Wednesday, May 26, 2010

No money to spend: It's time for Fergie to think outside the box and play Rafael in midfield...

Ferguson would dearly love to strengthen his squad this summer, despite his comments about lack of value in the market. The problem being, Ferguson's hands are tide, the manager has little room to manoeuvre due to the awful financial situation at the club following the debt laden acquisition by the Glazer family.

United need to sign three or four top quality players this summer: Fergie needs a central midfield player - someone who can take over from Scholes; the manager is also in desperate need of a goal-scorer, someone who will take some of the burden off the shoulders of Wayne Rooney. You can add a goalkeeper and a centre half to Fergie's shopping list.

With little money to spend what can the manager do? The answer is make better use of the players who are already at his disposal. Here's a question for United fans, who out of the following is the better footballer: Fletcher, Carrick or Rafael da Silva?

The answer is blindingly obvious: It has to be Rafael and yet our glorious leader plays him at full-back. It is a waste of the young Brazilian's many talents. Rafael, can do it all: he can pass, tackle, shoot and run all day long.

If we are to believe tabloid speculation, Carrick could soon be sold; that is providing another club is willing to pay United's asking price which could prove to be a problem, because Fergie paid far too much to bring him to Old Trafford. United could well be looking at a £10m loss on any Carrick deal.

So Carrick and Berbatov could still be at the club next season, if that is the case, like the season just gone, United are in serious danger of standing still in terms of first-team development. Fergie and his players are going to have to work harder and importantly the manager must get more out of those already at the club; Rafael and possibly Fabio da Silva could be provide part of the answer in midfield.

Rafael hasn't blossomed yet and his attacking style is more suited to running at defences rather than being restricted to defensive duties. Rafael could be a revelation in midfield - if only he's given a chance.

Carrick simply isn't good enough and as much as the fans love a runner like Fletcher, his distribution lets him down. Fergie recently suggested he was going to rely on the young players who've been developing at the club; next season the manager needs to back up that talk with action, he could start by playing Rafael in midfield.


  1. Interesting theory.
    Do you think he has the strength and build to cut it in the midfield tho?

  2. I agree with the assessment of Rafael as a possible midfielder. He would , however have to improve his temperament. he clearly cost us a place in the Champions League Semi Final with his rash sending off, and has looked suspect on other occasions. This being said, it is harder to put the "fight into the dog" than take it out. His brother Fabio is regarded more of a midfield player. He surely is more talented than Gibson. Give him a go during pre-season.

  3. When you say 'playing rafael in midfield',surely you don't mean as a central midfielder right?

  4. u r kidding right??..."fletcher's distribution is poor"..????? u sure u wactched united all term???

  5. Dave,

    IF you compare Rafael to someone like Xavi then yes I think he could certainly cut it in midfield. United need players who can retain the ball, pass it well and tackle. Rafael is technically better than Fletcher and Carrick. IF and it's a big IF, Hargreaves makes a full recovery, I'd look to ditch Fletcher (bench) and Carrick (offload) and play with Rafael, Hargreaves, Schole and possibly Fabio. IF we've learnt anything over the last two seasons in the Champions League it is that we don't retain possession of the ball well enough. That and we don't have the know-how where defending a lead is concerned. We lost the Champions League semi-final because of naive defending - leaving Robben unmarked on the edge of the box was a mistake of criminal proportions.

  6. Firstcoastrealtor.

    See my comments about the semi final in my reply to Dave. I think Rafael was extremely unlucky in that semi-final, because the referee booked him for retaliation (ie the second offence) when he'd been fouled on the first booking. Then Rafael was booked for the first offence against Ribery and the referee ignored Ribery's retaliation. I'd also like to add that Rafael started the move which led to our first goal when he robbed Ribery and he had a hand in another.

    Regarding Fabio - I honestly haven't seen a lot, but I've heard good reports and I've seen enough of Carrick and Fletcher to know they aren't good enough at retaining possession. Fergie needs to shake things up in the engine room with a view to playing to our strengths, ie keeping the ball on the deck and not losing it.

    As with Pique I think there's a very real danger United will lose the twins if they aren't given more opportunities...

    I totally agree on Gibson, he's too slow and too one-paced. I'd sell him tomorrow.

  7. admufc,

    Yes, that is what I'm advocating.

  8. surja,

    I have been watching United since 1969 and I see most game. No, I'm not kidding. Fletcher is a very average player. He can run all day long, but that doesn't make you the ideal central midfield player.

    I seriously doubt Fletcher would get in Chelsea's midfield.

  9. The combination of his temperament, his Gung-Ho style of defending and lack of positional awareness would cause big problems. I don't think he's a realistic alternative to the central midfielder position. Fletcher, Carrick, Anderson, Hargreaves, Scholes, Giggs, Gibson are all way better in this position due to their vision, positioning and general use of the ball. If anything, the twins could do a decent job on either wing, but I'd never consider them as central midfielders. Hell, even Rio would be a better fit.

  10. Matthew,

    Rafael isn't gung-ho, he was very unlucky to be sent off against Bayern (read my replies). He's technically better than Carrick and Fletcher in aspects of football skills.

  11. He can be as technical he wants compared to Fletcher and Carrick, that will not help him as a central midfielder unless he learns to position himself better on the pitch. In addition, his way of crossing the ball is of far better use out wide, because of the way he "whips" the ball in. His vision leaves a lot to be desired, and he'll have a tough time winning headers in the central areas. Have you even considered who should be our first choice right back, if you insist on using Rafael as a midfielder instead of the natural ones?

  12. Matthew,

    I happen to believe Rafael is wasted at fullback, his natural attacking instincts make him more suited to an advanced position. Time will tell, but I predict he will end up in midfield, be that at United or elsewhere. Carrick tackles poorly, but his passing is better than Fletcher. IMO Rafael can do better than both of them.

    Rafael started out as a winger.

  13. I was never a fan of Fletcher. It was actually the champions league final against barca that changed my opinion of him... found myself wishing the guy was playing and since then I have warmed to the idea of him being our best central midfielder. I wouldnt say that was down to footballing ability but more down to his attitude and that he does work his ass off and give 100% commitment when hes on the field.

    I guess Raphael in the midfield could happen but I think Fergie still sees a future where we have Fabio on the left and Raphael on the right but with O'Shea, Brown and Neville all up for the right back spot then maybe we could experiment with it - couldnt be any worse than Carrick!!

  14. Dave,

    I agree. Regarding Fletcher missing out on the CL final, you are right, but that still doesn't make him a world-beater. He wouldn't hold down a regular starting place in Chelsea's midfield of that I'm certain.

    Fletcher loses the ball too much that is his single biggest fault. The rest of his game isn't too bad, he chips in some important goals and his work-rate is first-class, but his distribution lets him down a lot.

  15. Rafael in midfield would mean his toughening up considerably. It would take time and Im not sure if Fergie will do that, another club maybe.

    Also, I'd like to say that if Fletcher does not possess adequate distribution skills as you say, he has worked himself into an important player for us. I think you'll agree his harrying and energy has been vital to United on many occasions last two seasons. What he lacks in ability he makes up through his desire.


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