Thursday, August 12, 2010

Eyebrows raised about Bebe signing fee....

With little money to spend on new players, news of United's latest signing has left pundits and supporters asking what is going on at Old Trafford, because the club has reportedly agreed to pay around £7.5m for an unproven Portuguese striker with no pedigree. 20 year-old Bebe is not an international and he's spent most of his time playing in the Portuguese third division. United have signed the 6ft 2" striker from Vitória de Guimarães.

Fergie signed Mame Biram Diouf in 2009 for an undisclosed fee and after recently telling the media that the Senegalese striker's future was assured at Old Trafford the club has subsequently sent the player out on loan to Blackburn; it remains to be seen what will happen to the former Molde striker. The jury is very much out on Diouf, but it's fair to suggest he hasn't done enough to impress United's backroom team otherwise he wouldn't now be a Blackburn player and chances are Bebe wouldn't have been signed.

The Angolan striker Manucho was another who recently came to Old Trafford and failed and he was subsequently sent packing on loan before being offloaded.

Reports claim United are said to be hopeful of signing Mesut Ozil and the transfer fee could be less than £12m. However, if United fail to land the Werder Bremen star due to lack of cash and Bebe fails to make the grade just like Manucho, then supporters will have every right to ask what the club are doing pursuing unproven players, especially when the club are paying relatively high amounts in some cases - that money could be put to better use...

If it came down to a choice between signing proven quality for reasonable transfer fees, or taking a chance on players like Bebe, then surely the sensible option would be to go for proven quality, but that isn't always the case right now at Old Trafford as the manager appears to be gambling with what little money he has at his disposal.

Bebe could of course prove to be a world-beater and no doubting that is why Ferguson is taking a gamble, but the United manager's strike record has been very patchy of late on the search for new talent with the exception of Chicharito who does look like excellent value.

The ones that got away from Fergie: Wesley Sneijder (15million Euros), Lucio (5million Euros), or Simon Kjaer for £11.5million.

Still available: Mesut Ozil (12 million Euros)


  1. In fairness that fee is press speculation and it will surely contain a lot of clauses to do with appearances, international appearances, and cups won at the club. It will not be £7m straight up - in fact I wouldn't be at all surprised if that includes a heafty chunk of his wages in that figure.

    We usually buy these as undisclosed as they are bought with so many clauses.

  2. You could well be right about the finances, and I'm sure everyone will be delighted if this proves to be good business; but if we fail to sign Ozil and the midfield is neglected that's another story.

  3. this chap can apparently play anywhere across the midfield and up front.

    However must say from the little that is out there in video form on the net, I am not overly impressed - but he definitely looks more of a creator than a scorer .

    But would still be keen on Ozil

  4. OAJP,

    We won't know how good (or bad) he is until he's given a chance, but if Manucho and Diouf are anything to go off then we might not even see him in the first team (much).

  5. OAJP is probably right with regards to the fee being made up appearence fee clauses and what not but all the media are reporting it as £7m rather than the undisclosed fee we are used to seeing.

    The Guardian are reporting that:
    'Bébé, 20, moved from Estrela da Amadora to Vitória de Guimãraes for an undisclosed fee five weeks ago, but, after only 45 minutes in his new club's colours, he was flown to Manchester yesterday to undergo a medical examination and finalise his transfer.'

    Hang on a minute... 45 minutes for this club... 5 weeks ago at a different club altogether... the whole thing sounds insane. Ok so you did well with Hernandez Fergie but c'mon. If the Ozil transfer doesnt happen then you have to wonder what the hell is going on in his head. Smalling was playing for maidstone just a few years back and this guy was playing lower league football in Portugal too.

    £20m has been spent on Diouf, Smalling and Bebe. None of them have any real experience.

    Stupid thing is Fergie should take a leaf out of Steve McClarens book. Hes signed Simon Kjaer for a good price and is interested in Diego from Juventus... he should offer Fergie some transfer advice.
    Id take Kjaer and Ozil over the 3 players I mentioned before in a heartbeat.

    I still think Fergie will play one up front in a large number of games next season - why does he feel the need to bring in even more unproven strikers?

  6. Dave,

    I have to agree with you on all points; what is going on in Ferguson's head? That £20m is a lot of money right now.

  7. We definitely haven't seen the back of Diouf in my opinion.

    I think he just needs a year elsewhere to get up to speed. He has now been ingrained in the United way. So where better to send him than up the road

  8. Again with Smalling it will all be in future appearances etc - it was also undisclosed

    Will also look a bargain if he does develop into a Rio style defender - then we won't be banging out £30m on him.

    Think he doesn't need much play this season as Rio, Vida, Evans, and Brown will have CB sewn up - therefore he can play against the lesser lights and develop watching Rio in training (hopefully not injured all year)

  9. OAJP,

    Not sure I agree with you on Diouf.
    In fact I'd put money on him being sold within 12 months - just call it a gut feeling.

    You've either got it or you haven't (think Hernandez) but sometimes Fergie et al aren't 100% sure and of late he's been gambling on the said players potential.

    BTW, I'd put money on Welbeck being sold too.

  10. OAJP,

    With regards to Smalling. Dave points to his lack of experience and yet for the same money we could have signed Simon Kjaer who is class and has bags more experience; so why gamble on Smalling when Fergie could have signed a rising young international who has played in Serie A at the age of just 19?

  11. That is to do with this new squad system of homegrown players. I would argue. Smalling being a brit is a massive advantage and I think we will see the premium on british players going through the roof in the next few years. Esp. when you consider Chelsea and City are going to struggle to fill their squads.

    Also I felt Kjaer had an indifferent world cup - good distribution, defending a bit all over the place - v. similar to Smalling.

    I would rather British players anyway.

  12. Brit or no Brit, if Smalling turns out to be a poor defender it will be money wasted. But I happen to agree with you about Kjaer's defending at the World Cup - it wasn't the best. Nonetheless, I would have gone for the Dane personally.

  13. I actually believe the $7 million is a straight up fee that united have paid i.e. without any appearance/performance clauses.

    I say this because united paid for Bebe by buying out his contract using the buy out clause in his 5 week pre-existing contract. Buy out clauses (that I know of) don't tend to have any clauses.

    So I agree with James that Fergie in gambling silly money in the hopes of unearthing a gem.

    Gambling with some of the youth coming out of the academy by giving them a run of games, I can understand...but $7 million on a complete unknown? It's scary. Scarier still is that the videos on the net of Bebe are scarce and not all that convincing.

    As far as the midfield is concerned I'm hoping Anderson comes good this season - on his good day he can run circles round cesc and gerrard (consistency/confidence on the other hand....)

    But Fergie does have this uncanny ability of making me eat my words... which i will gladly do if bebe turns out to be the next big thing.

  14. Reyals,

    That's a very good point about United buying out his contract. Personally, based on what we know I think it's totally and utterly ridiculous. But like you say Fergie has made a habit of getting it right on so many occasions. Time will tell.

  15. What bugs me the most about the Bebe thing isnt the stupid amount of money spent on a player nobody has heard of but that we could have had him at a fraction of that 5 weeks earlier! He played 45 minutes for his new club were those 45 minutes so amazing that we just had to have him! I seriously doubt it.

    The guy was playing low league football in Portugal which in itself isnt one of the top leagues in european football. It would be like if AC Milan bought a kid from Yeovil Town for 7 million!

    Regarding the comments about Kjaer - he didnt have a good world cup but then Denmark themselves were pretty poor. I know from the months I spent in Denmark late last year that they highly rate him and reckon he will be their star defender for the next 12+ years... then again they all believe Bendtner to be world class so what do they know! :p

  16. I think we can dismiss that Sir Alex doesn't have the funds available to him. Spending near £30m on 'unproven players' doesn't exactly show the signs of a cash strapped club.

    What I would question is our need for another striker. That's the eighth on our books (albeit two are now on loan), and I would assume the pecking current order would be; Rooney, Berbatov, Hernandez, Owen, Macheda, Bebe. Unless Sir Alex doesn't 100% believe in Welbeck's abiltity another striker would not have been bought. Diouf is another issue altogether and I think the loan spell at Blackburn will do him the world of good.

    As for Ozil, we need to accept that there are a number of clubs interested in acquiring his services and perhaps Manchester United is not his first choice. Bremen have almost issued an ultimatum today, by saying that they will field their strongest side in their Champions League play-off against Sampadoria. Of course, if he does play he will be cup-tied. So if Ozil is to move this summer, expect the deal to be done before that match.

    On a final note, I'd like to say that I for one trust Sir Alex Ferguson's judgement, and if he was willing to buy Bebe then I stand buy it. Let's at least give him a chance to show what he can do in the United red before we judge him as a player.

  17. Dave,

    You have raised a very good point here about the timing - it simply does not make any smacks of dodgy dealing.

  18. Anon,

    I think you're right about Welbeck but I differ with you with regards to Diouf - because IMO he isn't good enough either hence the club putting him out on loan.

    IF Diouf was the real deal he'd be staying put to fight it out with Hernandez who clearly is good enough - so the point is this: there is an element of doubt about Diouf - there has to be...

  19. James,

    I think the difference between Welbeck and Diouf is that Welbeck has already been given some sort of chance, and he was also loaned out to Preston for the end of last season.

    Whenever I have seen Diouf, however, he has looked sharp, lively and a good target man. I really think he offers us something different up front. He had a more than decent goal record in Norway and I just have a feeling that we haven't quite seen the last of him in a United jersey. Let's not forget that he was our best player for the reserves last season, even though he played his first game in January.

  20. Anon,

    To be honest with you I haven't seen an awful lot of Diouf, but what I have seen hasn't impressed me that much. He doesn't look to have any sort of presence (think Didier Drogba or Torres). He looks to me to be just another average striker - the sort of striker we've seen cast aside by the likes of City umpteen times over the last few seasons. In order to stand any chance of making it as a striker at a club like United being good isn't good enough. Look at Berbatov - the guy came to OT with a big reputation but he's simply not up to it.

    While I have my doubts about Diouf, I think Hernandez has something and I thought the same about Macheda initially, but he appears to have gone backwards and dare I say he's lost a yard of pace... they say his celebrity lifestyle might have affected him ie gone to his head etc.

  21. Well, he has only made 5 league appearances AND has come from another country, where the standard of football is considerably lower. Maybe I am easily impressed, or maybe you are hard to impress. Let's see how he does on his loan spell this season.

    As for Berbatov, I'm a very big admirer and let's just get a few things straight. Firstly, he did not ask for the £30 million price tag, as many seem to judge him by. Fact of the matter is, he was a £20m player which Tottenham milked us for, a la Carrick for £18.6m. I rate Berbatov as the most technically gifted player in our squad, and much of what he does really goes unnoticed. There were countless number of occasions last term where he would feed Valencia, Valencia would cross it in to Rooney and the ball would end up in the back of the net. His languid style is often criticised, but he was like this at Tottenham and Sir Alex was aware of this. I think him and Hernandez would be the best striking PARTNERSHIP at United this season. It's a very similar partnership to the successful Keane-Berbatov one at Spurs. And let's not forget how well he played alongside Owen in the Carling Cup Final. I think Berbatov will deliver the goods more often this season.

    As for Macheda, I think you're right, he hasn't handled the whole 'superstar' thing very well. Hernandez looks the part and my question marks about his size/strenght no longer remain.

  22. Anon,

    With regards to Diouf, as I've already stated, being a good player isn't enough at a club like United - in order to be a regular starting striker you have to be outstanding; that isn't my opinion, it's a matter of fact.

    I doubt Diouf, Macheda or Welbeck will make it. Hernandez has a chance.

    Regarding Berbatov, he simply doesn't do enough for the team. His biggest single problem is that he clearly believes he's better than he actually his.

    Unlike Rooney and even the late great George Best, Berbatov doesn't track back and work for the teamm - hell, I've even seen Cantona making goal-line clearances when he was our last man.

    Berbatov will not be our most important striker, nor will he be paired with Chicharito as the first-choice strikers - not a on regular basis IMO. Once Rooney gets into the groove Berbatov will be on the bench again like he was last season. Like Carrick, if the club had received a decent offer for Berbatov he would be history now, but we haven't received acceptable offers for either.

    I will agree Berbatov is the most technically gifted, but you have to balance that against his lack of work ethic.

    Berbatov is unlikely to ever be accepted by the majority of the Red Army for the reasons outlined here, but yes, he divides opinion among some fans.


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