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.