After Manchester United’s chief executive David Gill added his verdict on the clubs ambition, the saga surrounding the Red Devils has now officially gone full circle off the back of Wayne Rooney’s recent ‘stay or go’ debacle.
Seemingly not rocked by the news that United’s noisy neighbours, Man City, have overtaken them in the wages bill, Gill announced that when the time is right, Sir Alex Ferguson will still have the spending power once associated with the red half of Manchester.
To any United fan, though, this isn’t by any means a revelation. Ferguson has continuously insisted that when an opportunity arises which represents value for money he will look to spend. Sensibly, of course.
The worry for the Old Trafford faithful will be when this scenario presents itself. In a climate where among others, Man City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour, can throw money at any player he wants, will there ever be a player who can provide ‘value for money’ in the modern game?
During Roman Abramovich’s lavish spending stage when he first took over Chelsea, the estimation of a player doubled when Chelsea’s name was mentioned. United themselves bid a reported £10 million for Michael Essien, only for him to head towards London in a deal worth £20 million.
If this trend is to continue, Manchester United’s next big signing could be a long way off. Ferguson has become stubborn in the transfer market since the Premier League became a rich mans play-thing, and he isn’t likely to change that approach. His biggest signing since Dimitar Berbatov’s arrival in 2008 has been the £7 million capture of Hernandez and Bebe, with the latter yet to feature prominently in the first team.
So does that go someway to proving Rooney’s point? Do United lack the clout in the transfer market to beat their rivals to the signing of the world’s next big star? Not according to Gill, that clout is still very much there, it’s just waiting to be used, properly.
The biggest argument Ferguson and Gill can mount is the silverware they have won since the Russian revolution at Chelsea. United beat them in the Champions League final lets not forget, and were only two points short of a record fourth consecutive Premier League title last season.
So is the chief executive doing his up most to hide the cracks in United’s crumbling empire or should fans stay loyal? Rooney staying is no doubt a massive boost and will be a huge relief to the supporters, but the likes of Paul Scholes and Van Der Sar will need replacing with some proven quality, not a Carlos Queiroz recommendation.
If United are to continue to be the number one club in Manchester then in the current game money talks and sooner rather than later Gill and co will have come good on their statements. What’s the common phrase? Put your money where mouth is. That time has come for United.