Luka Modric seems keen on Chelsea, Arsene Wenger is intent on holding on to Nasri and Sir Alex has all but ruled out a move for Wesley Sneijder. So what happens if that’s that for incoming transfers at Old Trafford?
The denial of Sneijder interest could obviously be a smokescreen but as much as I admire Sneijder, he isn’t a perfect fit for us right now. An incredibly gifted midfielder who will give us a new dimension in Europe and can win a game on his own. Yes. But someone who will track back as part of a centre midfield two and enjoy playing in deeper role’s when the boss’ tactics require. No.
It is also conceivable that we could make a late swoop for Modric or Nasri. With the defence bolstered and a new keeper signed up, midfield is our weak point but would it be catastrophic if we stuck with what we have?
United were criticised last season for being functional, with pieces of magic from Nani and Berbatov seeing us through the first half of the season and the Rooney/Chicharito partnership carrying us through the second. I believe this just re-iterated that football is a team game and a good squad is needed to be successful.
And I also think we would be fine with what we have if the season started tomorrow.
Ryan Giggs found some exceptional form in the second half of last season but I would imagine Sir Alex will use him even more sparingly this campaign, with important cameos replacing the match-winning performances we are used to. And of course Paul Scholes has retired.
On the other hand, we really missed Darren Fletcher last season and he hasn’t travelled to America, instead staying at Carrington to undertake some individual conditioning. Hopefully this will help him shake off the virus which has plagued him since March. Add a fit Darren Fletcher to an on-form Michael Carrick and things don’t look so bad.
Carrick went from strength to strength in the latter part of last season and started to show glimpses of his form of three years ago. Fletch and Carrick are equally comfortable in a 4-4-2 of 4-3-3 and keeping them fit and on form will be key to any success we have, whether we sign another midfielder or not.
Then there is Anderson, who I did a piece on last month. If he can continue his progression from last season into this one, he will be a force to be reckoned with and may find himself quickly becoming one of our key players. I hope Anderson can hit the ground running this year and have no doubt that if he does, he will get better and better.
The width will look after itself, with Nani fulfilling his potential last season and likely to get even better this year. There is also a full-season to come from Antonio Valencia, who was unbelievably good last season, all things considered, bar the champions league final. Park Ji-Sung also missed a chunk of last season and showed his importance with some great performances during the run-in last season. And Ashley Young has joined, who I am not a massive fan of, but I do believe he will add something to the squad and I think he will improve while learning at United.
Then there are the two youngsters whose names seem to be on everybody’s lips. Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison. Pogba in particular I think will get some first-team action this season, with many commenting how much he has filled out over the summer, adding to his already impressive physical prowess. Sir Alex talked of debating with himself whether to take the young midfielder on tour in the States before deciding against and as far as Morrison is concerned, if he focuses on his football and puts everything into his United career, the sky is the limit.
So, while a Modric/Nasri/Sneijder would be welcomed at Old Trafford, a new attacking midfielder is not the be all and end all. There are plenty of other reasons for excited optimism around Old Trafford this season.