Media Digest is United Rant’s weekly round-up of Manchester United-related news and blogs. This time, with the transfer deadline coming on Monday, we cover a little bit more than a week – including reaction to what was surprisingly the busiest day of a busy week.
Blogs resemble airport lounges at the moment – it’s all about departures and arrivals, at least for the past – and, certainly, next – nine days.
“Sex on Fire”
“United is not a big club anymore,” they said. “You can’t get big players without the Champions League,” their manager said. Well, look at that: here’s Angel Di Maria in the flesh at Carr… sorry, the Aon Training Complex. But, taking the mickey out of Scousers aside, is Di Maria a luxury or, rather, a necessity? That’s the question that Leo Nieboer investigates in his article for Red Mancunian. He emphasizes that the Argentinean “provides 3 things that [our] midfield has sorely missed; speed, stamina and the conviction to go and beat players,” before straightforwardly concluding with “at the end of the day if you’re not happy about this guy joining the club then there is something seriously wrong with you.”
And if you keep dialing Drew Carey to ask whether the price is right, Republik of Mancunia has some interesting stats on Angel, as well as Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Luis Suarez, and James Rodriguez.
“This could be the end ’cause I ain’t got a home”
While United has finally spent big in a single transfer window, actually breaking a few British records by spending close to £150 million, another burning question remains: what do you do with all the underperforming players? Wayne Barton tackled the difficult task of defending a few of them or, at least, bringing some justice into the picture, in his article for the Talk of the Devils called “Defending the Dross Bros at United”. In it, Barton touches on the popular idea of Sir Alex Ferguson sabotaging the club:
“Ferguson won the league in his last season in charge so were these players really average? This is a very different question to asking if, in August 2014, they deserve to be at the club. Can we really be expected to believe that Phil Jones, David De Gea, Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie are players that the manager felt were average and that he was ‘pissing away’ money?.. Similarly, are United to blame for the escalation in wages? Perhaps they have contributed to the problem but are not solely responsible.”
And the dross bros? “They just weren’t good enough for United to build their next title winning squad around. And that’s not a crime.”
Indeed, but can you say that about some players’ lack of effort? Meanwhile, Doron Solomon looks into the curious case of Tom Cleverley for Stretford-End. Fourteen years into his relationship with United, Tom has left for yet another loan spell, which will be his last before he leaves the club for good. The hope, the brand, the scapegoat. “To many, the player built up unfairly as the next great central midfielder came to symbolise United’s demise in central midfield.” It seems like the right, but never perfect, time to say goodbye:
“Clearly, for both Manchester United and Tom Cleverley himself this is the right decision; his confidence is shot and United need a different type of player in midfield, especially as in the current plight they cannot afford any passengers. However, what has become of him was to some extent not his own doing… He is a good, hard-working professional who can at least leave having captained United; even though it was on a pre-season tour, this was something he was incredibly proud of… I hope he isn’t damaged beyond repair… Finally, those rejoicing at his departure have lost sight of what their football club represents. For all United’s success, it is the ability to bring players through from the academy to first team that is the most long-standing.”
“I see a storm bubbling up from the sea – and it’s coming closer”
The enigma that is Anderson Luis de Abreu Oliveira! Tipped to become bigger than Rooney – as was noted on Twitter, he did, in a way – he’s now the outcast at United with zero resale value. Describing Anderson’s fall for Daily Mail, Adam Shergold writes:
“Over the course of the last seven years, Anderson has spiralled from one of the hottest properties in world football to an overweight laughing stock. It is one of the biggest falls from grace the English game has ever seen.”
A sad story indeed.
Contrary pessimistic predictions just a few weeks ago it’s not all doom and gloom around Old Trafford on 2 September. Probably due to its unexpected nature, United’s deal for Ramadel Falcao’s became a cherry on top of our unusually busy transfer window cake. Henry Winter of The Telegraph thinks that even though United did not really need another striker, the deal makes sense in every possible way. He clearly admires the player:
“This is the real beauty of Falcao. Goals. Just ask his victims.”
The question is, how will United line-up now? In his column for The Guardian Jonathan Wilson thinks that Louis van Gaal will persevere with a 3-5-2 system:
“It was not thoughtless idealism, sticking to a philosophy come what may; above all else, he is a pragmatist, and, besides, 3-5-2 only became his preferred shape in March.”
Wilson also claims that United’s recent signings, such as Di Maria, support this theory – even though van Gaal has said that he might change the system to build the team around the Argentinean.
You can’t lose with United: a 4-0 humiliation brought £1,250 to an absent-minded United fan – as reported by the Daily Mail.
The same outlet also reports on Borussia Dortmund selling 5,000 Shinji Kagawa’s shirts in one day, as the Japanese returns back to his former club. To put this into perspective, recent reports suggest that United sells on average nearly 1.5 million replica shirts per year – second only to Real Madrid.
Stretford End Flags seeks ideas for a new banner.
The Salford Star features a thought-provoking piece on the Class of ‘92 vs Salford City FC.