Date:17th May 2011 at 3:18pm
Written by:
Scott Parker

Could the former Chelsea man bolster United's midfield?

We all knew it was coming, West Ham United have been relegated to the Championship after losing 3-2 at Wigan.

Many said they were too good to go down having the likes of England Internationals Rob Green, Matthew Upson, Scott Parker and Carlton Cole at the spine of the side surrounded by players that would certainly command places in other Premier League starting 11s such as Demba Ba, Frederic Piquionne , Robbie Keane and Manchester Citys Wayne Bridge.

What the football world now anticipates is a mass exodus from the club with the Football Writers Association Play of the Year, Scott Parker, top of a number of clubs summer shopping list; but will the 30 year old London born midfielder be a shock target for Manchester United?

Journeying back a few years I am sure we can all remember Parker as the talented ‘Jimmy’ in the McDonalds advert, so it came as no surprise when he began to make regular first team appearances for Charlton Athletic before establishing himself as their most important player.

After big performances down at the Valley, Parker sealed a move to Chelsea which should have been the platform for him to showcase his ability on the European stage and establish himself as an England regular, but to his misfortune it collided with the Roman Abramovic era – so found himself surplus to requirements week in week out before cutting his loses and moving on.

In more recent years Parker has forced his way into the England International set up and caught the eye of many of the so called big clubs in England, who could all be willing to take a chance on the tough tacking midfield man, despite not making it at Chelsea and being the wrong side of 30.

The situation I would like to compare this to is the one of Teddy Sheringham in 1998.

With Eric Cantona retiring, it was obvious we were not sure on who should replace our footballing idol; was there anybody worthy of replacing Cantona? Surely the expectation would be far too much for any footballer to deal with, especially if a striker was brought in for tens of millions of pounds and expected to be our new Cantona.
So, Sir Alex Ferguson opted for Sheringham at a cut price. Not very high expectations from fans and media alike, he was no Bergkamp (who I actually thought we should have brought in following the Cantona departure) and certainly not seen as the future of United – but he was a man who knew he was brought in to do a job and he knew what that job was – short term glory.

Many viewed Sheringham as a stop gap signing, and at the end of the 98 season when United ended the season trophyless, perhaps it looked like a poor purchase.
However when Ferguson did get the man he wanted ahead of the 1999 campaign, (Dwight Yorke) – Sheringham still had a major role to play at United, and ultimately went on to win the treble, scoring in both FA Cup final and Champions League final and above the important goals, did make a fair amount of appearances in such a fruitful season.

Now I am not comparing the style of play, technical ability, positional sense or even the personality of Sheringham and Parker, but what I am suggesting is that without a doubt, we all know change is certainly on the horizon at Old Trafford. The great Paul Scholes is on the verge of retirement, the ever green Ryan Giggs’ legs will not last forever, the injury prone Owen Hargreaves seems to have given up his fight to stay at Old Trafford and the jury is still out on Darron Gibson – so for a minor fee, why not take a chance on Parker?

Although the media are constantly linking United with Modric of Tottenham and Sneijder of Inter Milan, it seems both players will cost well in excess of £30m and might not even have an interest in coming to Old Trafford – so would it be so bad to take a chance on Scott Parker?

He is proven domestically, he is a leader of men, and to say he could ‘do a job’ is an understatement. He will certainly not be deemed as Scholes replacement which would be a benefit to both player and club.

Scott Parker may not be the future of Manchester United football club, but like Sheringham was in ‘98, he is certainly a man who lives in the moment, gives 100% and I think will take his chance on the big stage with both hands, even if it does only last for two seasons.