“I like Ribery. Bayern wanted £70million for him last summer but it looks like he will get his move this summer. It’s looking like Spain but I do like him.” This is what Sir Alex Ferguson said about the French winger but I believe that Manchester United would be wasting their money (what money you might ask) and have wingers in their current squad that should be serving United more over the coming seasons. Having said that, there are still likely to be signings this summer at Old Trafford, but Ribery is not the answer.
The story about Franck Ribery coming to United had been highlighted more because of the fact that United and Bayern Munich are currently playing each other in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and naturally his name was mentioned prior to the first leg. Ribery may well end up leaving the German club this summer but if there is any truth in a £40m deal than I would be astounded if Ferguson splashed that out on a player after spending heavily on the likes of Dimitar Berbatov and Antonio Valencia recently. The fact that United are not in the best position financially is something that just adds another dimension. Why not spend whatever funds they do have on several players? Looking at United’s wingers does suggest that the quality is already there. Nani is finally showing the form that has been expected from him for sometime, Valencia has proved to be a real success and Ji-Sung Park is one of Ferguson’s reliable and ever improving players- look at how many times he starts in the big games and has started delivering vital goals.
There is no doubting that Ribery is still a good player but is not worth any sort of asking price that has been quoted. Although he has shown that he can be a very effective creative player, it seems that the Ribery-United show was hyped up more because of the fact that the opponents have been linked with him for a while and he got the better of a 35-year-old Gary Neville in the first-leg at the Allianz Arena. The Ribery story first came to prominence when Cristiano Ronaldo was sold to Real Madrid last summer and the Frenchman was supposed to be his replacement. However, it seems that Valencia was always a target and, as unfair as it is to call him Ronaldo’s replacement, the Ecuadorian has proved that it was not a bad thing to miss out on Ribery. As it is, a number of high profile clubs have signaled their interest in Ribery and a move to Spain may be on his wish list. He said: “If I decide not to accept Bayern’s offer of an extension, then certainly I’ll be going to Spain…my wife is from the south, she needs sun…there are many things to keep in mind, I think about my family.”
The fact that the saga has been running for almost a year now means it is on the verge of becoming a story that will not go away until Ribery truthfully states his intentions for where he wants to be playing his football next season. It would be interesting to see if there is any temptation coming from United, but apart from the club’s own midfielders, there are other reasons to suggest that at 27-years-old he should not be pursued. Consistently performing at the highest level is something you need to do if you want to play for United, and the evidence of Ribery is that the majority of his football has been played in Germany, France and Turkey where the level of competition is not as fierce, nor the quality of football, as it is in the Premiership. Along with this I question his attitude. I see Ribery as someone who is quite good at moaning and how he has a desire to move on to other clubs. Taking all of this in to account, I am hesitant to name him in the same bracket of players such as Kaka, Lionel Messi, Rooney and Ronaldo because of his lack of achievements in the game- he has not had the same impact on Bayern as the players listed above have on their clubs.
In a summer that could potentially see more outgoings than incomings at United, the club would be wise not to chase Ribery if that is indeed what they plan to do. Aside from the fact that it is questionable as to whether they have the funds available, the players that occupy the position that Ribery plays are all arriving at the peak stages of their Old Trafford and are stamping their marks on the team. United would be suited to going in to next season without Ribery lining up in their team, and the Bayern Munich man would fit in better elsewhere in Europe.
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