Date: 20th August 2012 at 1:53am
Written by:

They don't make 'em like this anymore

"Have a bit of that you scouse c*nt!"

A few days on from Manchester United finalising what could be described as the most important transfer in Premier League history, I have found some reactions of the United faithful absolutely astounding.

Securing the signature of Robin Van Persie proves a number of things to the footballing world:

Firstly, it sends a message to the rest of the country that there is still sense in football.

Money isn’t the be all and end all to every player – and this world class forward, in his own words, made his choice because “Manchester United breathes football”.

Yes, I accept he may be on a good wage at Old Trafford, but ask any Arsenal fan and they will tell you, he was on a good screw at the Emirates. Ask any gloating City fan and they will happily tell you in no uncertain terms, whatever United could offer in wages, City could, and would, easily double it. Sense and passion over finance with Mr Van Persie.

Secondly, this transfer, I believe, will force the end of a Premier League giant. Arsenal have been a major threat to United since the Premier League began in 92. A club with rich history, tradition and a solid foundation bringing players through from youth level, season after season. However, over the past eight years, too many superstars have walked through the exit door.

Every great team goes through a transition period, every great team loses a superstar – but this Arsenal side have lost their very best player, to a United side which was already head and shoulders above them in terms of quality. Unfortunately for Arsenal, a club I respect, I believe this is the end. I only hope for their sake they do not become the new Liverpool.

Finally, the importance of this transfer is, fundamentally, the player. Robin Van Persie is a world class striker. A game changer. A leader. A winner. Granted, there is the niggle of injury problems, but what more can a man do than keep himself fit for a whole season to prove his worth?

Moving away from Van Persie, and on to the section of United fans who were unhappy with this deal – the fundamental problem is apparent: “We do not need a striker, we need a central midfielder.”

Why hasn’t Sir Alex invested in a world class central midfielder?

The simple answer is, there isn’t a world class central midfielder out there who is available.

Many of you will challenge this answer by rolling off the names of 10-15 central midfielders playing in the Premier League, in Europe, and around the world. But, thinking seriously and logically for a moment, ask yourself, would they actually improve our squad?

Obviously there are players like Ozil, Schweinsteiger, Xavi, Iniesta and Yaya Toure who are all outstanding footballers – but not one of them would join our club. There is more chance of Gary Neville coming out of retirement to play for Liverpool, than any of these players leaving their clubs. So on to a more realistic list of targets.

This week we have seen a talented young Englishman in Jack Rodwell join the noisy neighbours. Have we missed out? I do not think so. £15m for a player who couldn’t force his way into the Everton side most weeks.

The Newcastle pair of Cabaye and Tiote. Industrious, strong, creative. Would you pick either player ahead of Cleverley or Anderson? If this is even a debate, then the answer to signing them is a firm no. I do not want big bucks spent on a player who ‘might’ get in the side. It is either a signing in which they are the first name on the team sheet, or it is a young player who we can develop.

Luka Modric – an exceptional talent who rarely loses the ball – but £35m? Is he that much better at keeping the ball than Carrick or Scholes? He certainly doesn’t possess the hard work of a fit Darren Fletcher. Where exactly would Modric fit in and who would lose their place to him?

More names in the mix are Sahin, M’Vila, Moutinho and Lucas Moura. We have all played Football Manager, we have all won the league with Huddersfield. It isn’t real. Just because a player turns out great in the game, and had a good season last year in France or Portugal, doesn’t mean it will work in real life.

We have seen some very poor central players try and fail over the years at Old Trafford. Liam Miller, Kleberson, Djemba Djemba, Darron Gibson – need I go on?

I do not for one moment argue that, sooner or later, Scholes and Giggs will need replacing. I fully understand Fletcher may not return as the tenacious player he once was.

I accept Kagawa and Powell may take time to get used to the rigours of the Premier League.

What I cannot and will not accept is that the Robin Van Persie transfer money should have been spent on a ‘world class’ central midfielder.

The vision of Scholes, the skill of Ronaldo, the leadership qualities of Roy Keane, the fight of Bryan Robson… this player simply does not exist.

All comments welcome.

To respond to this story, or any of my news updates, I am on Twitter: @NathonW


79 responses to “The Reason United Haven’t Bought A ‘World Class’ Midfielder”

  1. sean says:

    I donno why idiots keep writing blogs about central midfielders, do you know your team? do you know football ? We already have central midfielders in Tom Ando Giggs and Shinji who also apears to be able to play that role and Fletcher when he gets fit, then we have Scholes a deep lying creative mid and Carrick. What united lacked in the last few years was an attacking midfielder ( kagawa) and defensive midfielder (tiote or Martinez). Now we have the attacking midfielder what we need is someone who gonna sit back protect the defence while our creative and hard working central men enjoy going forward, and am not talking about Carrick am talking about world class, players who knows that role like the back of their hand

    • NathonW says:

      And who is this world class player you speak of?

      • sean says:

        Errrrrrr Martinez M’villa Bousquet and Tiote, those are world class. Carrick plays that role but the only attribute he’s got is passing, to be world class in that role you should be able to pass with both feet like Carrick not necessarily 50 yards passes, but the most important attributes are defensive qualities such as positioning movement reading covering tackling wit a bit of aggression, Carrick is not agressive definatly posh and softy, he try to intercept instead of trying to close down an opponent and tackle ( see Everton’s 4th goal when we drew 4 4 last season, pieenar and Cahill or Osman made 3 or 4 quick passes around him on the edge of the box which lead to a goal, he should been pressing and closing down and hounding one of those guys instead of standing in between them as they pass it around him, he was a bypasser in that phase and two more before that, remember Barcelona 1st goal against us in Wembley? See him trying to intercept an iniesta pass to xavi instead of closing down he stood opened his long legs and thought let see if you can pass it through here). The third and most important thing about that role is being able to keep the ball under pressure, when people talk about makelele they talk about breaking play what they forget about is how good he was on the ball, I remember couple of season ago we played new castle at st. James park and lost, our biggest problem that night was Tiote, Rooney couldn’t handle him, he fooled him with twist and turns, slick controls, he evaded Rooney all the time which was the key to unbalancing our midfield. So a world class DM must be defensively sound must be able to pass and must be excellent under pressure. Carrick is not world class since he only got one of those qualities

        • NathonW says:

          I can see your point and to an extent I do agree with you, but as I initially said in the article; those real world class players will not leave their clubs (Schweigsteiger, Yaya, Busquets) – and those who are available, are over priced.

          Javi Martinez for £40m is a joke. If he was world class. he would be a Spain regular. I know they have alot of quality, but he is 6th choice.

          M’Vila is unproven at the highest level yet going for £25m.

          Tiote is an excellent ball winner, but does he have anything else to his game? Goals, definitely not. Creativity, I am not sure.

          It seems we all want a mix of ball winner, passer, creative play maker. This player doesn’t exist.

        • Matt says:

          Sean is 100% right. Holding midfielder is the key. Tiote doesnt need to attempt 50 yard balls, as long as he is good on the ball and plays the little passes that start off the moves he provides more defensive ability than the rest of the united midfield put together. Why would he need to be a creative world beater when his presence will release Kagawa, Nani/Young/Valencia and the front two to do what they do best.

          The attacking force of valencia, evra, young, kagawa, nani, rooney and van persie would scare any defence, but crucially any counter attack made would have to get past vidic ferdinand and tiote to be successful.

  2. bucci says:

    All of u have really given your views towards the central mid position nd I know am late though, buh I want to know wat happened to marek hamsik or isn’t he a good one?????

  3. Anagafo Michael says:

    I disagree with you. We lost Ronaldinho and later Yaya Toure to Barcelona because we felt they were not worth the prices placed on them. History has proved us wrong. There is someone out there who can do it well and better than Carrick. We must look for that one.

    • NathonW says:

      Yes I cannot argue that we have avoided taking a risk in the past, and as a result we have lost out on the players you mention.

      However, putting the boot on the the other foot – we have taken risks with the likes of Kleberson and Veron. Neither of these players turned out great.

  4. Clayton says:

    “The Newcastle pair of Cabaye and Tiote. Industrious, strong, creative. Would you pick either player ahead of Cleverley or Anderson?”

    Tiote? Definitely in my opinion. Miles ahead of Anderson and definitely ahead of Cleverly in the holding midfielder role. Don’t think there is any other player that matches Tiote in that role at the minute!

    • NathonW says:

      Ok so would you spend £20-£25m on Tiote then?

      • Clayton says:

        £15m or somewhere there for Tiote are appropriate in my opinion yes.

        Feel free to criticize though. Not saying my opinion is the best one. But I honestly think so.

        • Matt says:

          I think it is the best one. Better than suggesting carrick or anderson and fletcher when fit are anywhere close to Tiote’s quality in the position which most fans seem to acknowledge that we need. Central Defensive Midfield. I think 18 million could tempt Newcastle and would be a good deal for all parties. Tiote is proven enough in the Premier League not to represent a huge risk, whilst being young enough (26) to get a good 5 years out of him and make the transfer fee worthwhile.

        • NathonW says:

          The risk is the fee. £18 for a player who might not even start.

          For me, if we land a central midfielder, we need to ensure he is going to be the first name of the teamsheet everyweek.

          I do admire your passion and enthusiasm for Tiote and will hold a bigger interest in him now as many of you seem convinced.

          I am never too pig headed to admit I am wrong about a player. I will hold my hands up if he proves himself to be excellent.

        • Clayton says:

          Well rather than the £18 for Tiote I consider more risky the £24 for RVP.

          This resilience about not signing a tenacious midfielder makes me think that Jones is being trained to eventually take that role which would be welcome.

          Don’t think that Jones should be a future central defender unless he sorts out his heading. He’s a good player certainly but you can’t be a central defender if you can’t win first header on the ball.

          Btw, Fellaini ran us ragged yesterday. Was wondering why Vidic was marking Jagielka instead of him in corners. Carrick was clearly struggling against his headers. However think that there were some positive outcomes from the team. Definitely think that Kagawa shall be one of our most important players this season.

  5. Ez says:

    See the name Tiote is popping up everywhere… He is the best DM in the league right now, behind Toure of course.
    Why you keep insisting £20-£25 million price I don’t understand, but if we paid £25 for Ando yes I will pay that. But that is not his selling price, if Song went to Barca for 15-£19 million, No way your £20 will be valuated.
    And yes He’s is better than both Cleverly and Ando.
    You ask about his other attributes, He does score wonders occasionally, and assists, But he is a DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER, His role is to protect the Back four not goals!!!!! Look at Sagios goal record at Barca, is it impressive?!

    • Matt says:

      Anyone know a cute kid that we can send to old trafford tonight with a cardboard sign saying ‘Fergie please sign Tiote’?

    • NathonW says:

      EZ, I take your point about the pricetag. I only say £20-£25m as it seems that is what we have been quoted; but you are spot on, if Alex Song has gone for £15m, maybe Tiote would be available for this fee?

  6. Perthreddevil says:

    Everybody seems to have forgotten that United are, despite what a lot of our own fans seem to think, quite a good side.

    Maybe a lot of people have fallen into the trap of thinking that United should win the league and European Cup every year. Well, it’s really not like that, is it?

    Don’t lose sight of the fact that with our apparently shite team we actually came within 90 seconds of winning the league last year. We have no divine right to anything. Cleverley and Anderson spent large parts of last season unfit. Carrick deputised asa CB for Christ’s sake.

    Will any United fan really suggest that a midfield of Nani, Anderson, Cleverley, Valencia, Young, Kagawa, Giggs, and Scholes with options to play Rooney in MF without affecting our potential to score goals is (a)not good enough to challenge at home and abroad and (b)not better than most other Premiership clubs? Just the six current internationals and the two exes?

    Wake up people, stop complaining and support your team.

  7. Perthreddevil says:

    and I forgot Carrick…

    • Matt says:

      Forgetting Carrick is Easily done.

      I agree that that midfield is good enough in the premier league and better than most teams in it. However i think in the later stages of the Champions League that same midfield will be shown as being not quite good enough to beat the barcelonas and real madrids of this world.

      Even when everyone is fit I think we are missing a holding midfielder that has become the norm for the top teams in order to protect the defence and release attacking players.

      Noone is suggesting a divine right to win things but fans are going to speculate on who could improve their team. That doesn’t mean those fans will support the team any less come September 1st if we haven’t brought in anyone else. All fans want their team to improve each year it is not a case of thinking we should win everything every year. However in our case improving the team would mean being able to challenge the best teams in the world as we have a great squad already.

    • NathonW says:

      That ‘just support your team’ argument baffles me.

      We all support the team.

      Some go to games. Some watch from the sofa. Some stay up til 5am to watch a rubbish stream from a foreign land.

      We are allowed opinions on who will and will not improve the team.

      Personally, as I said within the article, I agree with you. Unless it is a real top class player, I do not see the point in bringing in somebody who is only as good as the players we have.

      Massive Tiote fanbase on here. Many think he is the real deal.

  8. Jonny says:

    Agree. the defence is what united need to strengthen. i like the idea of carvalho, who is surplus at real madrid, on a short term loan of maybe 6 months, to provide cover at times of injury crisis, like the current situation.

    I have also come across a website that gets all the highlights of all games in europe and south america, and are never removed. – give it a try 🙂

  9. Tom says:

    Ferguson said he is interested in a player if he became available. I don’t believe he was talking about the Dutch left back who looks like signing. Buttner would have already been available and Man Utd made their interest known a month ago. Ferguson would have know Baines will cost around £15 million and it wasn’t worth spending that much on him. I think Baines is a top left back, but we needed someone to challenge Evra and give him move cover.

    It’s possible that Ferguson was talking about a midfielder. We obviously will not know and I wouldn’t be surprised if Ferguson and Gill say the transfer window is finished once they complete the signing of a new left back. I would love another midfielder but it would need someone like Anderson to leave so that room can be created.

  10. oz says:

    fegie rules buys rvp off us for a 70 mill contract ,leaves manure with no center halfs and a dodgy midfield.laughing my head off watching fellani boss your weak midfield around.good job fergie you sure showed arsenal how to play lol.