After failing to win a fourth successive Premier League title or anything else of note at Old Trafford this past season attentions have once again been focused on ownership issues, protests and underperforming stars, is it time that Sir Alex Ferguson oversaw a summer clean up at Manchester United?
David Gill, Manchester United chief executive, had previously told the Green and Gold movement to stop moaning as the club have £95million to spend this summer. However, BBC News recently revealed that the Red Devils’ owners the Glazer family are £1.1billion in debt – £400million that had previously been thought – after borrowing extensively against their shopping mall business, as well as their NFL franchise the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
So, with the ownership issue rumbling on and showing no signing of coming to a happy conclusion for the United fans Sir Alex may opt to sell in order to bring in funds to refresh the squad as they have many saleable assets.
Probably their most saleable asset who they could probably live without is former Tottenham player Dimitar Berbatov. The 29-year-old is a talented and misunderstood player, but it just has not happened for him at Old Trafford. It may be better for all parties concerned to sell the player as another season being labelled as a ‘flop’ would make his stock fall further. His goal scoring record has not been terrible at Manchester United (14 in 43 games in 2008/09 and 12 in 43 games in 2009/10), but it isn’t great and a lot less than the Old Trafford faithful were expecting from a player who cost the club over £30m in transfer fees. It’s rumoured that AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg and Juventus are interested in the player and it wouldn’t be a bad shout for Tottenham to go back in for him as they search for a front man.
Another Red Devil who could be sold to raise funds is also an ex-Tottenham player Michael Carrick, 28, who has been warming the bench for much of the last Premier League campaign, so it was a surprise for some when he managed to find himself in England’s World Cup squad ahead of Tom Huddlestone, who hasn’t got the experience but is the better player in my opinion.
According to chief exec Gill the midfielder cost the club £14m, which had various clauses attached to it which could have risen to £18.6m…I doubt they will get their money back there.
Manchester United also paid over the odds (reportedly around £17m) for young Brazilian midfielder Anderson. The 22-year-old has become something of a misfit at Old Trafford and perhaps it is time that he was sold on. I don’t doubt that he is a promising young player, but he was bought as an attacking midfielder and has mostly been deployed in a deep role…much in the same way many argue Jon Obi Mikel has been played out of position at Chelsea.
After the Premier League champions have let the likes of Joe Cole (a Red Devil’s target), Michael Ballack and Juliano Belletti go out the door, with Deco and Paulo Ferreira also likely leaving the club they will undoubtedly seek to strengthen their squad, which could make the need for United to have a team shake up a must.
With cash raised from sales it could go some way to pay for their reported targets such as Lassana Diarra, Karim Benzema, Luis Suarez and David Silva. Their need to freshen up the squad is made all the more important as they have many old players like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and the very much injury prone players Michael Owen, Owen Hargreaves and Rio Ferdinand.