Ashley Young has been linked with United for over six months now, even if it wasn’t United the young English winger has been the subject of transfer speculation columns.
Young had a medical at the private Bridgewater Hospital on the 22/06/2011 and completed his signing of Manchester United the day after he successfully passed this medical with no problems. With speculation in mind there are obvious reason why Young makes total sense for Manchester United.
The obvious question that surrounds this move is do United actually need another winger in their team? With them already having players such as: Nani, Valencia, Park, Giggs and Obertan as first team wide players. This position is seen as one that clearly doesn’t need to be strengthened by Ferguson. Giggs is more often used centrally than out wide today, and as for Park he is clearly used as a tactical role rather than a purely wide one obviously due to his non-stop work ethic.
Tom Cleverley is also returning from his loan spell at Wigan Athletic this summer, whilst he is able to play wide he is naturally a central player.
Ashley Young is about to turn 26 years of age this summer and he may have only played 11 games in Europe, none of which have been in the Champions League, but he has played 177 games in the Premier League and clearly understands the league well which is a bonus. With Young knowing the league well and his ability to speak the language, put both these together and it can only be a good thing as surely any ‘settling-in’ period should be reduced significantly. Compare this with other names which have been mentioned, players like Neymar and Alexis Sanchez who both don’t speak the language and don’t know the league at all, and both would obviously cost more. Remember, Nani even though he was playing in the shadows of one of the best, if not the best player in the world Cristiano Ronaldo when he was at United, it took him a good 2 years to find any form that was seen as consistent. So this is a good thing for United as even if it’s only a squad player your signing who settles somewhat instantly is a bonus.
Recently these are times when signings are often linked to ‘value’. Young is out of contract in 12 months time so despite being an English he is a player which is a victim of the inflated transfer fee clubs have to pay. All this aside Young would probably arrive at OT for a fee ranging from £10-£16 million pounds, additionally his wages would be in line with the average wages at the club.
Young’s form in the Premier League has been very consistent over the past four seasons having scored 9 goals in each of them, also he has amassed 60 assists over that time. Ever since Ronaldo left in 2009 United’s wide areas have been lacking goals and assists and Young would seem to fit the bill in that respect. All season long there has been a constant frustration from United fans when they’ve been taking set pieces. United have players that can clearly score from set-pieces the main choice being Nemanja Vidic, and with their corners rarely beating the first man is disappointing. Ashley Young is an excellent set-piece taker and has shown his worth in that respect even against United, where he provided deliveries that were described by SAF as “Undefendable at times”. Clearly it would be a great advantage for United if they were to have someone like this in their ranks who can take good set-pieces, both direct and indirect.
The ‘typical’ United winger would have to be fast, a good dribbler, someone who can cross the ball and someone who is confident on the ball. Truthfully, Young ticks all of these boxes, obviously he doesn’t excel in every area and yes there are better players in the world than Young, but he is reliable and definitely capable of doing the things he needs to. With United’s strikers being ones that feed off good service, especially with Rooney’s best season being the one where Valencia provided good quality service, Chicarito, who has also shown all season that he loves to get on the end of crosses. Despite Young being right footed he is also comfortable on the left hand side, so with United having the opportunity to have good wingers on both sides of the field would be something very handy.
Young is under-underappreciated in terms of the defensive work he does but he is an attacking player. When United are looking to switch in order to be more positive away from home and for example if Nani and Valencia both started and one needed replacing, Young would seem the better option for this instead of Park when looking for a win.
Ashley Young may not be player that most United fans think SAF should sign, this is because more people think we should be concentrating on the central role due to Paul Scholes announcing his retirement.
However in my opinion with Giggs coming to the end of his career and Bebe out on loan, also with Obertan looking to be on his way out in the summer and finally with Park looking like he’s only got 2 more seasons left at OT this signing looks to be a good one both for long term and short term, as Young clearly fits the bill for a typical United winger.