Welcome to the fourth issue of The Red Report, the round table discussion of all things Manchester United by your favourite United blogs:
The Busby Way, Stretford End, Bangalore To Old Trafford, ManUtd 24 and Red Force Rising.
This week hasn’t been any less hectic in terms of news at the biggest club in the world with the Wayne Rooney saga still lingering in people’s minds and the derby just around the corner, the club is in a very fine balance and some of the topics we discuss today show this.
First we start with Edwin Van Der Sar, a shining example of professionalism in the game, having just turned 40 we touch on his impact and the daunting task of replacing the Dutch master:
Siddarth | Bangalore to Old Trafford: Edwin has been a brilliant servant for the club, I think he’s got be among Sir Alex’s best buys ever. Even at 40, he goes about making saves like he was only 20.Replacing him could be more difficult than most think like I discussed in my blog post on him.
For me, the best players to replace him are either David De Gea or Manuel Neuer. I’d prefer De Gea, he looks like a really bright talent, surely the future no.1 for Spain.
Doron | Stretford-End: Just seems a shame we never got our hands on Edwin earlier. He’s been a superb player for us, one of the best signings Fergie has made in these latter years. Edwin is the ultimate pro, he keeps himself in shape and at 40 he’s showing no signs on slowing.
I had hoped Foster would replace Van der Sar but it didn’t work out. I think Neuer is the ‘safe’ option, very dependable and good all-round. De Gea is the one that excites me, if we could get him we’d be sorted for the next 15 years.
Alan | RedForceRising: Van der Sar has been a model pro and as solid as you could hope a keeper to be. He had a spell with some dodgy moments in the past, but has been in great form for the majority of his career. After the nightmares that were Tailbi, Bosnich, Carroll and Barthez, it’s been great to have a solid, confident keeper like Edwin at United. Some really poor decisions by Ben Foster certainly put Edwin’s abilities into perspective and I still rate him as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe, even at 40.
It is important to remember that ALL goalkeepers make mistakes and suffer dips in form like outfield players, but when they do, it is more visible. It is crucial to judge goalkeepers on how they respond to setbacks and Eric Steele always highlights the mental fortitude that is required to be Manchester United’s main custodian. With this in mind, my favourite candidates to take over from Edwin van der Sar are David De Gea, Manuel Neuer, Hugo Lloris and Rene Adler. In that order. All of them are tall and have the attributes to be a top keeper. At 19, De Gea has played in an Europa League final, acquitted himself well and keeps churning out great performances. He could be rotated with Kuszczak or van der Sar for a year while he bulks up and finds his feet at United.
TG | ManUtd24: Van der Sar has been a great servant to our club, and I guess the most wonderful thing is how he still has the hunger having won it all with Ajax. I’m tired of the rumours, to be honest. I honestly think, and hope, that Tomasz Kuzczak stays and we sign an established guy like another Ajax shot-stopper, Maarten Stekelenburg.
What makes me laugh, however, is that some United fans have never seen a certain goalkeeper play before, yet call for their signing. It’s all a bit bizarre. How long before again someone attacks Fergie because he’s not after some Moldavian player that Goal.com has linked us with?
Chudi | The Busby Way: Edwin van der Sar is a quality goalkeeper and of the best in the world regardless of age. That double save against Fulham at the start of the season was magical and is just one example of how good he still is. We must be realistic though, it is likely that he will be hanging up his gloves in the near future whether it is at the end of this season or next. He was the answer to a problem we had in replacing Peter Schmeichel and you can only hope we don’t go through the same problems in replacing him.
If we could bring someone in I personally would lean towards De Gea. I am a fan of his youth and he is already a decent goalkeeper and hopefully this could develop at the club. He is tall at 6 ft 3 and has big game experience against top teams in Spain and Europe for Atletico Madrid.
Replacing Edwin Van Der Sar is a task easier said than done, there are candidates, hopefully whoever is handed the job is up to it!
Next we looked at transfers. This is a subject that seperates all fans as everyone feels they know who would be the best for the club so we all threw some names into the foray:
Chudi | The Busby Way: I don’t mind transfer rumours, they make things exciting but some can be ridiculous. I think we are should be looking at midfield and in goal as the areas to strengthen in the coming windows with certain players not performing and others on their way out.
I have seen us linked with Lassana Diarra and I think he could be a decent cheap signing. When ever you speak to Gooners he is a player they regret letting go and I think he could do a job. I wouldn’t mind Defour either but in the same breath I wouldn’t want to see the club bring players in that would be detrimental to the growth of some of the outstanding talent we already have. As I said when we were linked with Henderson from Sunderland, is he better than what we already have?
Doron | Stretford-End: We’re the biggest club in the world, there will always be players linked with joining and leaving the club. I like to back what we have first of all but we would benefit from a versatile creative midfielder. All we need to do is take a quick peek into the Reserves and Academy…there is a whole plethora of players ready to be given a chance in the next 18 months.
We will need a goalkeeper and I think we will need one or two ‘squad players’ within the next year – someone who can do what the likes of Park and Carrick do. With Scholes and Giggs in particular close to retirement and with some of the other players aging the squad will thin out a bit so someone dependable who can come in and do a job when required will be invaluable.
TG | ManUtd24: As you’d already gather, not a fan of rumours. Indeed, I discussed it in my blog earlier this week (see blogs of the week) that I hope United don’t sign anyone in January, because, with everybody fit I think we have a strong enough team. As for the summer window, maybe. I’ll throw in a few names; Scott Dann, Jordan Henderson and even that bloke Gareth Bale.
Alan | RedForceRising: Yes, we do need new players. When your best central midfielder is about to turn 36 years old, you need new blood. I would like Tom Cleverley to be recalled from loan and for him to get game time, so he can learn from playing alongside Scholesy.
United could do with two or three new central midfielders with the same number of players heading out of Old Trafford or retiring. A deep-lying play-maker in the Scholes mould and a midfield enforcer would be a good place to start. I read an exaggerated article on Michael Carrick this week and can’t believe how quickly his poor form and poor displays have been forgotten. Both Carrick and Darron Gibson might have futures at Manchester United, but I question their desire to win. They simply don’t seem to have a lot of fight in them.
I’m quite happy with our wingers and I hear that Antonio Valenica might be back sooner than expected which will be a big boost. It would also be prudent management of Sir Alex to be looking at a new striker. Michael Owen could and should be heading for the exit whilst Dimitar Berbatov hasn’t won over all his critics yet either.
Siddarth | Bangalore to Old Trafford: I think we need to buy in only 1-2 positions to strengthen the team; they are a Left footed winger, and a GK. Rest of the positions we have more than enough youngsters emerging through the academy who deserve a chance, especially midfielders like Eikrem, Morisson, Pogba, etc.
Rather have them given a chance than waste many millions on a player who might later want to move to his “dream club” after becoming a star at United. A player who’s come through the academy is more likely to show loyalty to the club and fans
Everyone has an opinion on who we should be looking to bring in and what areas to strengthen although some areas are unanimously recognised as weak, regardless of who lets hope we are act active in the transfer market.
Click here for the second part of this week’s Red Report
For United, the transfer window represents a bitter sweet time. Players are over valued when we come knocking, but we have a good scouting network that finds us gems where no one is looking. The current crop of players have what it takes to go far for the next 4 years. There are only two problem areas that have been plaguinug is for a while now, particularly when one considers how the modern game is evolving. We require a Goal keeper purely because Edwin is on in years. Whoever takes up the post should be good for the next 10 years. Given our young defence Id go for a 27 year old. My real area of concern is midfield. Carrick is a talented player but he falls short of what we need to beat sides coached by Guardiola, Mourinho and Wenger et al. Anderson has a lot of promise but we need a general in the middle of the park, someone who can didctate the pace of the game and allow the talented wingers we have the confidence to surge forward. That said such a player is very very hard to find. It will have to be a marquee signing, not only for the quality but to flex our muscle as the biggest club in the world. We have that in Hargreaves but injury has hampered our plans.I would say de rossi but the language barrier could pose a problem. I still think we could do a stellar job with Scott parker and have him playing for at least 5 more years. but I ttrust our scouts and I trust our manager. He’ll find the missing link which he knows more than all of us, is indeed missing