Monday, July 16, 2012

United 'fraud squad' set for summer tour as concerns grow over Fergie's transfer activity...

The dust may well have settled on the season that's just gone, but the disappointment and manner of the its conclusion will linger on for quite some time. In the intervening weeks, since United unforgivably handed back what just a few weeks earlier had looked to be league title number 20 to Manchester City, not an awful lot has happened to suggest Ferguson and his players will be capable of wrestling control of the Premier League trophy out of the grubby clutches of our 'noisy neighbours'.

To date, Ferguson has left many supporters' underwhelmed with his summer signings. The addition of Nick Powell from Crewe and Shinji Kagawa from Dortmund may well go on to prove to be excellent value, but neither has experienced the hurly burly  Premier League.

Perhaps worryingly for United fans, Ferguson says, although Powell was used as a forward at his former club, it is his stated intention to use him as a central midfield player. Quite what Powell thinks about this would be good to know, but more importantly many observers will be left wondering if this is a sign of desperation on the part of the manager.

Manchester United's problems in central midfield are well documented, this area of the squad is widely accepted as its weakest - the one that needed the most attention this summer. Yet, Ferguson has signed a striker who we are told will eventually be transformed into a central midfield player and in Kagawa we have a potential long-term replacement for Paul Scholes.

There's likely to be a period of adjustment for Powell and Kagawa - who doesn't speak English, but hopefully, they will both settle quickly in the coming weeks and go on to prove their worth.

But, who else will Ferguson sign and who should he be targeting, those questions are a constant source of debate among the Red Army.

According to reports, (don't you just hate that phrase?) Ferguson is trying to sign Brazilian Lucas Moura; now here's the thing, Moura is yet another forward - and so it's worth asking if there's any truth in this rumour?  Not only that, but the same reports claim Moura is wanted by (among others) Real Madrid. Question: so when was the last time United won a transfer battle with Madrid?

Seasoned followers of the club will no doubt concur that we've been down this road before; the pursuit of the unattainable is a well trodden and all too often fruitless path. Back in 2003, the media led us to believe that United had come close to signing Ronaldinho - only for the brilliant samba star to sign for Barcelona and to add insult, he made his debut against United on the Reds US summer tour (yours truly was there).

So, is it fair to ask if this story is just another piece of creative writing - or is it the case that United's spin doctors' have sent the media on another wild goose chase?  Nothing can be ruled out. To those who say that is too far fetched, whoever would have thought Ferguson would have sanctioned the £7.5m transfer of Bebe and then to our consternation admit he'd never seen him kick a ball?

That leads us nicely on to United's latest summer tour. Hard to believe, but some fans are actually claiming to be 'excited' about the prospects of the squad which has been described as a 'mixture of youth and experience' - that's one way of describing them. The more cynical among us might describe the tourists as a mixture of 'hopefuls, experience, imposters and expensive failures' or even the 'fraud squad' as a time-served Red, jokingly put it.

There's little point in slamming Bebe (again), suffice to say, I wish I had a tenner for every Red who voiced their misguided belief and trust in a player who pretty much from his first kick was plainly never going to make it in a United shirt. 

While, it was obvious from the start that Bebe hadn't any hope in hell, United fans, who to their generally great credit are extremely patient with new signings are now pretty much resigned to the view that Anderson isn't going to make it either.

Anderson was brought in as a potential goal-scoring replacement for Scholes. It's true to state that his progress has been hindered by injuries, but it's also true that he hasn't lived up to his transfer fee - an eye watering £25m. Having made 145 appearances in five seasons and having scored just seven goals, Anderson has proved to be poor value and worse still, he hasn't eased Ferguson's midfield woes. No surprise then that reports are linking Anderson with moves back to Portugal.

Having been up for sale for a lengthy period, and without securing a move, the supremely talented yet all too often frustrating Dimitar Berbatov will also be boarding the flight to South Africa along with the rest of the United squad.

The sad thing is, Berbatov could have gone on to be a United legend, but he has no stomach for the fight and lacks heart; the fans' love his skills, but despair at his lack of application. The Bulgarian made the big mistake of publicly stating "I'm not changing" and that was the final straw for the former steelworker from Govan - aka Ferguson.

So the message to Fergie is this: we are not expecting rave reviews from South Africa and Scandinavia, but we bloody well are expecting you to pull your finger out and bolster midfield, before the season starts.


  1. Powell was used as an attacking mid / number 10 at Crewe because they had horrible injuries up front. He is, first and foremost, a midfield player, and has been whenever Crewe have had fit forwards.

    Whilst the squad is weak, what else is to be expected? If we send all our Euro 2012 / Olympics players on this tour they will be utterly burned out by the time the season starts!

  2. I'm no debating the benefits of R&R, but there's huge question marks about the following:

    A) Ability to fund transfers
    B) Identify the right targets
    C) Have *we* learnt anything at all from last season?

  3. United need to bring on a psychological impact on their rivals by signing someone feared among other mid-fielders like sneijder or modric rather than powell who is yet to prove his caliber at the highest stage!!!

  4. You are preaching to the converted. We need an all round box-to-box, tough, central midfielder.

  5. The most worrisome was united performance in Europe last year. Our squad was dismal at the group stage unable to compete against 2nd and 3rd tear European teams. We have improved a bit since last year but not enough.

  6. Moni,

    Not sure I'd agree with your sentiments about any improvements. We have been going steadily downhill since Keane retired. Ronaldo and Tevez covered up a lot of the cracks with their sublime skills and goals.
    Like it or not, but City have raised the bar and I'm not sure Fergie has the tools to do the job.

  7. @ S.Cat .... It's not really important what Powell is and what he was used for at Crewe. The argument so rightly put the writer here is that he's hardly the type of player (yet) who would make the Yaya Toures of the EPL want him not playing against them. United have needed an 'enforcer' since Roy Keane left the club. I'm shocked to see United let someone like Veloso go to Kiev. He is the sort of player our midfield could have done with and he can also play at left back so there was cover there too. Central midfielders operate best in pairs and he could have probably played well with Carrick (another flop in my opinion). For all that's been said of SAF and what an 'eye' he has for talent I simply have no faith in him when it comes to signing players nor his head scout brother Martin. Look at the sort of talent Wenger is able to pluck out and even convince to play for them. Over the years united have been able to 'buy' players. Now that they can't, SAF really doesn't have the charisma to pull players in. With only 26m in the bank as the IPO disclosures pointed out, forget about the likes of Lucas and Hazard and the lot. United can't even compete with spurs at the moment when it comes to signing players. Lucas indeed ! Hey SAF, sign Xavi and Iniesta too while you are at it ...

  8. Diablo Rojo,

    I agree with you. Not a fan of Carrick, the nearly man.

  9. United finished 2nd

    by 8 goals

    on goal difference

    But as usual the non-united fans....dumb united fans.......weak united fans aaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnddddd united fans desperate to kill SAF before he leaves start clawing and desperately scrabbling like a cat on heat locked inside a drinks cooler.

    a) The economic situation isn't Fergusons responsibility.

    b) We didn't get Ronaldinho did, we got about £60 mil, 4 Premier Leagues, Champions League......what're Ronaldinho's protruding buck teeth into now?? Did Ronaldinho or Ronaldo win more in their time with Barca and Man Utd respectively

    c) People mumble and moan about our midfield. Carrick's reticence to pass forward, Andersons inability to......pass, Scholes age, GIggs age, why buy Ashley Young when we could've used the money on interest payments (I'll admit I agree on that one). Manchester City have had to spend £500+ million to win by goal difference.......they deserved to win, no question about that but how many teams can spend to that amount to compete with United......only City and CHelsea, and we can see how United (and Roman) shut down CHelsea.

    These 3 points I make to remind readers and especially Manchester United supporters that even when the rarely witnessed fallibility of SAF arises, the organization skills, motivational spirit and management nous is always latent, waiting to ejaculate in a glorious bukkake of success over the face of unwitting hollow skulled simpering sycophants. 'Pull his finger out' you blasphemist!

    How long after Djemba-Djemba, Kleberson, Bellion and the rest had come did United win again? Uh huh and when they came again they won? That's right.....everything!

    United are 2 or 3 players (and seasons possibly) away from being at the pinnacle again. Losing Pogba, to my mind, has been the worst loss as he had the potential to BE Uniteds midfield. He was the 'yaya toure' everyone is crying about United needing, and had quadruple the skill of Yaya toure already.

    United need central midfielders and left back recruits. United WILL get central midfielders and left back recruits.

    I know as well as any United fan who has supported this team for more than a half hour. This season or next we will get quality in those positions. Quality that will grow.

    Oh and to know the type of United fan I am, I had given up on Anderson till his latest support currying press release and remember him terrorizing Fabregas. Bebe needs to be given more chances, if he could learn to control the ball beater! ;-p

    1. Pique ... Rossi ... Forlan ....Shawcross ... Pogba .... Morrison ...Fryers ....the rarely witnessed fallibility of SAF , the organization skills, motivational spirit and management .... Hmmmmmm ...

    2. Ahhhhh, internet sarcasm. Yes those players (spotted, signed, reared, sold by SAF) are all reasonable to good with Pogba being my favourite.

      Obviously you know a manager with a better record in the Premier League for signings and youth development than Sir Alex Ferguson. I'd be interested in knowing who it is. Wenger maybe....Mourinho possibly....or maybe even 'I've won it once with enough investment for a trip to mars' Mancini? Dalglish? Moyes? Sam Allardyce? lol

      You have the good moments and the bad moments. Pardew had a blinder last season, signings, tactics, culture of the club...all on the nose. It's the maintenance that's the mastery, enjoy the privilege of HIS (you know whose) tutelage and have a little patience you diavolo you! ;-)

  10. "United need central midfielders and left back recruits. United WILL get central midfielders and left back recruits." Let's see... I hope you are right btw.

  11. I forgot to add, that I totally agree with you about Pogba. You can look forward to an article dedicated to that particular story.

    1. I look forward to reading it. I think we just need to accept loyalty is dead and treat the youth as a priority. Youth gave us everything we've ever had here at United, the nurture of them is paramount. Man losing Pogba hurt.......

    2. "treat youth as a priority"... but then as you say Pogba leaves along with Fryers. Something is very wrong at United when such talented players leave. It makes zero financial sense if Pogba has left because of money; how much would it cost to find a replacement? A totally ridiculous state of affairs IMO.

    3. @ James ... LOL .... forgive my little bit of 'internet sarcasm', but you know it's true. There's something seriously wrong when players nurtured and brought through the youth academy just don't want to sign a contract. They are there day in and day out. Maybe there's more to it than meets the eye. Maybe something is not right after all. I don't accept that it's ONLY to do with money. I don't suppose Juventus would be making Pogba their highest paid player any time soon.
      You talk of Wenger .. definitely a much better judge of a player than SAF. You don't mention Moyes nor Redknapp. Let's be honest, Spurs are going to have a better squad than United soon and most of those players were bought by Harry.
      SAF remains the most influential manager in English history. I remember the day he replaced the flashy Ron Atkinson. The only thing he wanted to do was beat Liverpool. He did that and Liverpool faded away for good. What next for United ? Will we fade away for a decade too ?? Has SAF lost his magic ? His player and team selection have been inconsistent. Don't you think it's time for new ideas ? a new style of football ? Do a Guardiola !!! Give it to Giggs !!!!!!!!

    4. Diablo Rojo,

      Fergie is a very good man manager, but Mourinho is head and shoulders better than Fergie in every other respect. Personally, I think United do need to change their style of play, but going off this summer's buys it looks as though it will be more of the same. United cannot continue to play with gay abandon and expect to get away with it. United were found wanting badly in Europe last season - I cannot see that changing in the season ahead. City will more than likely get stronger and IMO, United will struggle this season.

      There's a whole bunch of things wrong with United at present, ranging from targets/personnel, formation and style of play.

      United did really well to fight it out with City, but threw it away at the death - I fear we won't get the chance this time around. IMO we will be lucky to be within 8 points of City, who I predict will win it at a canter.

      Fergie has been a great manager, but the search for his replacement has to start in earnest. No way would I give it to Giggs - that would be a disaster.

    5. James Ryddel

      I agree with almost everything you say. United are too predictable and easily beatable by teams that crowd the midfield and are ready to be physical and attack united. United don't have the imagination to get through such games.
      United did well last season (compared to the squad they had) simply because of 'past inertia'. But I really do think we've exhausted all we had in the tank. Th only reason united finished with the same number of points as city did was because city had a bad patch during spring this year.
      Coming to Giggs .... well ... who among the top managers will actually come and manage united as things stand ? Mourinho ?? Guardiola ?? What does united have to offer that will make them come and manage united ?? These are all managers who would want sizeable budgets to work with. Giggs is untested, but so is everyone to start with. He is one of the few people who would fit in seamlessly. He knows what the club is about. Please dont even mention Moyes. He is almost a SAF copy.

    6. Diablo Rojo,

      I totally agree that we gave everything last season and we might have little left in the tank. I fully expect City to leave us for dust and this time I don't expect any mess ups. I HOPE AM TOTALLY WRONG and please come back and remind me if I am wrong.

      As for Giggs, I simply don't see him as management material - being a good pro means nothing. Look at Bobby Charlton and Roy Keane.

      I don't know who'd choose to replace Fergie. It is a very tough call.


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