Before the arrival of the mega minted Sheikh Mansour & Co, Stephen Ireland appeared to be a great prospect for the Manchester City first-team. Having come through the academy he made thirteen appearances for City in the 05/06 season at the age of eighteen and showed a glimpse of a lad who could become a top-class player.
Approaching his 5th season in the first team times have changed dramatically. Manchester City no longer need to rely on their academy and Ireland has dropped way down the pecking order. In what is generally a four-man midfield, City have a total of 10 players to fit into four positions. And when you’re the only one who wasn’t an eight-figure signing your stock drops.
So is Ireland going to leave? And if so, where to? There’s no doubt the lad has talent, and he would most likely be available at a knock-down price. So which club need a quality midfielder on the cheap and would be able to attract him? Manchester United.
With a midfield that hardly puts the fear of God into the opposition United would be keen. Giggs is still a good player, but for how much longer? Scholes has the odd good game, but they’re few and far between now. Anderson hasn’t made any improvement since joining the club.
Square-pass Carrick has too little effect on the game. 80’s Jacko impersonator Nani is incredibly inconsistent; some would just say he’s Bad. Valencia had a good first season but will never be able to replace Ronaldo. Whilst Fletcher and Park are tireless workers, neither are match winners.
Ireland would be a shrewd signing for Fergie. And surely he’d be keen to move. He’d get more playing time and (for the time being) United are a step up from City. There’s Champions League football on offer, playing in front of a considerably bigger crowd and challenging for the title.
The only major roadblock to the move could be Fergie and his cantankerous nature. Stephen Ireland is a bit of a show off. Like pimping his brand new Range Rover with bright pink rims and grill. And the infamous ‘Superman’ celebration.
These kinds of actions wouldn’t be viewed at all well by Ferguson. Then again, if you change your hairstyle Fergie claims you’re a ‘big-time Charlie’. Not that Ireland would have to worry about that with his failed follicles.
United need a lift in midfield without spending much money, Ireland would fit the bill. In March 2009 Ireland said: “Whenever things were getting hot and heavy for United, (Roy) Keane would just get in there and hit someone hard – someone like Zinedine Zidane – and everyone would take their lead from that and they would be off and running. That’s the person I want to be.”
Becoming the new Roy Keane may be a tad ambitious. Though United would give their right testicle for another player like him.
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