We know the season was a good one despite the blemish of our away form in the league and the Champions League final. Amongst others we have made up our minds in regards to the likes of Hernandez and Smalling, declaring their debut seasons undoubted successes, we agree that Patrice Evra can do better next term and have lauded captain Nemanja Vidic for a monstrous season long effort one.
Yet one player appears to be slipping under the radar in regards to assessment.
As Bebe was announced to be going on loan to Turkish side Besiktas, I can’t have been the only person to have wondered what about Gabriel Obertan?
You may think this was an odd thought to have at that time but you will be aware that the two (unfortunately) have been lumped together as if they are one entity so it isn’t that odd at all.
I have been looking through the site at our pieces on Obertan and there have been a few; has he turned a corner, would a change of position do him good, what now for the French midfielder, the writing is on the wall etc
But for all the analysis we’ve done we are no closer to solving the enigma that is Obertan.
How many times have we questioned his consistency, decision making and mental strength? Yet, we come no closer to solution.
When we signed Obertan in the summer of 2009 Sir Alex remarked,
‘We are delighted to get him now as he is an exciting prospect. We like to get young players and develop them, and we will see that in Gabriel over the next two years.’
This summer marks two years and I don’t think I’d be in the minority if I said he hasn’t shown enough in the two year spell to suggest Old Trafford is the right place for him.
There will obviously be those that suggest that he hasn’t been given enough time or opportunities to showcase his abilities, this season he didn’t play a first team game after February’s closely contested FA Cup tie with Crawley and in his 2 year spell he has made just 28 appearances scoring 1 goal. As we have said previously there have been glimpses of his talent, his cameo appearance against Aston Villa in November garnered praise as he helped change the game in United’s favour earning a valuable point with a late comeback, and even saw him start (and complete) the next game.
But good appearances are becoming rare and even against limited opposition like against Crawley and in the reserves where he should be shining he isn’t standing out. The state of the game is changing, stars are getting younger and younger so at the age of 22 the fact Obertan isn’t showing enough to suggest that he will make it is worrying.
There are players behind him that are pushing for his position and with additions being made to the squad he faces the problem of falling further down the pecking order than he already is.
Like Bebe, Obertan too may benefit from a loan out to a club where he would play a higher standard of football than he does in our reserves on a consistant basis. It’s well noted that he suffers from a lack of confidence in his own ability, Laurent Blanc alluded to it prior to his move here, so perhaps a full season, starting, at a decent team may bring out some of the ‘swagger’ that French players usually play with and that we have seen in glimpses from him.
At a step further it may even be time for him to move on, the argument that he hasn’t shown any progression from his first season at the club works against him and the fact that there could be other promising youngsters behind him in the pecking who could be given the opportunity he has will work against him too.
It is hard to make a case in his defence, in the 2 year period that Sir Alex outlined he simply hasn’t done enough to convince anyone that he should be give a further chance.
The summer is still ahead of us and much could happen before the transfer window closes but with Bebe on his way and Gibson, Brown and O’Shea all seemingly on offer it wouldn’t surprise me if Obertan too was on his way out of Old Trafford in some capacity.
The sad thing is, there will be few to morn the graduate of the Clairefontein academy’s departure.