At this stage of every season, we all become geniuses in the football world and try convincing our friends we know who the next biggest signing is going to be, at our clubs. Pretty much every top-class player in the world is linked with Manchester United at some stage or another but trying to second guess who Sir Alex Ferguson is really pursuing is something I gave up on a long time ago. Let’s be honest, who spent the summer saying, “Yeah, he’s after that quality Mexican striker, Javier Hernandez.” I certainly never – I didn’t even know who he was before he signed on the dotted line at Old Trafford. But this season has been different to any other; Ferguson needs reinforcements after some very indifferent performances. But just who and what does he need?
We all know that United have a goalkeeper problem. Despite Anders Lindegaard being highlighted as Edwin van der Sar’s long term replacement, is he really ready to fill the big Dutchman’s shoes just yet? On the rare occasion he has had an outing in the first-team, Lindegaard has looked stable enough, but we’ve seen keepers come and go because of the pressure being United’s number one brings – remember Ben Foster? Ferguson’s side have been linked with David De Gea, Maartin Stekelenburg and Julio Cesar to name but a few, and it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if one of them did join in the summer, although the signs are looking ominous for Tomasz Kusczcak.
United’s midfield has been a major talking point this season. At times, it’s looked incredibly lightweight so once again every centre-midfielder around Europe is expected to be the new Roy Keane at the Theatre of Dreams. But this all depends on how much faith the manager has in his youngsters and returning stars. Michael Carrick has come in for a lot of stick because of his inconsistency this season, but Ferguson deemed it necessary to reward him with a three-year contract, so it would seem he’s at United for the duration. Anderson has been missed, and apparently there is this chap called Owen Hargreaves who might be fit again soon – whoever he is. Paul Pogba looks like a player who can come through and obviously Darren Fletcher is still key to United’s success. Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs will need replacing sooner rather than later, but Fergie may be tempted to leave it one more season before breaking the bank for another midfield dynamo.
It’s certainly going to be another interesting summer at Old Trafford. Looking at his squad as it is now combined with recent results, you would assume Ferguson must strengthen his squad, but then again, just how much faith does he have in these youngsters? Ravel Morrison, Joshua King and Pogba are all expected to make the step up, Lindegaard could be thrown straight into action and Hargreaves may be given one more season to prove he can be fit enough to continue his United career. If this is the case, United may once again he surprisingly quiet in the market this summer.
One or two new arrivals are almost guaranteed as the manager has already earmarked a player he wanted in January, but I’d imagine a few going in the other direction to make way for any additions. Either way, Ferguson has a decision to make: does he keep what he’s got and introduce the youth players, or is it time to buy in the reinforcements? At least we can spend the summer trying to second guess United’s next big signing, if he ever comes…
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If Fergie does stick, here’s one player who’ll be looking to make the most of his chance, Ravel Morrison…