Date: 16th June 2011 at 6:45pm
Written by:
Darron Gibson

Would United be better off keeping certain fringe players?

In May 2011, a story appeared on every newspaper, website and television channel which has been very familiar for the past twenty years or so; ‘Manchester United are the Champions’.

Having won the league title by 9 points, many would assume that not a lot needs to be changed in the dressing room at Old Trafford.

The Manager remains as confident with the media and as tactically shrewd as any young whipper snapper getting into the game.

The senior side dominated domestically once again, winning the Premier League and progressing to the latter stages of both cup competitions and firmly establishing themselves as the team to beat.

Finally, looking below the surface, both the reserves and youth side are brimming with talent and have endured long yet successful seasons which included silverware.

So I want to ask, what is the problem? Why are so many members of our squad linked with moves away from Old Trafford?

Edwin Van Der Sar and Paul Scholes speak for themselves – they are retiring from the game whilst at the top; however, Tomas Kuszczak, Jonny Evans, Wes Brown, Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Owen Hargreaves, Darron Gibson, John O’Shea, Bebe and Dimitar Berbatov have all been linked with moves elsewhere.

I would like to state here that firstly, I firmly believe the likes of Evra and Vidic leaving Manchester United is definitely media speculation and your typical column filling rubbish in order to sell a newspaper; and secondly, it is silly season in which every player known to man gets linked with every club in the country – however for the other players on the above list, this seems to be more than just a rumour and could soon well be a reality.

Bebe has finalised his loan move to Besiktas and sadly, Owen Hargreaves has not been offered a new contract so will be released on a free transfer; and what about the rest? Well it is only the middle of June, we have weeks ahead of us so anything can and probably will happen.

In the summer of 1995 Sir Alex Ferguson was criticized for letting superstars such as Mark Hughes, Andrei Kanchelskis and Paul Ince leave Old Trafford. Having lost out on the league title to Blackburn a few months earlier – Sir Alex knew that it was the right time for change, and we all know that decision proved correct as United went on to do well without them over the next few years.

Other superstars and fans favourites have also left United and different stages, usually when Sir Alex sees fit; Ruud Van Nistelrooy, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo spring to mind.

So having previous successful experiences in changing the squad dynamic, is this a case of Sir Alex thinks our squad no longer good enough?

Is it that Sir Alex is joining in with this media obsession that every team needs to be more like Barcelona?

Is it a case of Sir Alex thinks everybody around us will improve and we need to remain one step ahead of our rivals?

Is it a case of Sir Alex feels we were lucky to win things last season?

Our manager has the full trust and respect from everybody associated with the club, from the owners, all the way down to the fans with his staff and players in between; if he feels the wholesale changes are needed then who are we to doubt his judgement.

The question on our lips is why do we need to make so many changes to a winning squad?

We know that there is no room for sentiment in business, especially football, however if he did keep this squad together, surely it wouldn’t be for sentimental reasons and it would be for the simple fact that it is a successful squad, full of experience and more importantly full of winners – not winners from 6 years ago, but winners from 6 weeks ago.

We can expect arrivals this summer, and I fully agree that the likes of Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Edwin Van Der Saar and sooner or later, Ryan Giggs do need to be replaced.

We have already seen Phil Jones brought to the club and I am in full support of new additions – but I am sure many United fans wait and hope that we do not see too many departures as fundamentally, stats speak for themselves; Premier League Champions by 9 points, Champions League runners up.

Follow Nathon on twitter @Nathonw and Redflagflyinghigh @RFFH


19 responses to “Does A Winning United Squad Really Need So Many Changes?”

  1. bruce thomas says:

    Nev VdS Scholes and Hargo are all retired. Bebe and de Laet are on loan. Gibson, Brown and O’Shea are three up for sale, not of the standard needed if we are to match the best. PiG is surplus to needs, as is Obertan(and, hopefully, Evans). Nani and Berba may be used as swap bait for Sneijder and Modric. Altogether the healthiest that MU has looked for several seasons. Add Sanchez and we’re really in with a shout.

    I can see us playing with the same kind of mobile front line we had when we had Tevez and Ronny. Wingers that can play on either wing and through the middle, with pace and invention. CBs who are comfortable going forward and in midfield, or who can double at RB — so that we are not left threadbare with Rio’s injuries and Evans’ lack of form. Add a midfield genius or two and we’re set for 10 years.

    Most interesting question is where is the money suddenly coming from?

  2. bruce thomas says:

    Our summer targets are evidence of SAFs determination to bring the wow factor back to Old Trafford and his determination to take his side to the next level.

    He has set his sights on some of Europe’s most dazzling talent in Wesley Sneijder, Alexis Sanchez, Luka Modric and Samir Nasri to give his team the sparkle it needs to challenge Barcelona’s supremacy.

    The defeat to Pep Guardiola’s brilliant team last month was one of the watershed moments of his career — as was defeat to the same side in 1994 and Champions League elimination to Real Madrid in 2003, which prompted SAFto begin the building of his third great side.

    Out went Beckham, with Ronaldinho the primary target. United missed out on him but signed an unknown Cristiano Ronaldo. Rooney came a year later and Tevez the summer after. They went on become champions of Europe the following season.

    Ronaldo and Tevez have since departed and, despite winning a fourth title in five years, United’s latest success was achieved without the flair of their predecessors. And despite coming within 90 minutes of another Champions League crown, their humbling Barca loss, showed just how far away they are from being considered Europe’s best.

    SAFs hand has been forced. Scholes’ decision to retire at the end of last season and Giggs’ aging limbs have robbed United of two their most enduring flair players, while Berbatov has failed to provide consistency while Fletcher and Carrick cannot come close to raising United to the level of Messi, Iniesta and Xavi in centre midfield.

    Flair has been made a priority in what hopefully turns out to be a record-breaking summer of transfer activity.

  3. Peter says:

    The squad is weak, only Fergie’s genius combined with Chelsea and Arsenal allowed us to win the league last year. We got humiliated by Barcelona. The clear out is a necessity to allow young hungry players to step up (Welbeck, Cleverly, Pogba, Tunnicliffe, and Morrison) while also making room for new players (probably 4-5). In all honesty why would we retain Brown, O’Shea, Bebe, Gibson, De Laet, Obertan, Diouf, Evans, the Pig, or Macheda? None of these players will ever be important to a first 11 plus subs bench. Serious doubts also over Carrick and even Anderson but wouldn’t sell them this summer. De Gea, Lindergaard, Amos, Rafael, Fabio, Evra, Jones, Ferdinand, Vidic, Smalling, Varne, Nani, Valencia, Young, Park, Morrison, Cleverly, Modric, Fletcher, Carrick, Anderson, Tunnicliffe, Pogba, Giggs, Rooney, Hernandez, Berbatov, Owen, & Welbeck plus another purchase is a well balanced young squad of 30 but with a core of very experienced players. Really no need to keep the dross inflating the wage bill (and probably restricting the summer acquisitions) and blocking the development of the younger players.

  4. Anneeq Anwar says:

    Simply winning aint good enough, this is united we have to win in style! It was cringeworthy watching united this season, our players didnt have the fantasy that previous man utd sides have had. We were actually really lucky Chelsea and Arsenal lost the plot last season!! Along with Fergie’s genius especially when he stopped everyone from talking to the press after one particular defeat putting all the media attention on him and taking the spotlife off the players.

    I think plenty have to leave; Carrick, Owen, Berbatov, Nani, Anderson, Brown and Hargreaves as loyal as they have been arent consistent Xfactor players that deserve to be wearing that United Jersey. Probs the biggest shame of them all was Owen Hargreaves, he could have been Man Utd’s Makelele, pulling the strings in the United midfield, its a shame injury prevented what could have been a fantastic career for him!

    I really think that the midfield boils down to the acquisition of 3 players: Sneijer, Nasri and kaka. Nasri is probs wishful thinking but i think Kaka and Sneijder are real possibilities and Fergie should real and inter hard for their signatures instead of chasin pet projects like sanchez.

    The striking options are fine as they are, especially seen as tho we have Welbeck coming back and the youth stars Morrison and Tunicliffe progressing very smoothly. And the defense is just fine with Smalling and Phil Jones.

  5. The changes sir fergi is doing is fundamental 4 the future,the squad of last season was good but not good enough to win champions leauge,man u r the best runners up is not acceptable to them,the team hes currently buildind is desighned to win CHAMPIONS LEAUGE n ofcourse the domestic leauge
    barcelona set the bar high now its up to man u to set it a notch higher.
    In sir alew we trus,in man u we trust….GGMU!!!