Monday, August 24, 2009

Six players that Ferguson could have signed...

United banjoed a low on confidence looking Wigan side at the weekend, the five-nil score-line didn't flatter the champions, but Ferguson will know his squad's title winning credentials will be tested to the limit in the next three fixtures with United set to face Arsenal (h), Spurs (a) and then Man City (h).

Last week's embarrassing defeat against Burnley coupled with the lack of high-profile summer signings has resulted in Chelsea becoming the bookmakers favourites to win the Premier League - no great surprise there given the West London club have retained their big star names.

It also looks like good news for those who have complained that the accepted top four English clubs have dominated the League too often, because Spurs and even Man City will have a big say on where the title ends up next May - it could turn out to be one of the most competitive seasons in the relatively short history of the Premier League.

So what about United's chances of retaining the title? There's no doubting the champions are nowhere near as potent up front following the loss of Ronaldo and many pundits say Ferguson has big problems in midfield, as exposed by Barcelona in the Champions League Final.

The consensus is that Fergie needs to sign at least two quality players, a midfield player and a striker; despite a shortage of stand-out candidates for both roles there are a number of players who the United manager could have tried to sign.

Emmanuel Adebayor - City paid £25m for the former Arsenal star and already it is looking like money well spent. Fergie even admitted Adebayor or his agent contacted United and was desperate to come to Old Trafford, yet the manager failed to take advantage of the situation.

Gareth Barry - The former Villa star can play either in the back-four or in central midfield; it's partly why Liverpool wanted him. Like Adebayor he looks to be an excellent signing and his defensive qualities are arguably exactly what is missing in Fergie's existing midfield options. Fletcher has the legs, but his distribution let's him down at times and Carrick's tackling is poor.

Fergie obviously cannot sign Adebayor and Barry now, it's too late for that, but whenever anyone says there's been a shortage of candidates let us not forget United didn't even try to sign those two...

Real Madrid have four players who would add something to United's attacking options. Arjen Robben, Royston Drenthe, Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder are all available for transfer, here again Ferguson has made no move for any of the players mentioned. You do wonder if United fear having their transfer trousers pulled down after demanding and according the club "receiving" £80m cash for Ronaldo.

Whatever the reason for Ferguson's failure to move for any of the Real Madrid players it remains to be seen if the United manager will live to regret not bringing in more quality this summer. It might well be the case that Fergie doesn't rate any of the players mentioned, but I for one find that extremely hard to believe.


  1. I wonder how long it is before someone realises that the best creative midfielder we have is Wayne Rooney, play him and a hoding midfielder and you would have the best box to box middfielder in the country and still be able to play two out and out strikers

  2. With all that being said, I think that the criticizing SAF for not going after any Madrid players really needs to be either restrained or said with a conditional. I tried to articulate this once, but don't think that I did a good job.

    I think all the Madrid players indeed would add to our team. However, there really is no benefit in going after those players now. The closer they are signed to the end of the transfer window the lower their price should be. Madrid are going to be deseperate to offload them. If you go in quickly with a reasonable offer on the low end, there is no time to spark an auction. Madrid will have to cut their losses. So while everyone would like one of those players, maybe SAF is merely bidding his time.

    While I will not go into it, there is something to be said for the fact that not signing players may be better for the long term benefit of the club despite the short term pain. Mainly, young players get to develop in a team where they otherwise would not if signings were made.

  3. Its a pity that you mention Adebayor and Barry as potential united signings. So, would that also mean we were wrong to let go of tevez? We dont need mercenaries at united. Yes, agreed that we need one quality signing, but it would have to be someone who wants to play for united and also fill ronaldo's boots. I would love to hear from you, who that would be.

  4. I dont think Ade or Barry would have added anything to united, i do agree that thsoe 4 real madrid players are top quality and definitely would add something to united. However Ferguson should have made a move when he sold ronaldo, he would have been in a far stronger position to negotiate

  5. Tony,

    I've thought Rooney's natural position is midfield for a while, so it's funny you should mention that. You make a good point about being able to then fit in two strikers, it's a move that would have the England ABU press up in arms but wtf, it's United we care about.

  6. 619,

    You may well have a point about waiting, but remember City's late intervention forced us to pay £30m for Berbatov and give Spurs Campbell into the bargain, that was down to trying to be smart and when the team needs strengthening, as it surely does, then Fergie is playing a dangerous game in this respect if that is his plan.

    Regarding your point about the young players, why hasn't Macheda been given a chance yet this season? I guess it's early days and he will have to be patient.

  7. Eoin,

    Here's my take on that. I think Fergie had a very short list of targets; it comprised of two to three names; Benzema and Valencia.

    Until this point I don't think Fergie has seriously considered the merits of say Robben, because if he had then as you say he could have come to an agreement earlier.

    With that stated Gill says there's a list of potential targets and they work down the list from top to bottom so you do wonder if like other clubs they are waiting until nearer the end of August for the Dutch auction to begin proper.

    I think any form of swap deal could have looked bad with Madrid, United were in a really tricky position on that point from a pr perspective, therefore it made some sort of sense to leave any future deals on the table for a while until the Ronaldo dust had settled.

  8. Balaji,

    I think we really do have to get away from this notion that it's only the City players who are mercanaries - they all are to a degree.

    I mentioned Adebayor and Barry for the simple reason that there was players available to sign who could do a good job for the team. What's more Fergie has confirmed Adebayor wanted to sign!

    Some United fans have been saying "but who do you sign" - they say no one is available but that clearly has NOT been the case.

    No one can fill Ronaldo's boots, and this is why Fergie was right to say United will have to play a different way, but the manager's solution was half-baked and not a solution IMO, because I seriously doubt the partnership of Rooney and Berbatov is the answer - but only time will tell, I could be wrong and if so it won't be the first time or the last.

  9. Excellent article, I wouldn't of thought of the opportunities Ferguson had and might have passed up on. The transfer window is not over yet, although it is near impossible we will sign someone.

    Lets see what happens with this squad too, which by no means is poor. Maybe Ferguson expects Carrick to add another dimension to his game, and he still can improve. And maybe he expects the same of Fletcher. You mentioned earlier that he has replicated some of Wenger's formula this season, and asking players with potential and quality to constantly improve is no bad coaching.

    We can see how in Arsenal, Diaby and Fabregas have improved on their finishing to aid the teams cause. A lot of the squad has improved greatly too from last season.

    I'm just hoping that it will take a few weeks and not an entire season for this bunch of United midfielders to develop a complete game. Also, what about Diarra? Another player from Madrid, that United could have negotiated for, he proved his mettle with Portsmouth, and is an excellent midfielder as well.

    Also Lorik Cana would have been a good signing too, he wouldn't have been expensive and would have grown into the role. Sunderland did extremely well to prise him away from the attention of the bigger clubs.

  10. Has anyone considered using Wayne as attacking midfield with Rio as defensive midfield. Rooney can take over from Scholes and Rio can easily perform the DM role.

  11. Uday,

    Sadly, I totally disagree with the theory that a player can improve to the extent we are hoping for in this instance. Let me explain.

    If you are going to play 442, then it is an absolute pre-requisite that you have two central midfield players who have skill, tenacity and and a fabulous engine under the bonnet. Roy Keane had those qualities in abundance, what he lacked in passing ability was more than made up for in other areas of his all-round game.

    Fletcher has some of those qualities, but he's just not quite good enough and I'd argue he's nearer to the genuine article than say Carrick, as far as he goes, people say he's a good defensive midfield player - but for crying out loud he cannot tackle.

    As Tony put it earlier, Rooney could be a better option than anyone we currently have in midfield because he can do it all.

    I don't know a lot about the players you've mentioned - I just wanted to make it crystal clear that talk of 'no one being available' is wide of the mark.

    Regarding Diaby, the thing with him is prior to arriving at Arsenal his skills were well known, the only surprise is how long it has taken him to adapt, but he did break his leg. He is going to be awesome...mark my words.

    What Fergie has done though is replicate Wenger's ability to find young players from abroad and for the right price and without doubt this is the way forward, that and securing the best young British talent.

  12. Alec,

    I think Rio is better off where he is tbh, what's more he's becoming injury prone. Rooney on the other hand is a good shout IMO.

  13. So you really think Adebayor is value at 25 m$? Yes, he holds up the ball, has great sense of position and scores a twenty every season, but he comes with grave attitude problems, which is one of the prime reasons why he hardly made any impact at Arsenal last season.You really think you can keep such a player happy in club that follows squad rotation policy? On top of that, a natural consequence of him playing in the team is Rooney being marginalized in the left flank.I don't mind the 25 million , but this is a price I don't want to pay.

    Gareth Barry, What do you think United could have offered him that Liverpool did not? Pursuing him would have been a total waste of Ferguson's holiday time.

    I believe, every once in a decade, United should have a season in which you give the youth a run-in and see if they can flourish, but if you bring talent from outside, you are delaying the process and you may never get the chance to try them again.

    Having said that, Gibson, Tosic, Ando and Kiko should be given plenty of opportunities .

  14. Reddy,

    Adebayor wanted to come to United and as you say he'd score 20 goals a season - Ronaldo was a pain in the arse, but it was worth it....

    We can agree to disagree over Barry and Adebayor - it doesn't matter..

    I agree about giving the kids a chance, but I think Fergie will live to regret his inactions this summer...

  15. Hmm, interesting stuff, never thought of Rooney as a complete central midfielder. Who knows maybe the next manager will have the courage to move him deeper the way Ancelotti did Pirlo.

    I was skeptical of Diaby and Song, but I knew little of them, I guess I'll watch him more closely from now on, Arsenal seem to be an exciting team right now.

    Theres still a week left in the transfer window so we can still hope against hope. The match on Saturday should be a cracker, I'm hoping that the central midfield is settled and can dominate or at least compete with Fabregas and Song, otherwise, we could be giving chances for them to dance around the defenders, not that Vidic and Evans are easily bypassed of course.

  16. Uday,

    Diaby is going to be better than Vieira, much better IMO.

    Don't know if you've read this but apparently Anderson could soon be history - he's had a big row with Fergie and Tosic could be loaned out too. It isn't looking too good is it?

  17. Ya, just came across it, definitely bad news. Maybe this will convince Ferguson to look into central midfield options in the market. Although it is unlikely. But really bad news though, given Carrick's omission from the Wigan squad too.

  18. We certainly should have one of the Galacticos!


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