Zaha’s imminent arrival means that United’s current wide men have more than a little reason to feel unsure about their Old Trafford futures, an uncertainty that can’t be helped by the fact that neither Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia or the much-maligned Nani have exactly been shining examples of consistency. I suppose we could also question Ryan Giggs’s job security but that would be quite frankly bonkers and akin to wondering whether Sir Alex Ferguson needs to win a few more games to keep his position safe. Giggs may be a winger more often than a central midfielder these days but let;s not enter silly season by wondering if he won’t be offered at least one more year.
So if Giggs has little to worry about, what about his team mates, do these three have anything to fear with Zaha on his way in, are they on their way out?
Of all the wingers seemingly destined for the Old Trafford exit door, the former Sporting Lisbon man may be the obvious choice, but he’s not gone yet and has recently been offered a glimmer of hope by Sir Alex who noted:
“Nani is definitely one of the best match-winners in Europe. He scores incredible goals. He has an incredible talent for winning matches. We would like him to stay.”
“David [Gill] has been speaking to his agent for quite a few weeks now,” Ferguson said. “It’s up to the boy himself.
“He has a year-and-a-half left and we’d prefer to keep him. He wants guaranteed first-team football and will get it if he plays like he did [against Reading].”
That performance against Reading that Sir Alex referred to may seem like too little too late for many fans, but let’s ask ourselves a simple question, has Antonio Valencia produced 45 minutes as good as that this season? Or Ashley Young for that matter. Nani may be the most frustrating winger on the planet but he’s also one of the most talented- on his day- and that may be enough to keep him at Old Trafford past the Summer, providing he wants to stay of course.
At the beginning of the season – in between berating Nani- many Reds were calling for Young’s head claiming he still hadn’t gone anywhere near to proving his worth at Old Trafford. Then came a stellar showing against Manchester City- which should have featured a match ending goal and all was forgiven. Sort of. Young’s not done a lot since that game at the Etihad, other than shown signs of his capabilities and is far from assured his place in the side when Sir Alex picks his strongest eleven- not that anyone other than Carrick, the full backs and R & R are anymore. With Young there’s still the little niggling feeling that he’s not quite ‘there’ as a United player that for every 8-2 performance there’s 6 or 7 anonymous ones that we have to endure.
Personally I’m a Young fan but although he only joined United last season for a fairly hefty fee and at 27 isn’t going to fetch more than the Reds paid for him, I just wonder whether his future is as secure as many think. He may have signed a five year deal when he joined, but if he’s told it’s not working out and an offer’s been accepted, would he refuse to leave?
What?! Our ‘iconic number 7’ he can’t leave United, he’s our most potent attacking force on the wing, well he used to be. Tony V has done sod all for that long now I’m actually beginning to wonder whether he ever will again. Yes he was one of our best players last season but so was Paul Scholes and I don’t expect him to be tearing up trees for United next season either. The fact is Valencia has gone from a 1994 Andrei Kanchelskis to a 1997 Karel Poborksy in a matter of months, in fact forgive me for saying it but even Poborsky went past his man now and again, an idea seemingly alien to our Ecuadorian. On the rare occasions Valencia does venture past the left back he seldom produces a cross good enough to lead to anything other than a loss of possession.
There are exceptions of course and Valencia has bagged four assists this season, but then again he has played a lot of games, 19 in the league, more than any of the other wide men, which in itself gives you the impression Sir Alex still believes in him, as do many United fans.
Could Tony V be the one to make way for Zaha, a few months ago the idea would have seemed inconceivable, yet if his current downward trajectory continues you have to wonder whether a move may be best for both club and player.
There is a fourth option of course, all three wingers plus Zaha remain at United, rotating frequently although with the likes of Shinji Kagawa and even Danny Welbeck offering the Reds different options than just out-and-out wide men you have to wonder whether there really is room for four wingers at Old Trafford.
Although the obvious money was on Nani leaving -at least up until recently- you have to wonder whether the right footed Zaha can really operate on both flanks the same way the Portuguese man can, if not, it could be Valencia who makes way, especially if his form continues to spiral downwards. Ashley Young is certainly capable of playing on either side or just off the striker- as Zaha is- although unlike Nani and Valencia, he’s yet to experience a truly successful season.
If push came to shove I’d say it’s either Young or Valencia that could make way and the divisive Nani who may just be the safest winger at Old Trafford.
Am I completely bonkers? Is Nani off in the Summer while Young, Zaha and Tony V form United’s very answer to JLS? Feel free to comment, suggest and abuse below:
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VALENCIA SHOULD NOT GOING BCOS IS A GUD PLAYER BETER DAN NANI AND YOUNG
talented players lk to trusted&liked.wen nani was trusted manu won the trophy.him baging 18 assits.nani miles better.zaha too.
I think Ferguson is happy to have 4 wingers, but I still think Nani will leave. I wouldn’t be surprised if both Wilfried Zaha and James Rodriguez arrived in the summer. Man Utd seem to have been watching Rodriguez for a while and I could see them making a move for the Colombian as well.
Tony V is not having a great season, but he still has a chance to recover and have a big impact. I hope he does recover and start creating more goals for the team, and scoring a few as well. Young is not doing enough in terms of assist or goals. The lad has been inconsistent but again he can still have a big impact.
We have 12 massive Premier League games left, and we are in the FA Cup and CL. Its not too late for Valencia, Young and Nani to have a big impact for Man Utd and help us win some titles this season. We need all three to find form and start doing more, so that we can take our game to another level and really push on for the final stretch of the season. I think Nani and Valencia will play against QPR and both need to perform well.
You make a couple of good points Tom, i also think Fergie is happy with four wingers, and i agree with you i suspect Fergie will go after Rodrigues this summer, that is of course if the Ronaldo story is just a load of garbage??, i love Tony Valencia, he is polite,
a good club man, and has played some fantastic football for us.
but for whatever the reason his form has gone out the window,
his play now seems to slow the forward momentum that has been so successful for us in the past, Nani his best position i believe is on the right, Zaha and Rodriguez are left sided players, i feel sorry for Young but i don’t think he will ever be a Man U player of note,
United need to let him go soon before his monetary value falls to a level that we lose out big time, my ideal situation would be for Nani and Valencia to alternate on the right, and Rodriguez and Zaha on
left, as for Christiano do we really need him? or is it just sentiment,
WE all love him, Fergie loves him, his name will always be linked with Manchester United, But can we afford him? whatever we pay for him we will never get back, only in football terms, and at 28 how long will that last, if i could be as sure he would go on like Ryan Giggs, i would say yes yes without doubt go after him if he wants to come, regardless of the millions he might cost. in all the years i have lived and followed Man United, i would say the Busby babes and the team Fergie is putting together now, could be two of the greatest teams in History.
The midfield is probably the area Ferguson will focus on this summer.
In goal we have seen David De Gea grow and grow. The boy is slowly becoming a man and will continue to improve and be even better next season. Lindergaard is a solid number 2 and I hope he will stay and challenge De Gea next season again.
In the defensive area hopefully Ferdinand signs a one year contract because his form has been terrific. Vidic is getting stronger every game he plays. They are both ageing and cannot play every game, but they are a good influence in the squad. Evans is slowly becoming the main center back at the club. We then have Chris Smalling and Phil Jones coming through. Evra has been solid this season and then we have Buttner. Rafeal is the most improve player and next season we will have his brother, Fabio, back challenging the full backs in the squad.
The attack speaks for itself in the four strikers we have. Van Persie has been a class signing and is in the peak of his career. Rooney has had the pressure taken of him with Van Persie and will grow under him. Welbeck is getting better as the season goes on and is still a young man. Hernandez is a terrific striker and a great soldier for the squad because of his work rate and loyalty.
The midfield is the area that will see change. I believe Nani will be leaving at the end of the season. Ferguson did the right thing in speaking highly of him in the press. The boy is a talent and can still have a big impact on this season. I also believe Fletcher will retire and join the reserve coaching staff. Scholes will also retire for good this time. I think Anderson will move on as well, so that is 4 midfielder that could leave.
Wilfried Zaha has already been signed, but I agree with Tom above, and I can also see James Rodriguez arrive as well if a reasonable deal can be agreed. I think Ferguson will also get a central midfielder like Kevin Strootman this summer. If these three arrive then we would have good options in midfield for next season.
Wingers: Valencia, Young, Rodgriguez and Zaha
Center Midfield: Carrick, Cleverley, Kagawa, Strootman, Giggs and Jones
Valencia has lost what he should be doing. As soon as he gets the ball he is looking behind him to see who he can pass to.
Nano is inconsistent and should be used in part exchange for A athe Potugese winger. Young ,although he is not up to United standard I think he is the best and most consistent of the three. He helps the defence the most
wat if cr7 also makes a return??
gr8 article man..and if cr7 is not making a return, i think valencia is goin to c the exit door..and if he comes with zaha, may b nani also will hav to leave….coz nani want regular first place, which anyone can guarentee..he will perform exemptionall on his day…but all days are not good days for footballers…
Valencia & Young are worth about £10-12 million
Nani is about £14-18 million
The demand is out there for Nani, whereas the other two? Stoke, Swansea, Fulham, Wigan etc. Those sort of mid range clubs