Whilst United fans and, probably, United’s squad were still celebrating and reliving the moment Wayne Rooney decided he could score goals again, Sir Alex Ferguson was pretty much straight back to business.
Of course, he took the time to say a few words about it and revel in the magnificence of it all, going so far as to suggest it was the best goal ever seen at Old Trafford, some feat considering some of the genius that has been displayed in the Theatre of Dreams.
And yet with that, he was quick to move on and not letting himself dwell on it by mentioning his wish that Berbatov and Rooney would forge a formidable partnership away from home as well as producing at home. This was typical Fergie, quick to look forward to the next step and get lost in what has happened, and he has every right to, as United’s form has been patchy at best this season away from home while Old Trafford has become a fortress, and the statistics back this up.
United have won only 3 times away from home this season and 15 of Berbatov’s 19 league goals have come at home. In years gone by these sort of statistics would have meant a team would not have had much chance at challenging for top honours, and yet due to the indifferent form of teams around them, United have been able to claim top stop, with the potential for a strong margin to take hold.
But in the aftermath of the big derby, more comments from Ferguson took my interest and that is the admission that United had tried to bring in an as yet anonymous player in the January transfer window and that he would be trying again come the summer.
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Exactly who this player is remains to be seen, and the fact he kept the identity of the player a secret shows some respect and prevents any controversy and accusations of “tapping up” as well as the other grievances that public courting of another club’s squad member can incur. But it got me thinking about the type of player(s) I would like to see United sign come the summer, assuming “value” (read: available funds) can be seen and the Glazer’s sanction some moves in the market.
In my opinion, the squad needs some fresh legs and perhaps some others need to be moved on. For example, if United are to persevere with Macheda when he comes back from his loan, I see no reason why Michael Owen should be kept any longer, especially considering the superb contribution of Javier Hernandez this season. Depending on whether or not Antonio Valencia can make a return to form on return from injury may make the possibility of a new winger an attractive prospect, as I cannot see Gabriel Obertan or Bebe ever cutting it in the United squad.
Obertan has only shown flashes of potential at best this season and the less said about Bebe the better. These are simply not United players. I ought to mention that I do hope Valencia does make a strong recovery and is able to make a significant contribution to the United team. I have admired his hard working attitude and efficient play in his role as a traditional winder since joining United but I fear that with an injury as severe as his was, we may not be so fortunate as to see the same player that we once had.
Another area that may need addressing is the goalkeeping department. It is far to early to make any real judgement about Lindegaard, regardless of Peter Schmeichel’s early write off of his chance of a successful United career. I believe Tomasz Kuszczak ought to be given his chance to stake his claim to be the number one choice, but as a solid goalkeeper has often been the achilles heel in Ferguson’s teams, the possibility of another signing is certainly very real.
However, the area that United fans probably agree is in most need of some attention is the midfield. Although Anderson and Fletcher have managed to produce some good form this season, there is simply not enough quality or strength in depth for comfort. Paul Scholes, no matter how evergreen he may seem, will not produce the performances week in week out that he was once able to do, Ryan Giggs is the same and Michael Carrick seems to lose confidence as the season drags on, turning in some very average performances.
Finally Darren Gibson, although young has not truly convinced, even though impressing with a strong shot, the rest of his game is lacking and although his talents may come to fruition sometime in the future, a more immediate solution may be required over the summer. Certainly, a loan move will do him no harm.
So with that in mind, who would you like to see join the club this summer? Do you agree with me about the squad? Post your comments and discuss.