For the first time in a long time Sir Alex Ferguson is not greeting a transfer window with his usual ‘I am happy with my squad’ approach.
The United gaffer has already admitted he will be looking to spend this summer and so the exciting speculation has begun…
With Fergie’s squad losing the services, of which have been astounding this season, of goalkeeper Edwin Van Der Sar to retirement a new number 1 will be needed. United already have Thomas Kuszczak and Anders Lindegaard, signed from Norwegian side Aalesund in November of last year.
However Kuszczak has only ever proven to be back up for United and is rumoured to be leaving in the summer in search of regular first team action while Lindegaard appears to have been signed for further back up. It seems then, that one of Fergie’s summer signings will be a goalkeeper. For months the club have been linked with Schalke goalie Manuel Neuer who showed, despite Schalke’s defeat, in the first leg of the Champion’s League semi-final that he is a class act. It is therefore unfortunate that he has expressed a wish to stay in Germany and appears close to signing for German giants Bayern Munich.
Another shot-stopper United have been strongly linked with is Atlético Madrid’s highly rated David de Gea who despite only being 20 years old has established himself as the team’s first choice keeper, and now appears to be emerging as Ferguson’s first choice replacement for Van Der Sar. If David de Gea is capable of taking the first team gloves straight from Van Der Sar at United then he would be a great signing as being young, especially for a goalkeeper, he should still improve and if Van Der Sar is anything to go by still has another 20 years of his career remaining.
The area of the field which has forced Sir Alex to admit his squad may need a slight revamp may well be the midfield. With poor Owen Hargreaves, whose limbs we can only now assume are falling off, looking like he will never play for United again and Giggs and Scholes reaching the ages of 37 and 36 the midfield lacks depth. This certainly shows in a team competing in all domestic competition and Europe. Ferguson has done brilliantly to manage the team through midfield casualties this season but surely will have to acquire himself at least one or two new additions for the middle of the park, after all no one wants to see the days of John O’Shea patching up the midfield again.
One name which keeps cropping up is Wesley Sneijder and this is certainly a very exciting name for United fans. I think United have lacked a player bringing flair to matches ever since the departure of Ronaldo which is why I think it is a massive shame they missed out on Mesut Özil last Summer. However the Dutch midfield maestro may be just the player who can give United that cutting edge back.
I believe, presumably along with many others, for many years Paul Scholes has been the best passer of a ball in the United team and quite possibly in England. However now he does well to play every other week and when he does he is very much hit-or-miss. He may be completely absent during a game or have a very average game at best. Or he may even attempt to snap someone’s legs and just get sent off. It is even possible Scholes may be hanging his boots up this summer. Sneijder would be an excellent replacement for Scholes and would restore United’s creativity in midfield, something Anderson has not been able to establish himself as doing.
United have also been linked to Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi. Darren Fletcher may be a key component to the midfielder but Carrick has been faltering for a couple of seasons now and has not looked as strong as when he first arrived at Old Trafford. Whilst Fletcher was injured this season Darron Gibson fell short of the mark as a replacement and the team did well to scrape through with a clumsy partnership of Carrick and Gibson. Although Ferguson’s seasons of patience with Fletcher paid off he may not wait as long to find out if Gibson comes good and may be tempted to snap up De Rossi.
Alexis Sanchez and Ashley Young also seem likely to be on their way out of their clubs with United being a speculated destination for both. Either signings would add speed and creativity to the attack however may not be wholly necessary as long as Valencia, Nani and Park can stay fit.
It seems this Summer may see two or three arrivals at Old Trafford with the need for a goalkeeper and a cutting edge which the team have lacked at times this season. Speculation has been rife but no one can really guess what the boss is planning. Fortunately there is no better man to trust to bring in the needed players, especially after he acquired the bargain of the season with Hernandez last Summer.