Do United’s signings mark the end for Fergie?

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is one wily old man. The trophy hoarding he has taken as up as a profession has had others cast envious eyes over his managerial abilities. Having managed at Old Trafford for over twenty four years, is Fergie preparing to vacate his role after his twenty fifth year of service?

Whilst until a couple of weeks ago there was not a sound, not even a murmur from Manchester United as to the long term future of Sir Alex. The three titles in a row and Champions League triumph had kept him young, hungry and insatiable in his hunt for more trophies. Yet something seems to have changed and though all I offer is my personal reading of events round Old Trafford, some of the decisions Fergie is making seem to point to him being maybe out of the picture?

For starters one of the only people who can really make an educated guess on when exactly Sir Alex Ferguson will retire is Preston manager and son Darren Ferguson. ‘I can see him doing this year and next and then that might be it for him,’ he told the Guardian just over a year ago. Well if Darren is right he means within the next few weeks. I don’t think Fergie will be clearing out his office at Manchester United yet, but after next season, his 25th year at the club. It looks likely.

Indicators for such a move come from Fergie’s reluctance to sign David Villa and his purchasing of two very young players. Press reports were and still are excited by the prospect of David Villa joining Manchester United this summer. The deal is dead. Not because Manchester United cannot afford him, far from it. Sir Alex himself has declined to make a bid for the player as he believes at 28 yrs old he does not represent value for money. Not sure about that Fergie. Expect Real Madrid to snare the Spanish international forward.

Now this seems a really strange decision, Fergie in recent years has tended not to buy big name players after he had his fingers severely burnt by Juan Sebastian Veron. Dimitar Berbatov is doing a similar thing now. Hence year upon year we see Manchester United linked with big superstar names only for Fergie to ignore them and buy someone else. This year and already for next season he has done the same, yet something smells fishy.

Manchester United need a striker to take the burden off Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov clearly is not and Michael Owen is never going to do the job before something goes pop. David Villa seems the perfect choice to keep Manchester United not only competitive in the Premier League but Europe too. After crashing out against Bayern Munich in the quarter final stage, you would imagine Fergie understood the need for real reinforcements. Instead the next day we hear of a £6 million deal for a complete unknown Mexican striker called Javier Hernandez. The 21 yr old obviously has some talent but he is seen as a long term investment for the club.

Add this along with the signings of Fulham’s Chris Smalling who is only 20 yrs old, Gabriel Obertan 21 and Mame Diouf 22. United look seriously set on purchasing young raw talents for the future. Not players who can make them better now. Is Fergie preparing to leave Manchester United in a healthy position by bringing in a squad for the future? A decline for the services of David Villa underlines this. Though Fergie may not be at United for much longer, he is slowly but surely amassing a new youthful side so the torch can be passed over smoothly to the next conductor of the Old Trafford orchestra.

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