It really does look set to be an intriguing summer for Manchester United. Fergie has identified that he might have to make roughly “three signings” due to some of the old heads not being able to quite cut it anymore.
Edwin Van der Sar will retire after the Barcelona game which leaves a big hole in goal. Gary Neville of course has already retired and Paul Scholes’s legs may just have started to give in. Giggs surely can’t continue to be a world-beater at 38 and players like Michael Owen, Wes Brown and Owen Hargreaves got so little game time between them last season.
So what positions does Fergie need to add quality? I think a goalkeeper is a cert, a central midfielder to replace Scholes and Giggs and a striker to take the workload off Berbatov…
The emergence of the Da Silva twins at full back has been a new-found revelation for United this season and they have more than capable cover at full back position. Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans and Smalling represent strength and depth in central defence.
It’s worth bearing in mind that Fergie will have two other potential first-team challengers next season in the shape of two loanees, Wigan midfielder Tom Cleverley and Sunderland striker Danny Welbeck who have both impressed and improved this season. If Welbeck was to make a serious stab and wander into the first-team foray next season then the necessity to add a striker may not be entirely justified. But 4 strikers is modest compared to their city rivals who usually have 4 strikers on the bench!
So who does he sign? Who will replace Van der Sar? Manuel Neuer was the original favourite, further enhanced after his scintillating display in the Champions League semi-final mauling. But Neuer looks set to join Bayern for roughly £22million.
Step forward Ajax goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg who has a number of clubs vying for his signature. The Dutch stopper is one of Europe’s finest and could be an ideal replacement for Van der Sar in many ways. As long as United don’t hand them the league title if they win it next year….given his record in dropping them!
My pick for central midfield replacement? Daniele de Rossi. He has one year left on his contract and after reportedly falling out with his employers; he could be available at a knock-down price. His undeniable quality and mental attributes make him a natural leader and inevitable Italy captain. Very accomplished in the art of defence, he possesses a terrific left foot and his range of passing is comparable to a certain Xabi Alonso. He’s the classic all-round midfielder and would be a top, top signing.
And last, but not least….brace yourselves…United’s third signing should be Diego Forlan. I know what they say about players returning to their old stomping grounds and about second-comings and what not. But Forlan’s first-coming was so modest and disappointing that this doesn’t apply surely! Infact, I foresee a reversal of fortune. Forlan has scored goals everywhere, in every place for every team he’s played for since. He carried Uruguay to the semi finals of the World Cup and was robbed off not winning the player of the tournament. He’s intelligent, he’s skilful, he’s dynamic and most importantly, he knows where the net is. If anyone can reverse this man’s fortunes in England, then it’s Fergie.
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