At the start of this blog I want to make it clear that this is not aimed at all fans, but it is aimed at the growing majority. Although I suspect that majority are not match going fans but part of United’s growing global reach.
This season we sit proudly at the top of the league, we have witnessed the emergence and rebirth of a number of players, and we look (albeit perhaps trying to forget about Saturday) like our destiny is in our own hands.
However come the end of the transfer window and the usual whinging began on message boards and forums about the lack of transfer activity and how we haven’t broken the latest record for transfer fees. I for one am getting fed up with the constant calls for a football manager style overhaul of the United squad in each and every transfer window.
Ignoring, if you will for a moment, the Glazer’s ownership of the club, the signings that were made this summer have been a real success. In Chicarito and Smalling, Ferguson has bought in two promising youngsters who have really taken to life at United. Admittedly the jury is still out on Bebe. These players will get the chance to learn and develop whilst not having to play every match. This allows them to come on better and appreciate how special their surroundings are.
Signings like Chicarito and Smalling, have for the most part been the style of Sir Alex whilst in charge of the club. Yes there has been the odd big name splash, think Berba, Rio or Veron. But this has always been the exception rather than the norm. Ferguson’s reputation is in bringing in the lesser known players, Vidic, Schmeichel, Irwin, etc.
This style of signing have many advantages, the first being the fact that they get a chance to come in and bed down before becoming automatic starters. Someone like Evra might not have recovered from his début if it had been from a rival club. Now he is firmly part of the fabric of the club. Players appreciate this, it allows them to become one of the squad, and I firmly believe this increases squad morale and for the most part encourages a sense of loyalty in players to the club and if not the club then the manager (and in United’s case they are hard to separate).
What these fans who are calling for mass signings want, is a whole load of new players. Why? It will disrupt everything. Furthermore they believe the press that this United team is a busted flush, but sadly for those same Journalists who praise our rivals (and told us in September that Chelsea would definitely be unbeaten this season, remember that) it is United who top the league, yet apparently we are shite. It is nonsense.
Yes the team could do with a signing or two. I personally think this squad is light one central midfielder and it will be light a goalkeeper in the summer. However beyond that anything else would be surplus to requirements and would simply bloat what is already a talented squad, whilst limiting the opportunities for our large band of talented youngsters. More signings than that would require players to leave, and I accept that could happen in the middle of the field if more than one needs to come in.
Signing big stars is no guarantee of success and often leads to big egos. Also those players who move around and attract big fees offer nothing in any loyalty to their manager or club (if there is any loyalty at all). They also come in and change squad dynamics. Ferguson builds teams over years not days and this squad feels well positioned to continue to develop, just imagine this team with a ball winning playmaker in the middle. One signing could do that, but I doubt signing 4 or 5 would make it any more likely.
Finally, whilst we all believe it is the Glazers and not Fergie talking about value in the market, whoever wrote the party line had it right this transfer window.
£35m for Carroll and £50m for Torres give me a break.
the reason everyone is complaining is because the signing would completly galvanise the team. one good central midfielder pulling the strings and we could be great. i dont care about the price, we pay what we need to make the team great. if mr Gill is correct the funds are there. we dont need kaka but we do need a leader in midfield.
totally agree. We dont need an overhaul but a creative midfielder in the centre of the park would be terrific. Not sure how anyone could disagree. Strikers look solid, defence quite solid when healthy (could add a man for depth) midlfield is nice, especially when valencia returns, but the glaring hole is a quality passer with the ability to create in the middle of the field. Our team is obviously great, but in certain games, this is the area in need of improvement.
There is one player IMO who could answer our exact need: Pastore. For me it’s Pastore and then secondary choices far down the list. Would anyone disagree? If so, please explain.
Let’s face it, a year ago most were stating the same need and Silva was the main player identified. Even in hindsight Silva would’ve been brilliant and Tevez was just quoted saying he was the best signing City’s made since his arrival (and there’s been a lot). I hope we don’t miss the boat in the same way with Pastore.
P.S. I’m not a match going fan since I leave halfway around the world. I’m not calling for a squad overhaul either and let’s not forget United are able to remain the biggest club in the world in no small part to its global reach. Remember: we are all UNITED!
In response to all the above I guess you are in agreement with me to an extent. I do think the midfield issue is quite pressing but does anyone think David Sliva would have answered the problems – he is essentially a LM when we want a CM. Also it is the final piece in the jigsaw essentially – it feels similar to when we bought Carrick (which is a signing that at the time divided fans – yet we went on to win 3 in a row with a CL for good measure) – as a result a lot of thought must go into it. Buying Ozil I am afraid would not have worked – SAF would have had to changed formation, and the same goes for VDV at Spurs.
If in the summer this issue is addressed you can guarantee that it will have been well planned and the player will be with the club for a reasonable length of time and have the right personality. It is essential at United that players are seen to hit the ground running otherwise it becomes an issue in press which is no help (see Berba). If it turns out to be someone like a Steven Defour then you can see them staying for a while – I reckon Silva won’t be with City more than 4 years.
I realize Silva was thought to be more of a winger, but hasn’t he being playing more centrally behind Tevez this year? In any case, he’s gone so its a mute point now.
In mentioning Defour, does that mean you’re more interested in a deeper lying CM? I think most are aware that we need to improve the central midfield, but it’s another matter as to what part in particular we need help in (i.e. attacking, holding etc…). Ando seems built to be a good attacking mid, but he only seems interested in getting involved up to the 18 yd box. I realize we primarily attack from the wings, but it’d be nice to have a CM who’d jump in and look for goals more often.
Agree a CM who can score goals would be good – but I feel it is important to note that Scholes was never a CAM he was always a more traditional CM – when he played further up the field when Ruud first arrived and at other times he was playing second striker not CAM.
As a result a CAM would require us to change our formation and or sell a striker and play one up front. Good thing about someone like Kaka is the variety he could offer as can play LM too also a little deeper as well as CAM.
This is why I think it is good we didn’t get Ozil – when you watch his perfomance against Barca he simply couldn’t do the defensive side, and in the United side you need to be able to do that to function in CM. I think the same applies to Van Der Vaart. I think that Modric is now sufficiently good in defense and attack to fill the scholes type role.
However ideally it would be someone like Keane who can tackle, intercept, pass and shoot. The one name I always think would be brilliant in the middle of the park for us would be De Rossi – however probably not in our age bracket and no telling that we would ever buy from Italy again and no telling he would adapt.
Sadly there are not an awful lot of this type of player around at the moment – which explains the rise of the 3 men in CM as you have to have two backing up the CAM. I think this might be what has made it so difficult to find someone and explains why Anderson’s game has changed since being at Utd as at Porto he was more CAM
Okay, 3 replies is probably excessive, but here it goes…
In one sense, we already have the keys to a successful CM, save one: consistency. Between Ando, Fletch and Carrick, they all posses enough skills and strengths to complement each other and cover the demands from the one side of the midfield to the other. Though some fans are quickly dismissive about them and would replace them with whichever flavour of the month, I think there are many like myself who’d be more than happy if they simply played well consistently.
Unfortunately up to this point it hasn’t happened for long spells and it may need to be addressed in the summer if things remain this way. As it stands, the need for a deeper lying mid may be the greater need as there’s not really anyone apart from Carrick for that role (not counting Scholes as we don’t know his future). Don’t get me wrong though, I generally rate Carrick highly and would be more than happy for him to return to form.
Lastly, about Pastore, perhaps I hadn’t considered how he’d fit into our team. However, I rate him highly enough that I believe he may be considered one of the world’s best in the not-too-distant future. He’s good enough and has such an impact that a team should consider how they could fit around him rather than vice-versa.