Over the past four years we’ve only spent over 10 million pounds on two players – Dimitar Berbatov (30.2 million) and Antonio Valencia (16 million pounds). The rest have mainly been bargain buys, or signing on youngsters which have seen some turn into masterstroke signings ( ex: Javier Hernandez, Chris Smalling and Da Silva twins), but also have seen some fail miserable ( ex: Tosic, Manucho, Bebe). This has caused cause for concern about the state of United’s finances, considering the fact that during the summer we received 80 million pounds for Cristiano Ronaldo and lost Carlos Tevez to City we only spent 19 million pounds on replacements.
Despite this, under Sir Alex Ferguson we still have carried on being successful, but one could not be a small bit jealous of the spending power of our ‘noisy neighbours’ who have spent hundreds of millions on talent in an attempt to become a superpower in world football. It’s one of many other reasons that has helped re-ignite the Manchester derby and brought it to a new level. Enough about City though. David Gill has always proclaimed that United could still attract the top players in the world, but this was usual rebuffed by many as transfer window after window we failed to capture the likes of Benzema, Ribery, Silva, Yaya Toure and Mesut Ozil. This led to increasing growing of frustrations towards the Glazers, who have crippled this club financially over the past few years.
However, so far this summer they’ve put their money where David Gill mouth is, signing three players in the likes of Phil Jones, Ashley Young and David De Gea for all over 15 million pounds. All look like astute signings and all impressed on tour with the squad. While we’ve been pleased with the expenditure so far this summer, the one issue that United fans all over the globe have been crying out to be sorted since the end of the 2009/10 season has still yet to been solved: central midfield.
We say goodbye to Paul Scholes tonight, Owen Hargreaves horrible and tragic injury career has ended a United career that promised so much, Darren Fletcher has been ill with some deadly virus, Darron Gibson career is now in limbo, Anderson has yet to achieve a high level consistency to match his undoubtedly talent, Tom Cleverley is untried and untested at the highest level. This leaves with us with Michael Carrick who while he does a great job as a defensive midfielder, he hasn’t been as good as he was in his first few years at United. So going into a season with only four natural central midfielders (Darron Gibson is expected to be sold and Ryan Giggs is not really a natural central midfielder) and all of them with question marks over there head is pretty harrowing.
Last season we were forced to play 4-3-3 at the likes of Birmingham, Blackpool and West Brom to ensure we weren’t over run in midfield, which in truth was pretty embarrassing. We also only managed to pick up 2 point out of a possible 18 points in away games against the other top six teams. Our away form proved to be our achilles heel, luckily our home form was so brilliant we still managed to win the title. However, our midfield was shown up once again as we went up against Barcelona in the Champions League final. We had no answer to the brilliance of Xavi and Iniesta, we couldn’t get Javier Hernandez or our wingers in the game. Every-time we won the ball we were hunted down and failed to keep hold of the ball.
So this summer we’ve been consistently linked to the likes of Luka Modric, Samir Nasri and Wesley Sneijder. Luka Modric seems to have his heart set on staying in London and going to Chelsea, Samir Nasri looked likely at one point, but it seems Arsene Wenger would rather risk losing him to City or on a free next year then sell him to United, so this leaves us with Wesley Sneijder. We were linked with a 35 million pound move for the Dutchman last summer, which are manager denied. However, the belief is that we asked Inter how much for Sneijder, Inter gave us a quote, but we didn’t go through with any bid.
If your part of the twitter universe, you’ve undoubtedly heard the endless Wesley Sneijder rumors. One minute we’ve agreed a fee, but can’t agree wages. The next minute we’ve agreed wages, but are still arguing over a fee. Then we hear that Nike could be used to help pay for some of Sneijder’s wages. However, the one main belief that where interested in the Inter Milan superstar is that Wesley has yet to come out and deny any interest. He must have listened to some of Cristiano Ronaldo’s interviews before his move to Real Madrid because the terminology he uses is very similar. Have a look here:
Both stated they were very happy at their clubs, but as we all know Ronaldo left for Real Madrid that summer, how I would love for Wesley Sneijder to do the same and come to United. I said before the ‘silly season’ started that Sneijder was my dream signing. While if either Luka Modric or Samir Nasri decided to join United I would be ecstatic, Wesley Sneijder and Manchester United seems like a dream combination. Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Rene Muelensteen and Eric Cantona have all approved of the playmaker. So will it happen?
Inter Milan have been given out hints all summer that they would be willing to sell the Dutchman, with the latest rumours coming out of Inter that Sneijder has been offered a contract from United and he is considering it. Whether it’s true or not, who knows with this saga? The sooner this deal is sorted out the better, and hopefully we’ll be seeing Wesley Sneijder in a red shirt this season!
Read more of Ryan’s work at his excellent aite We Are United.