Friday, May 07, 2010

Not a hope in hell of Fergie signing "Spurs top targets"....

The election might be nearly done and dusted, but the really big questions are still to be resolved: That is who will Fergie sign this summer and who will he be off-loading?

As we head into the final weekend of Premier League fixtures, the tabloids are cranking up the transfer speculation. It was ever thus.

It's a curious aspect of creative sports journalism that we the public are subjected to reams of what amounts to blatant lies, in relation to the futures of those lucky enough to don the shirts of our favourite football club and those with reported aspirations of a move to Old Trafford, aka Gods Green Acre.

Ferguson refers to this part of the year as the 'silly season' and for good reason. Rooney has been linked with a move to Real Madrid several times, but that particular story has now been played down by the offending "newspapers". Needless to say, in time honoured fashioned, it will be dusted down again in the not too distant future.

For his part, Fergie has hinted there will be changes this summer, but he's played down the prospect of any big money moves, but he did say he'd pay £60M to bring Ronaldo back to Old Trafford. It's quite easy for Fergie to say such things, but in reality there's more chance of the BNP winning the election. It simply isn't going to happen.

Going off recent transfer activity, United fans shouldn't expect any big money moves. Fergie has been shopping at the lower end of the market, when signing Chris Smalling, Miram Diouf and Javier Hernandez. If any of these players actually go on to really make an impact at Old Trafford then it will be case of all credit to Fergie and his scouting staff.

It would be totally ridiculous to write off the aforementioned trio at this juncture, but you wonder if Fergie's eye is on the ball with regards to scouting, because there has been bargains to be had. Bayen Munich's Ivica Olic is just one goal behind Messi in the list of Champions League scorers.

Interestingly, one of Fergie's reported "top targets" doesn't even feature on that list of goal-scorers: I refer to Karim Benezma who has an impending court date in relation to liasons with an under age escort girl. The court date has conveniently been postponed until after France's World Cup campaign and so you do wonder if there's a very real prospect of the Real Madrid striker going to jail for up to three years...

Fergie should have spotted the potential of Wesley Sneijder who was sold on the cheap to Inter Milan for just 15m Euros. Sneijder would have been the perfect long-term replacement for Scholes and of course United had the perfect opportunity to make their move when the club was negotiating Ronaldo's future. United could have asked for first option to sign Sneijder, but we didn't, instead Jose Mourinho gobbled him for peanuts.

On the domestic front, Joe Cole could be on the move. The England star will be seriously hot property this summer given he's out of contract, but the latest news is Cole fancies a move to Spurs.

If we are to believe the tabloids, the Northern London club could once again be the focus of Fergie's transfer attention. Luka Modric and Gareth Bale are both reportedly on Fergie's radar; it would be no surprise if this was actually true, however, the notion that Fergie would pay £50m for the pair is surely wide of the mark. But, it wouldn't be the first time Spurs have held United over a barrel...

Berbatov signed for United two summers ago for £30m and Fergie was forced to include Frazier Campbell in the deal. Tottenham, signed Berbatov from Bayer Leverkusen for just £11m, here again Fergie could have saved United £20m if he'd made his move for the Bulgarian earlier.

United were also held to ransom when we signed Michael Carrick, once again Daniel Levy trousered a small fortune from the champions.

So United and Spurs have recent transfer history and there's no doubt the London club have done quite well out of both deals, but on the pitch, so have United up until now... The latest talk suggests Fergie would be willing to offer Carrick and Berbatov back to their former club, presumably for knockdown prices as part of a deal that would see Modric and Bale moving in the opposite direction. Bale more or less single-handedly destroyed Arsenal and Chelsea and it is easy to see why Modric interests the United manager - he retains and uses the ball well.

Spurs have this week qualified for next season's Champions League; if they hadn't it would have enhanced Fergie's slim hopes of pulling off a major double swoop. The fact is Spurs will now be looking to strengthen, added to which Bale has signed a new deal today.

United fans can rule out any prospect of Modric or Bale signing this summer and there's huge question marks about Benzema.

Let us hope then that Fergie has done his homework, but going off recent missed opportunities, that must be in some doubt. One thing is for certain, United need to bring in at least three top quality signings - if that doesn't happen we could see the club slipping out of next season's top four.

IT is all well and good that Scholes, Giggs and Neville signed those new deals, but they represent the past and not the future and contrary to Fergie's spin, the required quality for the future simply isn't there at the moment.

Fergie has much work to do this summer if United are going to mount a serious challenge on all fronts next season. United need a new striker, a central midfield player, aa central defender and you can throw in a 'keeper too, but the latter can wait.

My predictions.

Berbatov to move to Italy for an undisclosed fee.
Carrick to move to Everton or some other mid-ranking Premier League club for less than £10m.
United will not sign a world class striker, instead Fergie will go with Macheda and Hernandez (subject to a work permit being granted).

The net result will be the transfer money from the sale of Carrick and Berbatov will end up in the same place as the Ronaldo money, ie, it will be used to pay off a small chunk of the Glazers huge debts.

In summary, it is going to be a summer of concern when looking ahead to next season, that is unless Fergie has REALLY done his homework and he pulls one or two rabbits out of the transfer hat...


  1. I doubt that Tottenham will let any important cogs in their wheels go now. Any chance we would then go for a Milner or Tim Cahill who come from clubs that may be willing to part with them for the right price?

  2. It is a concern that our club who has constantly challenge for top honors don't have money to buy players without selling players. It's a disappointing season to be honest with a Carling Cup to show. I hope we don't buy tottenham players as they might appear to have cost us plenty and quality wise is not looking as good as it looks. I hope we can buy one creative midfielder, defensive midfielder (hope Hargreaves will be back.) A goalkeeper can wait. A striker is a must if not we will be looking blank with Rooney being exhausted from World Cup. I don't see how Hernandes being first team. Macheda does look to be in the frame but he needs to work more on his overall play and build more strength to hold off defenders. If we can get cash from Berbatov and Carrick, we might be looking good to buy other good players as i feel both of them can never feel proud of their performances this season.

  3. Yikes, as a United fan, this would worrying. Not that I don't trust the manager, but it would be nice to have a second big time goal scorer. I believe Kiko can become that, but he's still so young.

  4. Evgenni,

    Milner and Cahill are not what United need IMO.

  5. KK,

    IF Fergie doesn't make the right signings this summer and he sells Carrick and Berbatov, I guarantee we will finish outside of the top four next season. You can remind me if I'm wrong..

  6. @ Jame Ryddel

    To be honest mate, you have embarrassed me as a United fan. I bet you said the same thing when we sold Van Niestelrooy (spelling?) and didn't sign a 2nd striker, yet we wet to win the league the season. You probably said the same at the start of this season?

    I bet if you have that much knowledge inside your little brain surely YOU should be United's ext manager?

    Have faith, Fergie KNOWS what he is doing, the greatest manager that has EVER lived.


  7. James, but I've been following your blog religiously over the past few months, and it might just be me, but I find you markedly pessimistic about United's chances, be it in any big game, or generally looking into the future. I don't think losing Carrick and Berbatov would mean we finish outside the top four. It would take a minor miracle for a Fergie-led United team to finish outside of the top four (FYI, It's never happened!!), such is the doggedness and relentless of the man, that transpires onto the most ordinary player on the pitch and makes him play out of his skin week-in week-out.

    As regards summer transfers, I'm firmly of the opinion that Carrick and Berba need to be offloaded. Carrick need not necessarily be replaced, considering we have Hargo coming back, and Anderson waiting for a return. As for replacing Berbatov, I don't think we need to spend big. Someone like Agbonlahor would be the perfect replacement, could play up front on his own too, or as a support striker with Rooney. They do have a common style of playing, but can be grafted into the same setup to give us a renewed attacking force for the next season, so that we don't have to rely as much on Giggsy all the time.

  8. United wont slip out of the top four for a very long time, your short sightedness shows your lack of knowledge of the club from the grass roots upwards. Were far from slipping out of the top four by any means, in fact other teams better be wary of our depth from the reserves upwards. Had it not been for injuries and some bad luck at the wrong times then we would of walked this season easily.
    God we only got knocked out of Europe because a young player lacked the cool calm head of a older player. As for future signings, Benzema is a defo no, he turned us down once already!
    Im looking forward to next season with the mix of youth and the experience of Giggs and Scholes leading them forward.

    MUFC forever...

  9. I highly doubt the signing of Gareth Bale. No disrespect to the lad but we've a solid defensive unit as it is. With Wes, O'Shea and Fabio returning to fitness and the addition of Chris Smalling this summer, it wouldnt make sense for Fergie to sign the hyped up Bale.

    Alex did mention in his notes against Spurs that he rated Modric as an exceptional player but with them securing Champions League next season, I doubt he would have reason to join us.

    It seems the media are shoving big name signings down our throats when really, we've the likes of more than capable Hargo and Ando to return. You say we need a quality defensive and attacking midfielder, well there you go.
    Roll on next season..

  10. Im a big fan of Milner, you dont think he could be a successor to Scholes?
    David Silva would be great too but with competition from Madrid, Barca and probably Chelsea and City you can forget it.

    The sad thing is we are on a downward slide and you can point at the Glazers for it. I cant see Fergie getting the money he needs to buy proven quality players to strengthen the squad.
    Hernandez, Diouf, Smalling, Obertan, Tosic, Welbeck, Gibson - I cant see them doing anything at United and then get flogged off a few years later for a fraction of the money. All the signings remind me of Manuchu and the young players like Campbell... We spent a lot of money on Tosic, Obertan, Smalling, Diouf and Hernandez and its a huge mistake in my eyes.

  11. Luke,

    I predicted Chelsea would win the league this season at the outset and regarding RVN, he had to be sold, so I agreed with Fergie on that score.

    But when you sell a top striker you replace them; on that note, Fergie fucked up the Tevez deal when opting to sign Berbatov and if he'd done the right thing and sorted out the Tevez deal first then we'd have won the title this season. How many goals has Tevez scored this season?

    Fergie has been a great manager but he does make mistakes. Unlike other blogs, I don't blow smoke up the manager's arse. I write it as I see it.

  12. Abhilash Sarangi,

    I'm not negative all of the time, I like to think I'm honest.

    Regarding my comments about finishing outside of the top four next season, that was on the basis of the manager NOT bringing in three top quality players. I stand by that prediction... and please do remind me if I'm wrong.

    I agree with that Berbatov and Carrick have to go; neither of them are United players - and Fergie spent nearly £50m to bring them to Old Trafford.... what a big waste of money that was!

    Regarding Agbonlahor, if you read this blog as often as you say you then you'd know I'd posted he might be a decent signing this season. In summary, we appear to agree on many issues.

  13. Dave,

    I don't know what to make of Fergie's recent transfer dealings. Last week he said that the future of Smalling, Diouf and Hernadez is guaranteed. Has Fergie been smoking his crack pipe? Because two of them haven't yet kicked a ball for the club yet - how can he be so sure?

    Regarding money; just maybe Fergie is starting to lose his nerve having wasted £50m on Berbatov and Carrick? We will be lucky to recoup half of that outlay...

    The current squad is going nowhere fast, we have stood still this season in terms of player development and of course Giggs, Scholes, Neville and VDS are all a year older.

    I agree with you in short.

  14. Sofa King,

    Well I bow to your superior knowledge of the club. When you get a minute perhaps you can list the players from the reserves who are going to break into the team this coming season and make a real impact, because we haven't seen any of them this season.

    Please do come back next this time next season and remind me if I'm wrong.

    IF Fergie doesn't pull his finger out this summer in the transfer market we WILL struggle to finish in the top four.

  15. Dave,

    Milner isn't what United imo. But I have to admit I dont make a habit of watching Villa. You're not on your own though, because I've heard a few people talking highly about him of late. Perhaps if he does well at the World Cup (if selected) then I might change my mind.

  16. Saif,

    Bale plays more of an attacking role these days, he's not been used as a defender from what I've seen of late. It doesn't matter anyway as he isn't coming to OT.

  17. I agree with you. We have to sell Berbatov and Carrick but also make some good signings. 3 top players is needed. The fact that Giggs, Scholes and Neville a year older delays the time to make purchase of top players, it's a bare fact that we need some top signings. Imagine those 3 golden generation players retired, by then we are so short because last summer, we haven't replace them. It's a matter of time we need to replace them and the fact they carry on only delays the problem and never solved it. This hasn't solved the Berbatov and Carrick problems too. Another problem with our Goalkeeper area too. With so much debt, it's looking so less hope of the future.

  18. Kel,

    United stood still last season in terms of development; we did well mainly because the standard at the top has fallen.

    Fergie needs to pull his finger out. However, I honestly believe he's lost his way on transfers and dare I say lost some confidence about his own judgement.

    The £50m double signing of Carrick and Berbatov hasn't been a disaster but it hasn't proven to be money well spent.

    This I believe is why fergie is now taking a more cautious route when signing players with no real pedigree. Chris Smalling was a none league player two years ago. Diouf isn't going to make it - despite Fergie saying last week his future at the club is assured (go figure?) and of course Hernandez is a young latino he might not settle in England.

    I honestly believe Fergie doesn't know who he should sign at present; he should have moved to sign Sneijder, but I doubt he was even on Fergie's radar.. which if true, should concern us all IMO.

  19. I think we all know when Fergie talks about no resale value. He is talking about Berbatov because he wants to sell but no value is for him consider his age. I think Carrick is alright for the first few season and for his price at least he contribute better than Berbatov. Fergie is ashamed to sell Berbatov being afraid of the rest saying he had make a mistake in signing him. I do feel strange with all those new youngster not kicking a ball yet, their future is secured? Then we can safely say that our reserve and youth team is better than those newly signed as they have play for United. I don't dare say that because of the debt, we could not compete in the market. But there surely is a restriction to increase the wages by the debt.

  20. Fergie dropped the ball on the Ronaldo sale. We had the perfect bargaining chip, we could have taken Sneijder, Robben, Huntelaar and a whole lot of cash. Just checking the amounts paid for them on wikipedia (sorry for the fees in euros). Ronaldo sold for €94m, Sneijder, Robben, Huntelaar sold for a combined amount of about €55m. Had we signed those players then we would be looking forward to watching our team play in the champions league final again and celebrating another premiership title win.
    Sneijder and Robben have been the star players for Inter and Bayern this season, and we could have had first dibs on them. Ok so Huntelaar hasent been great since he left Ajax but I see a lot of Van Basten in him, really think he could be lethal in the prem. Ronaldo leaving was always going to be tough on us but we were in a great bargaining position.
    Whats worrying is how many positions we actually need to work on. Just reading various blogs and forums people are talking about signing a new keeper, new centre back to cover Rio, new defensive midfielder to cover Hargo, new creative centre midfielder to replace Scholes, decent proven left winger, new striker to replace Berba... thats quite a list of positions at the club that need to be looked at.

  21. Dave,

    I agree with most of that, but like I say, perhaps most worrying of all is the fact that Fergie didn't try to sign (or spot the potential) those very obvious targets.

  22. Andy,

    It's pretty clear that you're a big fan, but no matter what we think Fergie will decide and it will be interesting to see happens this summer...


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