Friday, August 20, 2010

Mesut Ozil, another one who got away - same old, same old...

Manchester United are without doubt one of the biggest club's in the world, but when it comes to attracting the finest players on the market the Red Devils have struggled at times to persuade the really top stars to come to Old Trafford.

Earlier this week Mesut Ozil became the latest big name player to snub United, when instead the Werder Bremem midfield man opted to join Real Madrid. Ozil was one of the few standout players at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and it wasn't surprising that the German had the pick of Europe's biggest clubs. The only real surprise was the knockdown transfer fee, Madrid eventually signed him for just £11.5m, the equivalent of loose change at Eastlands these days.

United have signed some big name stars in the past, but usually when there's been little competition for the said players signature. Juan Sebastian Veron only came to England because of the passport scandal which led to him leaving Italian football. Ruud Van Nistelrooy also joined the club in 2001 along with Veron, but at the time there was little serious competition for the player's signature.

There was one notable exception, because in 1998, Jaap Stam became the then expensive Dutch footballer in history and the most expensive defender in history, when Fergie bought him for £10.6 m. At that time, Stam was the Dutch player of the year and so there would have been many suitors.

While Ferguson may well have missed out on some big name players, he's also dug up some real diamonds. Eric Cantona came to United pretty much as a cast-off; the then Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson couldn't really handle the player, the rest is history...

Then we have the legend that is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the former Molde striker was plucked from relative obscurity and went on to become one of United's all time great players. The same can be said of Peter Schmeichel, the 'great Dane' is without doubt the finest 'keeper the Premier League has seen since its conception.

Despite his problems in the transfer market when chasing down the really hot players, Ferguson has done a remarkable job and hopefully the Scot will continue to make excellent signings. Javier Hernandez looks as though he has the ability to succeed; the fact that the Mexican speaks English is a big bonus. However, for the time being the jury is out on the player known as Chicharito and the same can be said of Chris Smalling who was signed from Fulham.

The most bizarre signing for many a long year has to be Bebe, because Ferguson has let it be known - perhaps unwisely - that he'd never seen the player in action, not even on TV or on DVD. The 20-year-old Portuguese striker was signed for a fee of £7.4m. Bebe, has according to Fergie, been signed purely on recommendation, if that is true, then the United manager must have complete confidence in his scouting staff. It is to hoped Fergie wasn't referring to same scouts who unearthed Eric Djemba-Djemba...

The ones who got away:
Karim Benzema
Wesley Sneijder
Mesut Ozil
Alan Shearer (his biggest mistake ever...)
Paul Gascoigne (...ditto)

United's next match:
Sunday, 4pm kick-off.
Venue: Craven Cottage.
On the box: Sky Sports 1

Recent away history against Fulham:
Premier League
Fulham 3-0 Manchester United

Premier League
Fulham 2-0 Manchester United
FA Cup
Fulham 0-4 Manchester United

Premier League
Fulham 0-3 Manchester United

Fulham vs Manchester United, see the latest free bet offers.


  1. erm, you do know that he's being paid €5 million a year net. And for united to pay him that they'd have to pay him nearly £180,000 a week. That's more than wayne rooney.

  2. Colm,

    That's a lot of money (if true) I have the figure nearer £157547 per week - nice work if you can get it. But you're right, no way could United match that.

  3. It appears as if United never made any sort of official bid and backed off fully when Madrid waded in. We wouldnt have had a chance with them sniffing around but the whole thing was strung out for months. Could have tied this deal up weeks before Madrid got involved.

    Real dont really need him - its almost a case of getting him while his value was low just for the sake of getting a bargain.
    I guess this means that Van Der Vaart (If I have spelt that right - cba to check) could be on his way out and we may be interested. Better than nothing I guess although I dont really see how he would strengthen our first choice team and thats what we should have been working on this season, not wasting stupid money on squad players like Smalling and Bebe.

  4. Dave,

    I couldn't agree with you more.

    My take is United have been stringing the fans along with a series of leaks to the press like "we are hoping to sign him for free etc etc".

    I fear we will live to regret wasting £7.4m on Bebe and I really have no idea what has gone on there and you could be right about Smalling too.

  5. Couldn't agree more. I still can't come to terms with the fact that we spent over half of Ozil's price tag on Oliver Twist.

    van der Vaart, perhaps?

  6. On a brighter note, I am hoping that Fergie's refusal to sign a big name might be a sign of his faith in Cleverley.

  7. I do agree that signing Bebe may come back to haunt us. We've not been successful in the recent past when it comes to signing kids with very little experience at a decent level (e.g. Possebon-sold, Manucho-sold). When buying youth, much rather buy players who've played in a decent league (Nani, Ronaldo) or at least have some international experience (Hernandez).
    On the subject of Ozil, I don't think we could have tied it up if we stepped in a few weeks ago, I think he would have certainly waited for Real/Barca. Sure, we fail to compete with Real/Barca when it comes to signing top players and that probably has a lot to do with their growing up years. Kids in France/Germnay are certainly more likely to follow a Spanish club than an English one, and like a lot of players in the past have stated, the weather makes it an easier choice to move there too. For factors like that, we can't really blame ourselves for not being able to attract top talent. But if the press is to be believed, we knew of his talent before the World Cup, and if that is true, we certainly should have tied it up then before any competition came in. To beat those guys, we need to be at least a year ahead of them in terms of scouting. Easier said than done, but that seems like the only solution to me. And of course, as Colm mentioned, we would never be able to compete on the wages front either with Madrid and the relatively relaxed tax laws possibly. If we get them sooner & younger, we get them cheaper too. The World Cup has shown that Germany has a bunch of talented youngsters and there's been talk of a youth system etc., and it makes you wonder if our scouting in such places is good enough because you never hear of United being linked with an upcoming German player.

  8. Dela,

    Arf, arf, Oliver Twist!!! :0)
    I love it!

    Yes indeed, van der Vaart seems to be talking up a move to United.

  9. Nik,

    I agree with you that we need to move faster if we are going to stay one step ahead of Madrid et al.

    If you think back to Ronaldo, we actually fell over him during a friendly (a total fluke in other words) and if we are to believe Arsene Wenger, he could have signed him for just £4m - if true that is another example of United's total and utter incompetence where negotations are concerned.

    Irrespective of the Ronaldo fee, which turned out to be small beer, United do at least appear to be trying to sign younger players in the main at present. The example of Hernandez is a good one.

    Fergie hasn't done bad so far, but as fans we always want to see the very best playing for United and sometimes it's a bit frustrating when you see players of the calibre of Ozil and Sneijder become available and for the right money - yet United cannot seal the deal.

    I think Barcelona have actually shown us the way with their youth development programme; around half their first team has come from the youth system. Ferguson says this is the way forward - develop from within.

  10. This is a bit unrelated but i just watched a short interview with scholes on the bbc sport website, which I'd like to share.

    I absolutely love it. He looks like he'd be rather be water boarded than deal with having compliments thrown at him.

    Fucking legend.


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