Monday, July 06, 2009

Obertan to follow Valencia and Owen?

Hot on the heels of Antonio Valencia and Michael Owen, Sir Alex could be about to wrap up his third close-season signing after Bordeaux president Jean-Louis Triaud revealed winger Gabriel Obertan is close to joining the champions. With dozens of players linked with United over the last few weeks, Obertan's proposed switch has somewhat come out of the blue with not too much known about the versatile 20-year-old.

The France Under-21 player found first-team chances hard to come by last term in Ligue 1 under former United defender Laurent Blanc so he spent the second half of last season on loan at Lorient, w
here he featured 15 times scoring just the one goal. Several other big guns across Europe have been tracking the player who can play in midfield or as a second striker.

"There is a very strong likelihood that the deal will go ahead," said Triaud to L'Equipe.

"Manchester United want to sign him and, for our part, we would be delighted to see Gabriel playing for such a prestigious club.

"We will make the official announcement when the time is right."

Obertan, who made his professional debut for Bordeaux when he was just 17, is seen as one for the future by Ferguson and a player with the potential to develop quickly at Carrington.

United scouts checked on the player at last month's Toulon International Youth Tournament, where he was given the Most Valuable Player award and that appears to have swayed United into making a move ahead of Inter and AC Milan.


  1. We have been tracking the lad for a while, from the reports i read years ago i think after the Toulon tournament, fergie wanted him snapped up. He was undoubtedly the best player in the tournament. this is the only link i could find of the lad in the tournament, its basically showboats and he featured quite a lot in the video....

  2. Any idea what side of the field he plays on?

    Wouldnt this guy be doing the exact same job Tosic and Ljajic were signed for? I mean if he couldnt even break into the Bordeaux team then he would he really benefit us much?

  3. You wonder how much the fee will be and as you say Dave where does this leave Tosic?

    United are reportedly looking at Ashley Young too, IMO we'd be better off going for Drenthe, but maybe the club is conscious of being viewed negatively if they take on Madrid's cast-offs.

  4. I like Ashley Young and had hoped we would get him as a replacement for Giggs (lets face it Nani aint ever gonna cut it for us), Ill be honest with the exception of your recent blog post I know nothing of Drenthe and considering that Villa will rip us off as a) we are another premiership team and b) he's english, then Drenthe would probably be a safer bet. Although actually I would probably end up buying that new jersey with Youngs name/number and correct me if I am wrong but doesnt he wear 7 at Villa?

    As for Obertan, he is a right winger/forward on FM. Tosic prefers left so its possible that Fergie sees a future for both although I must admit I have my doubts.
    I just look at Obertan as being a strange signing. He couldnt break into Bordeaux's team so what chance has he got here? There is a fair amount of competition for Winger places here with Nani, Tosic, Giggs (on rare occassion), Valencia, Park and possibly Young (crosses fingers) and if this guy is a Bordeaux reserve then I cant see him getting a sniff of the first team.

    It does make you wonder about Nani though. If United are interested in Young, and with Tosic presumedly acting as a backup/sub role and then this new guy providing cover for Valencia on the right - Could Fergie be considered selling Nani?

  5. Nani isn't United material and never will be. I'm not sure about Tosic, he looks too lightweight for the Premier League to me, but I guess he could develop. I don't watch Villa often tbh, but I agree will end up getting ripped off for another average player. Drenthe is like Edgar Davids, a tough little battling bastard who'd do well for United IMO.

  6. If we do end up getting obertan it won't be for silly money as he is not a 1st team regular yet. The boy was loaned out because bordeaux where challenging for league and went for experience at the time. Fergie was in France when the toulon tournament was on, so im sure he must have been aware of the headlines he was making in the french press, wouldn't surprise me if he actually went to the games. The french press have been even claiming that united had a verbal agreement over the fee weeks ago.

    He has pace, skillful, 6ft plus, composure,both footed...he will definitely need to bulk up though. theY call him the french ronaldo, but too be honest from what iv seen and heard from my pals in france he has a more similar style to a certain french arsenal legend. T.H

  7. Interesting to see that Milan have made a bid for Huntelaar. Think fergie will need to work fast.

  8. welcome Obertan,that boy is amazing,Nani will become a United Legend. Tosic,great player. remember that all these negative things were said about Ronaldo on his arrival...sssshhhhh!

  9. Tony,

    I think United are doing the right thing in looking to sign the next Ronaldo, it's what I've been preaching on here for a while.

    I'd settle for another Thierry Henry, strange that Wenger hasn't shown any interest is it not?

  10. Dave,

    Yeah, come on Fergie pull your finger out, Huntelaar might be slow but he looks like our best bet right now. You do wonder why United didn't factor in the Dutch striker as part of the Ronaldo deal.

    I actually think United might be better off signing Northern European players because Latino types will always be drawn to the heat of Spain.

  11. Sabelo, Nani wouldn't even be a United player if Wigan had been daft enough to have signed him recently but they weren't.

  12. Funny enough he would be a typical wenger signing. Young, rather cheap, pace, good technical ability, good athlete and so on. The reason why i think wenger hasn't shown any interest of late is the fact arsenal have recently bought nasri and arshavin. He also has a number of other young starlets who are highly rated i.e. ramsey, whilshire, lansbury, vela and others. These players are capable of playing in the same positions as obertan.

    On huntelaar, if we where to get him, i think we are going to see a different man utd. Especially since we have valencia in now. Valenica is known for being a genuine out and out winger who puts in a number of cross's and huntelaar and a box striker. Not comparing them but it will be similar to the link up play rvn and beckham had years back. Whether it would be a good thing for united to change their style is another argument but personally i prefer the system we have been using since ruud left.

  13. Sky Sports are reporting that the fee is 3 million. sounds like good business from united.

  14. Sabelo,

    Negative things were spoken about Ronaldo upon his signing but he was pretty much the star player at Sporting when we got him.
    Obertan on the other hand was loaned out last year as he couldnt break into the first team, this is after making his debut 3 years ago. This doesnt mean to say he wont have the potential but it makes me think of Kieron Richardson. He made his United debut at a young age and after a handful of years at the club it was obvious that he just wasent up to standard and couldnt take the next step into being a first team regular. Isnt Obertan doing the exact same thing at Bordeaux?

  15. Tony,

    Fair points about Wenger and £3m sounds about right for someone who is unproven outside of his own country, I still have nightmares about David Bellion...

    Regarding Huntelaar. I've been saying that if Fergie signs him then we might see United switching back to a flexible 4:4:2 / 4:5:1 with Rooney playing more of a central role behind the main striker. I don't know if Valencia can cross the ball (few can these days) but on the opposite flank, Tosic can apparently... I still think United another left sided player though as I have my doubts about Tosic and I'm certain Nani isn't the man.

  16. dave

    Ronaldo was far from being the star player at sporting at the time. He was not a 1st team regular. At the time Quaresma was more highly rated, hence the fact barcelona chose him ahead of ronaldo. Comparing him to kieran richardson is a joke mate. Richardson can only dream about having the same technical ability.

  17. james

    With Tosic i can't judge him yet because he hasn't played yet. But iv heard he wasn't too great in the reserves. Nani on the other hand, iv seen enough, he can join his buddy ronaldo in spain.

    I wonder though what will happen with the no 7 shirt.

  18. Tony,

    What number has Valencia been given?

    You would have thought it would be the no.7 shirt, if it isn't could it be that Fergie himself has some doubts about the lad's ability? It's usually reserved for special players...

    Prior to Valencia signing the MEN claimed Fergie had received "mixed" scouting reports, you can read into that what you will.

  19. We don't know what fergie is thinking regarding whether or not he should give valencia the number but i will say i very much doubt valencia would want to take it because from past interviews read, he doesn't come across as a very confident fella. I think we should reserve it until someone who has more than just footballing potential comes through. With ronaldo and Beckham they became icons and they were marketable. We have a player in our books who looks like he could have what it takes. Adem ljajic.

  20. Tony,

    Regarding Adem ljajic, is he actually playing for the club now? I thought he spent last season on loan at his old club? I was wondering if you've been watching him recently? The thing is Tosic looked good on those clips, but as you say in the reserves.....

  21. Tony,

    I wasent really comparing him with richardson from a technical standpoint. More from the simularitys about career progression.
    Both had promising debuts at a young age, neither was able to maintain a regular first team spot, both spent time out on loan, both ended up moving on due to lack of first team action.

    The difference here of course is that Obertan is making the move to a much bigger team when Richardson moved to a smaller one.

    I'll be honest I cannot see how he can break into our squad when he couldnt make the grade at a team far smaller than ours. Especially when we seem to have a lot of players able to play on the wings but no real stand out players.

    I really hope I am wrong tho and would be happy for you to throw it in my face every single day if this guy did turn out to be a fantastic signing.

    You are right about Tosic tho, I had high hopes for him but the fact that Fergie didnt even start him against Hull said alot for me. Maybe he will come good with time but we do seem to throw a lot of money away on players who 'could' be great.

    We spent a great deal of money on Tosic/Ljajic, Nani/Anderson. All potentally great players but none look like they will live up to that potential (and price tag) at United. Wouldnt it be a safer option that when it involves fee's that high to sign more established players, even if they perhaps have less potential but are almost at that point and able to make a first team contribution.

  22. Partizan show extended highlights of all their games on their website, so iv been following his progress. Towards the end of the season, after protests from fans, he became a regular and scored a number of goals from midfield. The boy is 17 and has the sort of swagger about him that makes you think he is a United player and worthy of wearing number 7. He carried that form on in helping serbia with his goals to qualify for the uder 19 european championships.

    He is currently with the uder 19 serbia side getting ready for the upcoming uder 19 championships which i understand will be broadcasted on eurosport, so that will be a great chance for united fans to have a look at him. He will join us in january as players in serbia can't leave until they are 18.

    When he and tosic where bought it was evident that adem ljajic was the better prospect of the two, he also cost more.

  23. Tony,

    You sound like my old man - he watches more sport on tv than anyone I've ever met. Good to hear the lad is doing well...

  24. Dave

    Several young french players have moved abroad before breaking into the 1st team and gone on to do great things.

    Nasri at 20 was not a regular, same can go for ben arfa. Flamini, clichy, sagna where all not playing regular football when they joined arsenal but their scouts were able to identify their potential regardless of whether or not they where regulars.

    The fact is Blanc didn't particularly fancy playing the lad whilst they where going for the league title, he went for experience instead. If you had seen the toulon tournament you would have realized that this boy has the right ingredients to be a great player. He won most valuable player in the tournament which is not mickey mouse award considering the vast array of talent that was on show from the south american teams.

  25. Sign him..soon to become greater than Ronaldo

  26. Interesting discussion, still not the groundbreaking stuff everyone was hoping for. Its being reported Madrid have money for only one more star between Ribery and Xabi Alonso, and that they prefer Xabi Alonso (to match the Spanish credentials of Barcelona clearly).

    Are we in with a shout? I certainly hope so.

  27. Interesting discussion. Signing any player no matter how well rated they are is always a bit of a gamble. As such spending £3m on an unknown quantity like Obertan is much less of a risk than spending £16m on someone like Nani. If it goes wrong we won't lose much whereas we will lose about £10m if we manage to sell Nani. Nani looked to have some promise in his first season but it went horribly wrong last time.

    I've not seen anything of Tosic but Fergie was saying not long after he signed that he would be making a contribution to the first team. The fact that he didn't (even in meangingless Carling Cup games & Hull) is not a good sign. He may look good on YouTube but even I could be made to look like a decent player!

    Valencia looks to be an old school winger i.e. pace, can dribble & cross the ball. The fact that he tracks back & works hard for the team will be welcome after the previous no.7! He won't be contributing many goals so we will be changing our tactics back to 4-4-2. However that relies on a decent left winger which we no longer have so James' Royston Drenthe could be a good shout.

    Now that Ronaldo is gone hopefully we'll get to see Rooney playing centrally rather than on the wing. More goals will be expected from the strikers & that is why I think Owen is a good signing. He will be 3rd choice striker & is still a quality finisher. Hopefully with him being more of a bit part player injuries may be less of an issue. I'm not sure we need Huntelaar & I would much prefer to see Macheda (who I rate very highly) getting more time on the pitch than spending £20m+ for the sake of it.

    Not completely convinced by him but I think Welbeck can contribute to the team as a winger as he has pace, trickery & can cross.

  28. Vaud,

    I agree with all of that, esepcially the bit about Drenthe! :0).

    Regarding Owen, I'd be quite happy to see Macheda getting the nod over him every time - like you I believe he can make it at United.

    Not sure about Owen or Huntelaar, both have bad points; the former Newcastle star has had many injury problems and of course the Dutchman is slow.

    I see Owen as mainly as insurance and from the money point of view it isn't a bad deal, but we will only be able to judge the merits of the football side of the acquisition come next May.


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