Manchester United - Fergie Set To Commit The Mistake Of 1999 Again
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Fergie Set To Commit The Mistake Of 1999 Again

Fergie is less and less optimistic over the proposed signing of Dimitar Berbatov... incredible, we can't even tie up a transfer this summer.

Relations between Spurs and Manchester United are quite frosty but that's no reason: Liverpool managed to snap up Robbie Keane a mere days after they were reported to the FA over their behaviour. So why is Fergie concerned?

'I'm feeling less optimistic right now,' said Ferguson.

'We are looking at something, but if it doesn't come off then we will carry on as we are.'

Well, what we have is pretty good, I agree. After all, we have won the Premier League and the Champions League as well so we can't be that bad. Still, it is far from a faultless, perfect squad.

The case was same in 1999. We've just won the Treble and Fergie, immersed in glory, felt that the squad is strong enough. That squad also had its faults, most particularly in two areas: the defence was not good enough and while the first-choice midfield was brilliant, their alternatives were not up to the job.

Irwin was aging, neither of our centre backs were anywhere near Jaap Stam's quality and in midfield only Nicky Butt could provide adequate replacement. Yet Fergie did not plunge into the transfer market.

The Premier League wasn't as strong then as it's now and the overwhelming brilliance of our famous midfield four, combined with four lethal strikers, was enough for easy Premiership titles in 2000 and 2001. Yet the team never reached the heights of 99' (or even '97) in Europe because the squad wasn't strengthened after its greatest success.

The current squad needs nothing else but a good, solid, reliable centre forward who is a good finisher. Dimitar Berbatov fits the bill and though his price is astronomical, we can afford him. Not buying him or anyone will comdemn the current crop of players to the same fate which their predecessors encountered: the failure in Europe.

Ronaldo is the only player in the current squad who can be relied upon consistently hitting the back of the net. Tevez and Rooney are brilliant attackers but their finishing is erratic, unlike Ronaldo's. We need someone who puts away the majority of his chances and while Berbatov is not a Van Nistelrooy, he's a more reliable goalscorer than either Rooney or Tevez.

If we do not sign anyone, if we stagnate, I won't protest. I will enjoy our games and expect a lot of good football. But great, sustained success? No, that's unlikely if we do not try to stay ahead of our pursuers.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday August 23 2008

Time: 2:21PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
ramos has dropped berbs from the squad. i think your red nosed t w a t of a manager will get his way again. fancy throwing hargreaves our way as part of the deal? go on...
Report Abuse
23/08/2008 14:44:00

Yes, spiderspurs, good news for us, I think Berbatov is going to be a United player sooner rather than later. I hope i'm not getting ahead of myself, but I've just heard the commentator at the Spurs match say "Berbatov has been left out of the squad, and he's on his way to Manchester United". ;)
Man utd champions
Report Abuse
23/08/2008 15:25:00

Spider spurs no deal for hargreaves how about Dong and Fraizer Campbell on loan?
Report Abuse
23/08/2008 20:45:00

You can have Dong, but we'll keep Campbell, thanks.
Man utd champions
Report Abuse
23/08/2008 21:20:00

dodgy dealing club - full stop.
Report Abuse
23/08/2008 21:55:00

I feel United are short in Defence. If Vidic and Rio are out at some point, can Evans and Brown really hold down the fort? Doubt it.
Report Abuse
23/08/2008 23:28:00

Have to wonder whether Berba is really as prolific as you think. Personally, I think Tevez will score more goals for you, given the same playing time. Berba is a class act in terms of silky skill and his touch is nothing short of incredible but I don't think he's likely to get you 25 league goals and he's going to cost a lot of money. If I was Fergie I'd just let Tevez carry on. Quick check on Wiki (not a totally reliable source but I think it's right here) Berba at Spurs: 70 apps, 27 goals. Tevez at United: 34 apps, 13 goals.
Report Abuse
24/08/2008 00:52:00

its not only about goals, its his presence that will help, we need a striker that is big in stature and one that can take down long balls and hold the ball up easily which Berbatov is awesome at. We havent had a striker like that since Ruud, i remember everytime our keeper kicked the ball up to ruud he either brought it down and passed it to a team mate or he was foul(meaning we always kept possession), we need someone like that agan
Report Abuse
24/08/2008 11:19:00

yeah. Cambel looks promising. We'll give u dong and throw in a free blender as well.
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24/08/2008 16:10:00

Like Reddevils4ever89 said, Berba will provide another dimension in our play which we lacked for the past few years. he;ll be the pivoting point for rooney and tevez to break into attack. He can hold the ball for us, get some headers in for a change besides ronaldo's ones. and of course as already mentioned, get 20 goals. so we also wont have to worry about ronaldo keeping that 42 goal tally up this year as well.
Report Abuse
24/08/2008 16:13:00

The problem though is if you play Berba and Rooney and Tevez and Ronaldo you can't hope to play a balanced team. Your defense is good but it's not enough by itself to hold off teams like Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea. I know what you mean about holding the ball up - that's what Drogba does so well for Chelsea but I just think 30 million is very steep for him. You could probably bring somebody like Huntelaar for that kind of money.
Report Abuse
24/08/2008 18:49:00

doubt we'll play all 4 together :| use rotation, and if you think some one will be unhappy then well....we have same amount of depth in midfield and thats not a problem. as long as all the players get fair amount of games then they'll be happy especially in a team like man utd ;)
Report Abuse
24/08/2008 23:26:00

Hmm how would you decide who to leave out though? You could argue the case for all of them, with the exception of Ronaldo.
Report Abuse
24/08/2008 23:49:00

Tevez on bench :| he is the most affective coming off the bench.....and iam sure we wont have the luxury of them all being available often, its a long season...the'll be injuries and suspensions plus we are in 6 competitions this season (the 2 cups from winning the CL), we need more variety, quality and experienced depth upfront
Report Abuse
25/08/2008 13:30:00

You were reported to be paying 32 million for Tevez. You are talking about leaving him on the bench to fit Berbatov in. So can you explain how you think Berbatov is over-valued. You are buying from a team that DOES NOT WANT TO SELL, you should expect to have to pay for your man. If you don't want to pay the asking price what right did your manager have stating publicly weeks ago that Berbatov would be in your team by the weekend, Your way of doing business is disgraceful, I hope we give him to Chelsea instead, then you can kiss goodbye to your League Title
Report Abuse
25/08/2008 16:56:00

I think we could have plenty of options if Berbatov signs. You can have Ronaldo on the wing, and both Tevez and Rooney tucking in behidn and dropping off Berbatov up front. Tevez would probably start some games, and we saw last season how quality he is at scoring late equalisers, so he could be a quality sub when we want a change too. I think for an attacking team, we could feature all four (besides, Ronaldo's not going to be back yet) and if Rooney was injured or needed a rest, Berbatov can easily just lead the line alone. I think Rooney or Tevez could go on one of the wings, or we could have the three strikers up front, with Ronaldo coming in on a wing, and then either Nani on the other wing and a defensive midfielder, or two midfielders in the middle, and Ronaldo just behind the strikers. Fergie's obviously got something sorted out, and it'll be fine, don't you worry - everyone said Rooney and Tevez wouldn't work; Rooney and Fergie said it would, and what happened? An almost telepathic relationship (just look at Rooney back-heel for Tevez goal) and they've turned into one of the best strike forces in Europe. Whether we sign Berbatov or not, our strike partnership can lay claim to the best.
Man utd champions
Report Abuse
26/08/2008 13:22:00


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