If certain newspapers are to be believed then Sir Alex Ferguson is set to embark on the biggest Summer spending spree in the history of Manchester United.
In Sunday’s News of the World it was claimed that the United manager, was determined to bring Tottenham’s Luka Modric along with Everton’s Jack Rodwell and Sunderland’s Jordan Henderson to Old Trafford.
Although this is the same newspaper that last year claimed we were going to buy Samuel Et’o for around £30 million, the NOTW is not the only paper claiming United are chasing at least one of the aforementioned trio.
The Mail on Sunday also claimed that Rodwell will be part of a bidding war between United and City, who are no doubt overwhelmed with the fantastic impact James Milner’s had this season.
The story of United being interested in Jordan Henderson is so old and has been repeated by so many publications you’d be hard pressed to find even one British newspaper that hasn’t ran that headline on it’s back page at some point during the season.
The Sunday Express adds even further transfer seasoning into the pot by claiming that United have all but done a deal with Southampton for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
While none of the above periodicals could be considered bastions of journalistic integrity, the smart money is on United buying at least one or two players in the Summer.
The biggest transfer headache Sir Alex faces is trying to find a replacement for Paul Scholes who regardless of whether he does or doesn’t retire cannot be expected to provide the attacking drive from midfield next season.
Readers of this site will know that I’m very much in favour of giving Tom Cleverley a chance to prove his worth although whether Sir Alex would risk it is doubtful to say the least.
It seems Modric is being touted as the ideal replacement for Scholes as he’s one of the best attacking midfielders in the league and capable of unlocking almost any defence with either a run or a killer pass.
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Well that’s what everyone says anyway, although I’m not entirely convinced. I agree Modric is a useful player and can be a joy to watch but I have my doubt as to whether he’s good enough to make an impact at United.
This may sound crazy but before you all start calling me a mentalist, please allow me to elucidate.
Last season Modric scored three goals and bagged the same number of assists in 21 EPL starts. Not a bad record I’ll agree. This season in just one less start he’s grabbed one goal and one assist- the same amount as Tom Huddlestone who’s played half as many games- in a much deeper position.
I’m fully aware that assists and goals aren’t everything- anyone who admires Michael Carrick will tell you that, but for an attacking midfielder who’d be brought into United as our main threat from the middle of the park, then one goal and one assist in 20 games is a tad worrying to say the least.
Then there’s the price tag being bandied about- around £35 million. It seems every time United show an interest in a player- especially a Spurs one- we’re expected to pay well over the odds.
It’s all well and good criticising teams like Liverpool and City for getting their pants pulled down but if we then go and follow suit, it just makes us as foolish as we all know they are.
My final concern with Modric is simply his lack of consistency, he strikes me as being brilliant one game, anonymous the next. In some cases even in the same game he can go from the best player on the pitch to almost invicible in a matter of minutes.
Take the United game at White Hart Lane for example- he was mint in the first half yet far less impressive in the second admittedly he was alot better than Bale or Van der Vaart, but my point is, I’m sceptical that he’d be able to display his talent often enough to justify such a huge fee.
Paying £35 million on a player who’s had plenty of Premier League experience would mean you’d expect him to perform immediately. Yet if Modric didn’t how patient could we afford to be?
Signing a youngster gives you the freedom to blood them in slowly and lessens people’s expectations but if you sign someone who’s already proven then the honeymoon period is much less.
Take Berbatov for example, the reason he was able to take two season’s to settle in is because, first Ronaldo and then Rooney, carried the goalscoring burden for him.
If Modric was our main attacking midfielder and failed to sparkle immediately- could we afford to keep playing him? I seriously doubt it.
Although due to their lack of EPL experience they’d probably be a bigger gamble than Modric, you could more than likely pick up the pair for a combined fee of £35 million. At least giving you the option of rotating them and possibly even trying them together as part of a three should the occasion arise.
Throwing such a huge sum on a player who despite being brilliant on his day- still doesn’t produce those days often enough for my liking, is a gamble I’d personally like to see United avoid.
Although Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rodwell are hardly the most consistent trio – they are all still very young and learning their craft. Even though I’m not a big fan of Henderson- to me he’s just a poor man’s Michael Carrick – he will improve and is only 20 years-old.
Rodwell and Oxlade-Chamberlain are two of the hottest properties around and if the figures are to be believed- around £25 million for the pair, then I can see a certain value in that investment.
The value of investing £35 million on Luka Modric is doubtful to say the least.
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