Whatever the result on Sunday 11 defeats in all competitions this season – seven in the Premier League – dictates that United needs strengthening during the summer. Sir Alex Ferguson, mindful that his squad is an ever evolving beast, has said that he will bring in a further two players in addition to those already signed.
The Scot has signed the golden oldies – Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Edwin van der Sar – for another year in addition to the acquisitions of Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandéz.
Several areas of the team still need addressing but in doing so Ferguson faces some serious limitations on his activity:
- United’s financial situation means that the club will not spend large sums this summer unless it comes from the £75 million bank overdraft the Glazers arranged as part of the bond issue;
- Around £20 million of that fund has already been spent this calendar year on Hernandéz, Smalling and Mame Biram Diouf;
- United’s squad must now comply with the 25 man squad system, which must include at least eight domestically trained players, designated as home-grown.
In goal, van der Sar’s return to the side coincided with a tightening of a defence, beaten all too often pre-Christmas. The Dutchman will complete a final season with the club and Ferguson may decide not to spend unless his favoured option – Hugo Lloris of Olympique Lyonnais – is available at a reasonable price. Lyon’s notoriously hard-nosed chairman Jean-Michel Aulas is unlikely to let one of his prized assets leave on the cheap.
Ben Foster will almost certainly depart, with Birmingham City rumoured keen on the former Stoke City ‘keeper. Meanwhile Tomasz Kuszczak will provide competition for van der Sar, unless Lloris arrives. Ferguson may decide that priorities lie elsewhere on a limited budget and seek to add only a younger ‘keeper to the squad.
United will complete the season with the Premier League’s best defensive record, which reflects the side’s tactical make-up this season. However, four goals conceded against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals points to some of the disorganisation that multiple injuries has brought a times this season.
Rio Ferdinand’s injury problems are chronic and long-term, while Nemanja Vidic’s future is as yet undecided. However, Jonny Evans’ new contract in addition to Chris Smalling’s capture means that Ferguson will bring in another defender only if the Serbian decides to leave. Even then it’s highly unlikely that an established name will join.
Ferguson’s more pressing problems lie in midfield, with a desperate lack of creativity coming from central midfield when Paul Scholes is not afforded time and space; essentially whenever United faces a leading opponent.
Ferguson, a known admirer of both Luka Modric and David Silva, will surely look to recruit one of the creative pair. Each will cost in excess of £25 million and neither will be easy to bring to Old Trafford.
Modric’s position is potentially dependent on Tottenham Hotspur’s qualification into the Champions League, while Silva’s is contingent on Real Madrid’s ongoing relationship with the disappointing Káka. The Spaniard is available from cash-strapped Valenicia and willing to move to England.
Modric and Silva are not identikit players, with the Croatian having proven he can play in the Premier League in three or four-man midfields. Meanwhile, Silva has largely played as a ‘number 10’ in Valencia’s outstanding fluid attacking unit this season.
Should Ferguson miss out on either of his first two options – as is likely – he may turn to CSKA’s Serbian Miloš Krasić or as a desperate last resort out-of-contract Joe Cole.
Michael Carrick’s chronic lack of form has now extended to almost a full season and, at 28, the former Tottenham Hotspur man looks the most obvious senior candidate for departure, with Owen Hargreaves now fit and Darren Fletcher established in the first team.
In forward areas seven into one does not go but Ferguson seems reluctant to release many of his forwards, bar Danny Welbeck who is likely to rejoin Preston North End on loan. One of United’s younger players – probably Mame Biram Diouf – is also likely to leave on loan or face a season on the sidelines.
Javier Hernandéz and Federico Macheda will provide back-up to Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen.
What then of Dimitar Berbatov, whose 12 goals this season and sometimes antipathetic performances have split opinion on the Bulgarian’s value? Perhaps more pertinently, Berbatov seems anathema to Ferguson’s preferred 4-3-3 system.
Yet the Scot, never afraid to show star names the door, is persistent in his support of the Bulgarian forward so expect Berbatov to leave only if a decent fee is forthcoming.
In all it points to a quiet summer, despite the endless media speculation!
Rant’s guestimated first team squad 2010/2011
Edwin van der Sar
* new signing *
Gary Neville (HG)
Rio Ferdinand (HG)
Jonny Evans (HG)
Rafael da Silva (UR)
Chris Smalling (UR)
John O’Shea (HG)
Wes Brown (HG)
Paul Scholes (HG)
Ryan Giggs (HG)
Darren Fletcher (HG)
Darron Gibson (HG)
Gabriel Obertan (UR)
* new signing *
Wayne Rooney (HG)
Michael Owen (HG)
Federico Macheda (UR)
Matt James (UR)
Danny Welbeck (UR)
Mame Biram Diouf
Ben Amos (UR)
Tom Cleverley (UR)
Fabio da Silva (UR)
Ritchie de Laet (UR)
Michael Carrick (HG)
Ben Foster (HG)
(UR) – unregistered (not included in the official 25-man squad)
(HG) – home grown (over 21 but has spent at least 3 years trained at a domestic club)
19 thoughts on “Will Ferguson rebuild United?”
I just can’t see berbatov being kept, especially after Saturdays performance – did you see SAF expression after he missed?
I think he will look to replace him with Fabiano.
What does this mean for the unregistered players???? Does this mean that we won’t be allowed to play the likes of Macheda, Obertan or Rafa at all in the league next season???????
No it just means United don’t have to count them in the 25 man squad but can play them
Thanks Ed, but why has the league brought in this silly rule if clubs can still play those outside the 25 man sqaud, sounds pointless!
anyway back to the team above, i agree with the other 2 but i wouldnt mind seeing zoran getting another crack now he’s had some first team action, maybe after another season out on loan if he performs like he is doing at the minute then surely he must deserve a crack in the big time again????
Its to encourage clubs to play more young players who were trained ‘at home’
i agree with andy too, fair dues to sir alex for keeping a bit of faith and backing his player up, but surely his time is up in a utd shirt, he’s just not cutting it, if wee M.O. had stayed fit he would’ve easily scored more than berba probably with half the playing time too.
I aggree that if Owen had stayed fit we probably would have won this league by now and maybe even be in CL final. Shame about Berbatov hes such a class player but for some reason hasn’t fit in. I actually feel sorry for him, he looks like his confidence is on the floor and just wants to hide somewhere.
Hopefully SAF will be allowed to bring in a good striker if Berbatov goes and another midfield play maker. Of course Hargreaves will be like a new signing too(If he stays fit) Other than that I’d say we’re in ok shape for next year. Then of course we have to try replace Edwin, Giggs and the ginger maestro. GOod luck with that one SAF!
What are odds for
1) Inter winning Euro
2) Real breaking bank to take on Mourinho
3) Ronny being a very unhappy bunny with this
4) Fergie spending 60 mill to bring him back
5) Bye bye Berba
I’ll wager they’re pretty short!
As a minor point if Foster goes do we really need to buy a 3rd keeper, it seems very hard to keep 3 happy unless one goes out of loan. Amos (on loan at Molde currently) or Zieler could fill the 3rd spot.
Poss GK for 2010/11
Newsflash – Zieler joining Hannover in July.
There’s Tom Heaton too – on loan at Wycombe (previously Cardiff, Rochdale, Swindon).
Out of contract in the summer, almost certain to leave. Didn’t even think of him as being part of the first team picture…
Watching Berbatov I became a huge fan of Mame Biram Diouf. I’d rather him play first team football than being loaned away.
And somehow I doubt Owen Hargreaves’ form… 20Legend did the classy return from a lengthy injury, but he is unique.
Anderson will probably be loaned, too.
Thanks for the info.
If we are to buy a quality replacement for VDS it would probably have to be the year he retires. Loris and Akinfeev are unlikely to be happy in the stiffs for a year.
If you go think we have budget for 1 mid to big signing a year then save the keeper one for 2011/2012. And with the squad 25 (without u20 HG) limited the likelihood of these foreign value buys are reduced.
It’s interesting how the home grown rule is phrased. In about 18 months Rafael and Fabio will qualify as home grown. So it really it just incentivises the big clubs to get talent in even younger.
I agree with most of what is said here, however I don’t think after just one bad season Michael Carrick will be shown the door. He was part of the best midfield in the premiership from 2006-2008 and after some poor performances this season I am sure he will bounce back next year.
I couldn’t see him going to any other team anyway. But with Fletcher, Anderson, Hargreaves, Scholes, Gibson and Giggs to compete with Carrick in this position it will be interesting to see how 7 will fit into a likely 3 man midfield.
I hope we can sign Hugo Lloris, sell Foster, sign David Silva, sell Berbatov and possibly sign another striker to replace him.
Will be an interesting summer with lots of speculation but probably not much movement.
Would like us to get Silva but it seems unlikely considering the financial situation and the likely rise in transfer prices post world cup.
Hernandez, Smalling and Diouf could be our lot for 2010!
Looks like Tosic could be on the way out with Foster though. Tosic clearly isn’t a Fergie favourite, he’s keen to get 1st team football and Koln might sign him permanently.
Carrick and Berbatov probably will stay considering the amount of money invested in them plus the fact that they perform against lower/mid table PL/group stage CL sides. They therefore can spell the likes of Hargreaves and Rooney if necessary.
i think cleverly will, and should, get a chance to break into the first team. he won’t be loaned out. he’s been in good form in the the championship, let’s see if he can step up to the premiership.