The transfer chase is beginning to hot up but with Manchester United’s budget limited this summer, perhaps the free transfer market holds some gems for Sir Alex Ferguson. Inspired by former signings such as Henrik Larsson and Laurent Blanc, here’s a list of five past masters that United could sign on the cheap this summer.
David Trezeguet, Juventus
The man who fired France to European championship glory back in 2000 has fallen out of favour in Turin and seeking an Italian exit. Trezeguet has struggled with injury this season but few can doubt his predatory instincts. The former Monaco star may simply have become disenchanted with life in Serie A and United could offer a particularly glamorous last stop in his career. At 32 Trezeguet is by no means past it and with just a year remaining on his contract could give United the experience and physical presence Ferguson’s side lacks up front.
Raúl González, Real Madrid
Quite possibly the greatest striker of the modern generation. Raul has survived the ‘Galacticos’ and still remains a consistent performer within the Real Madrid side, when given the chance. His goal record is unquestionable; Raul is the all time top goal scorer in the Champions league and holds the same title in the national team. The 102-cap striker’s contract is up at the end of the season and at just 32 Raul has more to offer. Although the Spaniard is not the player he once was, Raul would relish the move to the Premier League and may prove a masterstroke by Ferguson.
Guti Hernández, Real Madrid
The Spanish international is widely regarded as one of the best passers of the ball in world football. Guti is Paul Scholes’ equivalent at the Bernebeu, and like Raul, is out of contract at the end of the season. Although Guti is keen on a move to Dubai for one last massive pay-day, Ferguson’s missing creative link could lie in the Spanish playmaker’s experience. The change of pace of the Premier League is perhaps the greatest challenge, coupled by high wage demands that could prove the major stumbling block. Oh and he is 35…
William Gallas, Arsenal
The Frenchman’s ongoing contract saga appears to be heading to a bitter end at the Emirate, which could culminate in the departure of the former club captain. Although Gallas is not an ideal choice for purist United fans, the former Chelsea player’s positional sense is second to none when in form. The Frenchman could offer sound cover for the ailing Rio Ferdinand. It’s an extremely unlikely move but United could do worse than pick up the experienced Frenchman and not chase the next wonderflop.
Michael Ballack, Chelsea
The previously prolific, unplayable, undeniably brilliant German is … really quite crap now. It’s hard to justify this one but the former Bayern Munich player is available on free transfer and used to perform on the big occasions. Now even the Chelsea faithful hate Ballack, so could United realistically justify the German’s ludicrous wage? Probably not. The midfielder previously rejected before and Sir Alex won’t make the same mistake again.
In all likelihood none of these players will make the journey to Manchester this summer, with Ferguson chasing the best deals for younger players in the market. United’s acquisitions of the Javier ‘little pea’ Hernandéz and Chris ‘appalling’ Smalling indicates the Scot’s faith in youth.
Of the pensioners group, perhaps Guti is the best option. Age has appeared only to improve the midfielder’s game, which could really benefit United’s strike force next season.
17 thoughts on “Golden oldies”
bit harsh to call Chris smalling appalling, too early to make such a moniker as he’s still very young and quite inexperienced
You often find that players like Smalling make quite a few high profile errors in their younger years. Their game is built on their ability to read the game and stop attacks before they’ve started. That’s why you rarely see players like him making last ditch tackles. He’s cut from the same cloth as Rio Ferdinand. And just like Rio he’ll make mistakes while he’s young because it’s often difficult to keep your concentration for 90 minutes. But also like Rio, he’ll eventually cut these errors out of his game and hopefully become a top class defender.
Ballack has done very little to justify his 120,000 a week, but then you could say that about a few others at Chelsea
I wouldn’t touch Ballack with yours! Remember what he said before he signed for Chelsea? It was nothing to do with money but just the fact that Manchester United were a spend force with there best behind them and Chelsea were the team of the future. Well Michael based on your four years at Chelsea, show us your medals big boy!!
Guti is 33 I think?
Raul would be a welcome signing, he’s a legend and would fit in well at United as well as being an inspiration to the youngsters.
Some interesting choices there Ed – good arguments for some of them too! I’ll take any of them except Ballack – his contract at Chelsea was a 4 – year early retirement scheme. How about adding Ronaldinho to the list too? There might still be a bit of football in him?
Dont thank me, thank Dan!
you absolute melon. what is the point in publishing an article in which all the predictions are never going to happen. this is made even worse by the way you admit to this at the end of the article, which suggets you wrote it and then realised it was all a load of baloney.
I say this cos im an avid reader of your articles Dan and feel that you havnt really done yourself justice this time.
Must try harder.
You’ve completely missed the point. The article is not predicting anything, it’s a look at potential options. A discussion, if you will. Now who’s the melon?
sorry ed but why do you continually wish to talk bollocks. They are not potential options cos none of them are ever going to come so they actually have no ‘potential’ to play for manchester united football club. Do you suggest we have more unrealistic ‘discussions’? how about lets talk about what would happen if manchestter had 1 million pounds and were debt free. I am an avid fan of unitedrant but i just feel that we should try and avoid these types of unrealistic articles.
Do you agree Ed Balls?
Chill out dude. You’d have a point except that Henrik Larsson, Laurent Blanc, Michael Owen and even Andy Goram weren’t exactly expected signings. Dan’s article is a perfectly valid discussion even if you think none of the players will come to United.
Since I decided editorial policy I’ll thank you for your input and say the same as I do to everyone – if you’d like to contribute an article and put your opinions up here for public scrutiny, go ahead. email@example.com is the email address…
Thank you for this opportunity. I am a very busy man and i will think carefully about this decision as it may gravely affect my future.
Tanks once again for your reply but i dont agree with one word of it. Ive got an idea for a new feature though, rather than mystic meg, we could have mystic united in which fans could look into the future and predict who will come to the theatre in dreams in future years, maybe we could in 2015. Any thoughts Ed Balls?
cracking article dan
couldn;t agree more with every word
although allow me to suggest neil harris- golden oldie-tick; old- tick; and golden- massoof tick
neil harris = poppycock
Ballack is a dick. I’d rather have Owen Hargreaves playing with one leg than have that arrogant, loudmouthed SOB in the United team.
Trezeguet on the other hand could give us another option upfront. Guti at 33 might be hit and miss.
I think Joe Cole has got to be the free of the summer and doesnt come with the golden oldie tag!? His class has never gone anywhere and he’s appears to have recovered from injury.
I’d personally like some bid put in for Shawcross (is there buy back clause perhaps? if not why not?)
Also I think we should be looking at some of these lads we’ve bought “…for the future…” Tosic, Diouf, Obertan etc… we need a good winger at the moment and they should have the pace to burn?? I know someone is going to say “they are only young” but so was/is Messi, Ronaldo, Becks, Giggs etc etc For me you’ve either got it or you havent! Either way its getting to be the time to find out!!?