Date: 4th July 2011 at 7:27pm
Written by:

John O'Shea

Should Johnny keep marching on at United?

Despite the outlay of over £50 million pounds many United fans still expect at least one more big money signing before the transfer window closes.

Luka Modric, Samir Nasri and Wesley Sneijder seem to be the most prominent protagonists of United transfer target stories, although you could also add Alexis Sanchez to that list as although waters been poured on the ‘moving to United’ fire there’s still some smoke left as his move to Barcelona drags on.

Like any other United, I more than welcome quality players coming to the club and would have no problem with any of the aforementioned players arriving at Old Trafford, even if it meant an outlay of £30 million.

There may remain some doubt as to whether United will sign any more players this season, but one thing is certain at least one or two seem destined for the exit door.

John O’Shea, Wes Brown, Darron Gibson, Gabriel Obertan and Dimitar Berbatov are the most commonly named players when it comes to the predicted United exodus, with some papers claiming that the likes of Jonny Evans and Tomas Kuszczak are also on their way.

Let’s be perfectly honest, you’d be hard pressed to find a United fan who’d lose too much sleep over the exit of Obertan, there’s a strong -or at least half decent – argument to be made that all of them could still offer something at United next season.

The loss of Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Edwin Van Der Sar and to a lesser extent Owen Hargreaves, deprives United of not just four experienced players but also particularly with the first two, men who know exactly what it means to play for Manchester United.

It’s not just about being able to perform when you’re at a club like United, it’s about understanding the sheer scale and size of the behemoth you’re now part of. It can overawe some players, while others may not ever fully grasp that the ‘United way’ doesn’t just mean what happens on the football pitch but also seaps into every fabric of your life.

Ryan Giggs’ extra marital indiscresions aside, almost every United player often has to conduct themselves in a manner that doesn’t give Sir Alex Ferguson cause to take his hairdryer out of the cupboard.

United is a beast far unlike any other in English football as no other club can come close to the fan base, history and expectation that goes with putting on that red shirt.

When winning a record breaking 19th title and making the Champions League final is seen as something of a disappointment in certain quarters, when your lowest attendance is larger than almost any other teams biggest then you know your part of something special.

Scholes and Neville know about being part of United better than anyone, while VDS and Hargreaves know what it’s like to acheive the sort of success the club demands.

O’Shea, Gibson and Brown have all been brought through the clubs ranks and played their part in it’s history. They also are still capable of doing a job, albeit from the fringes of the squad. While in the past I’ve argued that such a dedicated servant as Brown deserves to be allowed to move on, due to his lack of first team opportunities, I’d actually like to see Gibson and O’Shea kept on. Although that is highly unlikely, I think it’s important to keep hold of experienced players, or those that have come through the ranks and would actually welcome the two Irish internationals staying on.

Gibson may be persona non grata among many Reds but I’ve long since championed him as underrated squad player who serves a purpose especially against the so-called smaller clubs.

O’Shea began last season making me wanting to rip my hair out but actually proved his worth towards the end of the campaign with some assured displays. Regardless of whether you appreciate O’Shea or not, there’s no denying that any player with over 300 appearances for the Reds at least has the benefit of bringing experience to the side.

That brings me to Berbatov, who I think should be kept at the club at practically any cost. The Bugarian brings an extra dimension to the United side and although he’d obviously be behind Wayne Rooney and Chicharito in the pecking order he’s still a great option should injury or the amount of games be called into account.

Berbatov may not have convinced everyone but with 20 league goals last season, there’s no arguing that without him, it would be 18 titles instead of 19.

Even Kuszczak could still offer something at United, despite his somewhat self destructive display at Ewood Park. Unlike Anders Lindegaard the Pole’s got some real experience which may come in useful should David De Gea need a bit of a rest.

With three new signings and all the young players at the club plus the retiring of some of the ‘old guard’ now may not be the ideal time to see more trusted servants depart the club.

Buying another big name star may seem like the most important thing Sir Alex Ferguson could do this Summer but keeping hold of some of the more experienced players at the club should be the real priority.

Am I chatting bare sh*t yo! Or is there some reasoning to my rant? Feel free to comment, suggest and abuse below.



7 responses to “Keeping Players Not Buying Them Should Be United’s Priority”

  1. Steve says:

    I agree, at least in part. A club like United needs solid squad players to fill in for our first teamers when they are injured, and to allow them to rest in less high profile games. In return, they get their chance to impress and force their way into the first team.

    A player like O’Shea is a good example of this. Being honest, he’s never going to set the world alight, and he never has in the past. Yet he has peformed a role arguably more important than our ‘stars’ who command huge fees. He’ll be there at right back, left back, central defence or even midfield holding the team together and putting in a shift. He’s solid, if a little unspectacular.

    The same cannot be said for other names on your list. Obertan, Brown and Kuszczak have all had chances in less high profile games and have come up short. These are players who are unable to peform even a squad role at United. Not good enough, and need to be moved on.

    As an aside, I would stress that Brown has been a great servant for the club. Like Neville, I feel that he can leave if he’d like (to seek first team football), but if he’d rather stay, he should not be pushed out. He’s deserved that at least.

    Gibson, for me, falls in between. He’s been inconsistent sure, but has at times shown true quality. His peformance in the ‘Scholes’ role in the early stages of the Champions League a high, Everton in the league a distinct low.

    Finally, there’s Berbatov. Who, for all his failings, should not be on this list. I feel that a huge managment failure for Fergie came in the Champions League final when he omitted Berbatov even from the bench. Even if he was never going to come on, surely he could see that leaving him out completely would cause much more harm than good? Talented? Without doubt. Able to peform a role for United? Definitley. We should endeavor to keep him for years to come, as I agree that he brings something different to the squad. Someone, I don’t know who, once talked of those so naturally talented who could play the game walking. Players like Cruyff and Cantona. He may be frustrating, but perhaps even Berbatov.

  2. bruce thomas says:

    I love Berbatov, but his game doesn’t suit the kind of football United and SAF succeed best with. In those games when the onus was on Berbatov to rise to the occasion, he failed, and more than once. Lovely player. Great shame.

    As for Gibson, PiG, Obertan, Evans etc — no loss whatsoever. The Pole’s last run out was more shaky than Hilario Gomez. Evans is now automatically targeted as the weak link in defence. Still has terrible positional sense and not mush better distribution.

    Brown might still be a contender had he not told SAF to “Fuck off” in a heated exchange. O’Shea is a great all rounder, but now we have Phil Jones.

    I think all the right decisions are being made and I’m more than happy with the direction SAF is (finally) taking. In answer to your question: I think you’re more wrong than right.

  3. Jezz says:

    I agree. We definitely need more creativity and goals from our midfield and this has not yet been addressed. However making too many changes to the squad could lose the character and experience of the team overnight. This and Fergie’s genius has made us punch above our weight.
    I use the downfall of the Liverpool side after the 70’s/80’s as an example. Previously they would have added one or maybe two strong players who would become inducted in the team ethos and way of playing. Souness. Beardsley. Barnes. Etc. They plummeted (hooray!) when they started buying too many players in, and of poor quality. We won’t fall into the same trap as far as player quality is concerned but we mustn’t lose the Utd spirit with wholesale changes, particularly when we just don’t know when the great SAF will call it a day.

  4. Peter says:

    You must joking? Surely you are. With the exception of Berbatov, the rest of the players mentioned range from utter rubbish (e.g. Obertan) to mediocre at best (e.g. O’Shea). The squad is already bloated and keeping these guys will only limit the chances available to the younger players while decreasing the amount of funds required to purchase badly needed re-enforcements and pay their resultant salaries. Playing these guys will not help us to close the gap on Barcelona while blooding young players and adding talent might.

  5. tom says:

    What an amazing article. The best I’ve read on red flag ever and the following is what sets us aside from everyone else; ‘United is a beast far unlike any other in English football as no other club can come close to the fan base, history and expectation that goes with putting on that red shirt’

    Keep up the good work.

  6. Tejas says:

    In the article you mentioned only one side of the story.SAF cares for every player who has played and plays for Manchester United.

    Lets go with John o’Shea
    I would sure love to see him stay,but how many games he would play this season is the question? i know he is a utility player who can be used anywhere when required.Defense is covered up with 2 new centre backs as cover up.fabio can cover up at both LB and RB.Midfield and wings are covered up with a potential signing and Ashley Young respectively.Thats why its best for John to prolong his career somewhere else for his own sake to get constant first team football

    Darren Gibson
    Same is the case with Gibson, he was always on the fringes of first team till now and with a potential signing on the cards,Anderson finding his feet,Fletcher and Carrick already there and Tom Cleverely coming back his chances are also gonna be limited at United.He is just 23 and at a stage where regular football has to start for him now to make a mark for himself.

    Wes Brown
    Surely no place at United now for him.Age,new additions to the squad,fitness are fast going against him

    He was anyway unhappy being No.2 at united and now after buying two new keepers and demoted to no.3 his surely not gonna stay here and warm the benches.

    I dont agree with this one though that he should be sold.Yes the reasons are same for him too that park,valencia,nani and now young are there to play on the wings and his chances too are gonna be minimal to say the least.But I would really like to see more of him to actually make a judgement.I think we all havent seen much of him yet in the reserves and thats why i would like to see one yr of him playing the Carling and the FA cup matches.

    I can see why his name is on the list, with one yr left in his contract SAF might want to maximise whatever he gets back of the 31 mil we paid for him.But he is one i want to see stay at united just for the sheer moments of magic he can produce.He is a special player even if a bit lazy and chicha’s resurgence hasnt helped him out certainly.But with United playing 60 games in a season and with injuries likely to happen, i dont think owen and welbeck are that good to carry the attack.thats why still feel Berba still has a role to play.But if has to stay here he has to accept that he is not going to start every game for United from here on.

    one name i would also add to the list is Johnny Evans.I know he is good but being the 5th choice CB after phil jones arrival wont go down to well with him at this age of his career

    I think Its make or break season for many united Players this season

    The 3 new players De Gea,Young,Jones will surely be kept a close watch on but besides them many already established players will be watched by close quarters

    Rio ferdinand – age is catching up + 2 new centre backs arriving, he has to be on his heels otherwise next season his time would also be up

    Rafael/Fabio – If john o shea leaves its upto the brothers to fight for the RB position and if both dont take it higher from their last season’s performance a new RB at united next season is highly likely

    Nani – good last season but fell short against the big teams with ji sung preferred over him.also looks to be seen if he is consistent enough to carry the form this season.

    Anderson – Although we havent seen the best of him but still like the look of him. This is a big season for Anderson.firstly he has to stay fit and be consistent and he’ll fighting for places with likes of fletcher,carrick,the new signing if it comes , cleverely and even Ji sung i would say

    Berbatov – I presume he’ll stay here this season and being the last season of his contract and he showing his desire to fight for his place it make or break for him

  7. wiuru says:

    I really can see where the article is comming from , but we have an able management who day to day are looking at every player . They have identified flaws etc as much if not more so (their job ) than us fans . The weight of expectation is constantly there my faith is in SAF he will make changes without fear or favour and our youth will come through .