposite, he cant attack....the primary objective for a winger at United is to show skill and flair and get to the byline and provide.

    I for one hope we give him a chance in his preffered position and utilise his undoubted ability.

  3. good luck to frazier. I have given up on newspaper speculation after our last two signing. Something tells me, if we do sign someone it will be another surprise.

  4. For what it's worth, I think Eto'o is another Michael Owen - he only comes alive around the box, he is not what United really need right now, they need a genuine number nine. Somone who is both a target man and someone who can lead the line, ideally with pace. Though I hate to even mention his name a quicker version of Shearer is what United need, they are few and far between...obviously.

  5. Dimitar could play good with Robbie Keane, why you think he can't play good with Wayne Rooney? Because of the performance of last season? I don't think last season is a good example. Simply because Ronaldo always ran into the box and played likes a target man, he's not an absolute winger, but Valencia is, so Berbatov will have enough space to shine and I believe Berbatov can play as good as he played at White Hart Lane next season.

  6. Aguero... I wanna see Aguero at Old Trafford.

  7. I think your assessment of what we need is bang on James..but the question any names come to mind that fit the description to the tee?
    I'd like to add one more quality to that list, i.e. he shouldn't be too high profile, or we might have a problem similar to that of Tevez who expected to play all the team, and the last thing I want is for Rooney to play on the wing to accommodate someone else.
    Should be similar to our signing of Louis Saha - proven, quick, a good finisher, not too high profile and shouldn't have the injury problems.

  8. That's the problem, there are no obvious choices and so Fergie will end up paying top money for someone who won't be quite right (whoever he eventually signs) if indeed he does bring someone in.

    Saha, like Owen was injury prone and he also has an attitude problem, I lost count of the number of times he picked up "injuries" in the pre-match warm up....

    I think we just have to accept the next few seasons will be transitional and of course there must still be huge question marks about the manager carrying on. I mean from his perspective, what more is there to achieve? Fergie knows he's realistically blown any hope of winning the CL again. I can see him quitting fairly soon, sooner than many expect.

  9. Ruud,

    Reason being, Keane is arguably better at playing in that slightly more advanced position which allowed Berbatov to have a free role. Rooney does his best work when he's allowed to drift around the forward line. United need a target man and neither Rooney or Berbatov are it. Macheda has the attributes to do the job.

  10. Eto'o is a decent striker but would it be wise to sign him at 28? He would score goals, I cant see the guy playing anywhere and not hitting a ton of goals but he is also a royal pain in the ass and would moan like hell if they decided to give berba the nod in a big game. My fear right now is Fergie doesnt sign anyone else. If it was a case of signing Eto'o now or leaving it a season and reevaluating I'd bite the bullet and sign eto'o.

    Nani has potential but I dont think he will ever live up to it. Not at United at any rate. If we can get a half decent offer or use him in exchange for another player then it should be done.

    We are weak on both wings (have numerous wingers but nobody amazing), stil crossing our fingers than hargrieves will come back when really we should just replace him and need a goal scorer upfront. thats 4 players we need in my opinion and I reckon its time to let Nani, Anderson and perhaps even Berba go to bring in some quality players.
    Who wouldnt want to see Rooney, Aguero and Eto'o used in rotation?

  11. Dave,

    I agree with a lot of that, and to answer your question: Rooney, Aguero and Eto'o wouldn't like it! :0)


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