With the world’s finest player© sold, workaholic hero Carlitos off to Untied’s nearest rivals, a Liverpool legend signed as third choice striking replacement, and the spending officially finished – it’s got to have been the worst close season in history. Right?
To crudely paraphrase Salford’s finest, there’s panic on the streets of Manchester, and many fans are wondering to themselves, will Sir Alex ever be sane again? Well, if you’ve been panicking take one paper bag, breath deeply, and let Rant give you ten reasons why everything will be ok.
- We’ve been here before: Remember the summer of 1995 when Andrei Kanchelskis, Mark Hughes and Paul Ince were sold to Chelsea, Everton and Inter Milan? Maybe you panicked then too, and called one of those ridiculous GMR phone-ins to demand the manager’s head? But then Sir Alex came up with the goods and United won the Premier League and FA Cup double with his kids. Things were never the same again.
- Ruud van Nistelrooy: tra la la la la, scored 150 goals in 200 games for United while the Reds won almost nothing. Once again Sir Alex backed his own judgment, packed off the Dutchman to Real Madrid for a song and United secured their first Premier League title in three years.
- You can win with kids: in Danny Welbeck, Federico Macheda, Johnny Evans, Fabio and Rafael da Silva, Darron Gibson, Zoran Tošić’, Cory Evans, James Chester and Davide Petrucci United has the finest kids in the country bar none. Forget the media hype about Arsene Wenger’s children – no not that kind – they almost never progress beyond the Gooners’ Carling cup side.
- It’s time for Wayne: While Ronaldo stole all the headlines, Wayne Rooney continued to be the metronomic heartbeat of United’s team. Give the man a free role behind a main striker and the White Pelé will tear you apart. Back United’s best Scouser to win Player of the Year in 2010.
- United’s rivals are no better: Liverpool has made no significant signings and is set to lose one of their better midfielders in Xabi Alonso. Chelsea has spent £18 million on Yuri Zhirkov, a left winger-cum-defender, purely at the behest of owner Roman Abramovich, and recruited their fifth manager in as many seasons. Arsenal has bought an unknown Belgian defender but is about to loose one of the club’s better forwards. Sure, Manchester City is recruiting like oil is going out of fashion, but does anybody really expect a team of ten strikers plus Shay Given to challenge for the title?
- Dimitar Berbatov will come good: he’s just too talented not to. Sir Alex will work a system around the languid Bulgarian that suits his outstanding talent, brings the best out of Wayne Rooney and enables United to move away from being a one-trick pony.
- United does have a defensive midfielder: remember Owen Hargreaves, he’s quite good you know. Whether the Canadian-Englishman returns in August or January, Hargreaves will give United the bite and tenacity in central midfield that the team so badly needed in Rome last May. And if he doesn’t return to full fitness, Fergie will spend, it’s as simple as that.
- Carlitos isn’t actually that good: yes, fans loved his work ethic, and that back-healed strike that won United the game at Wigan, or the last minute goals that secured valuable points. But are his talent and end-product really worth £25 million? Ferguson thought not or he would have been in the team.
- The fixture computer has been kind: and given United some winnable games in the early part of the season that will boost confidence while the team beds down with new players and into a new system.
- Sir Alex Ferguson knows what he is doing: believe.