Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ferguson's 'money to spend' claims will soon be put to the test...

United are in the process of making their first signing of the January transfer window, no disrespect, but few will have heard of Chris Smelling prior to this week. It could well turn out to be another masterstroke signing by the manager - only time will tell if the Fulham defender will go on to prove he is worthy of wearing a United shirt.

However, with so much concern about the future of Manchester United in relation to the club's massive debts and with speculation surrounding the future of several big star names, sooner or later Ferguson is going to have backup his claims that he has money to spend by making several impact signings.

United are not renowned for making significant signings in the January transfer window, but it's true that Ferguson signed Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra back in January 2006 and the following year he swooped for Henrik Larsson in the same month.

The current season has been blighted by injuries to key defenders, so much so that Rio Ferdinand's future at the top level is being questioned. For slightly different reasons the future of fans' favourite Nemanja Vidic has also been the subject to speculation, but in his case it is amidst claims that Ferguson is resigned to losing the Serbian to Real Madrid this summer.

The official line is Vidic currently out with a ’nerve injury', but you do wonder if the manager has seen his backside with the player and has subsequently sent him to Coventry. It's well documented that no one crosses Ferguson; those that do quickly find themselves heading out of the Old Trafford exit door. Even big stars like Roy Keane and Ruud Van Nistelrooy were victims of that fate.

Nani recently spoke to the press about the way he's been 'treated' by the manager, not surprisingly, he too has been out on the sidelines, again we have been told he has been injured, but it would surprise no one if in this case the word 'injury' is in fact a euphemism for being dropped due to what the manager views as indiscretions. Nani's appearances are becoming more and more limited, his is a proverbial bit-part player, it is surely just a matter of time before he is sold.

The future of Wayne Rooney has also been questioned and the player has been linked to Real Madrid and Barcelona. The fans' have grown wary of denials from rivals and star players alike; surely no one needs reminding of the Ronaldo saga and so we cannot totally rule out that Rooney could be sold - especially given the Glazer family are desperately trying to keep their debt laden ship afloat.

But for the sale of Ronaldo and subsequent banking of that £80m transfer fee, United would have made a loss last season. Having already been knocked out of the FA Cup and possibly the Carling Cup too depending on tonight's result, the picture isn't looking too rosy on the domestic cup front.

It remains to be seen how the season will pan out; the chances of United winning either the Premier League or Champions League pretty much rest on the shoulders of Rooney up front and a defence that has been nothing short of calamitous of late. United badly need Vidic and Ferdinand to return to full fitness and only then will they stand any chance of securing one of the big prizes.

As for Ferguson and his dubious claims about money to spend, the manager will not be able to get by with 'make do' signings if Vidic is sold and Ferdinand fails to recover from his continued injury problems.

Selling Rooney is at this moment in time unthinkable. But with so many problems in the back four, not to mention central midfield and the lack of support for Rooney up front, Ferguson will sooner or later have to spend big or else come clean and admit his hands are tied. The manager has so far done a good job for his paymasters, but what many fans' see as a charade on behalf of Ferguson and his continued 'money to spend claims' could well soon come to a crashing end. The clock is ticking, and in more ways than one.

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