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So The Fallout Begins... Who Should Leave United?

On the ruins of United season the speculation gathers pace: who should leave and who should come in to strengthen a squad that is past its best and is now in decline. Many people believe drastic changes are necessary - I do not agree.

Certainly, new players are needed and others might have to leave. Top of the latter list is the name of Dimitar Berbatov. I have been a defender of the Bulgarian for as long as I care to remember but he doesn't seem able to deliver consistently enough. He just does not influence games with the regularity that someone with his talent should.

He can't play up front on his own and while he is capable of providing brilliant passes to a strike partner, he's not consistent enough and is prone to disappearing for long intervals. Too often he hides in the shadow of Rooney and he's easily reduced to arguing with his teammates, something which was distressingly apparent at Ewood Park yesterday.

Apart from Berbatov, there is a question mark over the future of the squad's three oldest outfield players. Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs were brilliant footballers in their prime and on their day they are still very, very good. But those days are less and less frequent and their lack of energy and mobility means they are liabilities when the going gets tough. Too often we are bypassed in midfield when Scholes plays; too often we lack pace and penetration on the left if Giggs is fielded there and he's muscled off the ball too easily in central midfield.

They are legends and I do not suggest they should be forced to retire against their will. But we cannot rely on them as key players. Paul Scholes started successive games against Bayern Munich and Chelsea - he is unable to perform to the required level in two consecutive games of this magnitude. He lacks the legs, to put it simply, just as Giggs.

Nani earned himself a future at Old Trafford but another winger will surely leave: Zoran Tosic found his level at Köln in the Bundesliga and we should let him go. He would command a small fee and we could take him off the squad list.

Owen Hargreaves and Anderson are both fighting for their future. Injury denied them the chance to prove their credentials this season so I guess they will be assessed pre-season. I would not sell either, simply because we badly lack options in central midfield so we have to cling to the possibility that they might regain their 2007/08 form.

Fabio da Silva might be loaned out, according to reports. It would surely aid his development but need an understudy to Patrice Evra for next season. That could be the young and injury-hit Brazilian whose brother's progress has been encouraging since they signed in 2008.

I did not want Michael Owen and I do not rate him, apart from his finishing ability. Despite our lack of options up front I would gladly let him go: surely the likes of Hernandez or even Macheda are as good options as Owen. Ben Foster might also be sold, he'll be a third choice keeper at best and let's face it, we can have Ben Amos for that role.

That's about it. My United squad for next season would look like this:

Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Amos, Rafael, Brown, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Fabio, Smalling, De Laet, Hargreaves, Anderson, Carrick, Fletcher, a new creative, quick central midfielder, Giggs, Scholes, Park, Nani, Valencia, Obertan, Hernandez, Macheda, Diouf, Rooney and a new striker capable of playing up front on his own as well as supporting Rooney.

Any thoughts?




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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday April 12 2010

Time: 9:23PM

Your Comments

Silva, Van Der Vaart, Sanchez? You seem to have no place for Wellbeck, think he'll not make the cut at OT?
elvido
Its funny how last year Fergie said Chelsea are way past their best and only have old players and simply would not keep up a whole season....now all we hear is how UTD have oldies only etc.....karma is a bitch ha?
atomis
no money, no big names, no trophies..so no glazers:@:@:@
paul_manu
Who should leave United - all the old farts that are well passed it - Sir Alex Ferguson, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Edward van der Saar - out, out,out!!!
Wswilly3
Personally, I'd keep foster and sell Kuszczak. Although I personally feel Kuszczak is marginally better, when VDS retires we'll need a number 2. With new rules coming in that you can only have 17 foreign players over 21 I'd say it makes far more sense to have an english number 2.
tuscan3000
Defensively we are fine as we are (though you forgot Evans on your list). I wouldn't want Fabio to go to sporting unless we had an instant call back clause as we cant expect Evra to stay injury free forever.
tuscan3000
Up front I cant see Berba sticking around - he doesnt fit into our style and has had little to no impact when we've really needed him. I cant see us getting rid of Owen. That would leave us with Rooney as our only striker with proper Premier League experience. I think our strikers next season will be Rooney, Owen, Hernandez and Diouf - with one of Welbeck/Macheda on loan. If we bring in an established striker like Benzema then Diouf and the two youngsters will probably all go out on loan.
tuscan3000
In midfield I think Scholes will retire and Possebon will be sold. I think Gibson and Cleverley will be assessed in pre-season and one will then be sold. Our midfield next year will be Hargreaves, Fletcher, Carrick, Anderson, Cleverley/Gibson with the cheapest one from Hamsik, Milner and Rodwell.
tuscan3000
I hope that next season's squad will be: Van der sar Neville (Hope that he retire at the end of the season) Evra Hargreaves Ferdinand Brown David Silva (From Valencia) OR Milner (From Aston Villa) Anderson Luis Suarez (From Ajax) OR Benzema (From Real Madrid) Rooney Giggs (Hope that he retire at the end of the season) Hugo Lloris (From Lyon) Park Javier Hernandez Vidic Carrick Nani Scholes (Hope that he retire at the end of the season) Welbeck Fabio Rafael O’shea Evans Fletcher Valencia Obertan Macheda Gibson Kuszczak De Laet Smalling Diouf
paul_manu
On the wings I think Tosic will move on for a fee dependant on his world cup performances. I think what happens on the wings will be dependant on what we do elsewhere. If we bring in a striker that plays from the left (ie Benzema/Vucinic/Suarez) then we wont see any wingers coming in. If we dont bring in any strikers we'll bring in a left winger that is quite creative ie Silva/Di Maria/Ozil.
tuscan3000
I can only see us buying 2 more players this summer. My guess would be Hamsik with one of Rodwell/Lloris/Milner and Joe Cole on a free if he decides to leave chelsea.
tuscan3000
wish that the glazers make only one good decision in their life and and give sir alex some money we have the right to know where is ronaldo's cash now!!!with 80 million pounds we can bring three world class players i guess
paul_manu
We know where the money has gone. They spent it repaying interest on debt and now we have to buy players on credit of which we have about £75M worth which is why our total transfer kitty suggested to be around £100M. I would think Fergie would try to limit our spending this summer to around £70M (Smalling,Hernandez, Lloris, J.Cole, Rodwell, Hamsik) and then reduce that figure with player sales. My guess would be that any purchases will be offset against the prices we receive for Kuszczak, Foster, Gibson, Possebon, Cleverley, Tosic, Berbatov and possibly another couple of reserve players. I reckon we could get upto £35M for that lot, leaving a NET spend of £35M which would mean the credit would be left largely unused. But thats just my guess.
tuscan3000
Best buy before the world cup inflates all the prices, and best buy before the reality of United's financial state starts to make ambitious players decide they'd be better off elsewhere. Your reputation/history is worth a lot when signing players, but won't mean anything if they feel you can no longer compete both on the field and in the transfer market. So, make or break time for United - spend some of the "credit" line and speculate to accumulate or do a Leeds if it all goes wrong.
fifthcolumnblue
Cheekey £15m bid for Berbatov? Would it be accepted?
HuddersfieldYiddo
With what we've achieved in the last four years I doubt there are many players who are stupid enough to believe that we wouldn't be worth joining between now and the end of the transfer window. In the 11 times we dropped points in the league this year 7 of those have involved missing at least 3 of our starting back 5 and most of those some of the backups were missing too. Considering we lost twice to Chelsea this year, being 4 points behind shows how good of a challenge we put up this year in the circumstances. In fact just drawing those two games would've put us 2 points clear in the title race. But anyway, feel free to write us off - if I recall correctly we were meant to be struggling to make the top 5 this year according to city fans - with one or two decent signings in midfield we'll be challenging for the title again next year.
tuscan3000
Do not take Milner.
los_angeles_villan
How about fernando llorente from Bilbao in Spain he seems very capable playing upfront alone or as a target man in a 442. As for the central midfielder I think James milner could work well here next to fletcher in a 442 or with fletch and hargo in a 433/451. As for owen I don't care whether he is here or not next season but I think berba should leave for the sake of his career. Also I think we should try and integrate players like cleverly, ekrem, matty James, and maybe pogba, keane and petrucci into the first team next season.
khoder
Not sure if 7 losses - 8 after Saturday ;-) can be considered a particularly good challenge Tuscan - after all, wasn't it Fergie who once said that no team could win the League if they lost more than 5 games? The league has been much tighter this year granted, but I'm not sure Taggart would agree it's been a great season. You have overachieved on the back of Rooney, but the rest of the squad is either too old or not yet ready, and your scouts will need to be extra busy this summer to pull out the type of quality signings you need without breaking the bank. God help you if you sign another Berbatov!
fifthcolumnblue
Ferguson out - I told you before the Chelsea game that United would lose - I told you before the Bayern game that United would be knocked out - I told you before the Blackburn game that United would not win and I tell you before the City game that United will lose by at least two goals. Don't say the writing was not on the wall - pension off Ferguson soon or United will become another Leeds United - it's written in the runes and I can see them!!!
Wswilly3
Fergie said he want 15 points from the last 5 games to win the league now with 2 points dropped i don't think we have any chance it's nearly impossible..but i hope we can win the derby
paul_manu
Of course by our own high standards 7 losses is terrible. You dont generally lose 7 games and win the title, but then you dont generally lose 7 games and find yourself within 4 points of the top. You dont really expect to get so many defensive injuries that you have to pick centrebacks based on who's tallest. You dont really expect to come through a season with 3 of your starting back four not having played 38 games between them or having your goalkeeper appear in less than 45% of your matches (which is actually good compared to our second and third choice defenders) - being 4 points off the top in those circumstances is good in my opinion.
tuscan3000
I agree with most points in this article. I've been impressed by Edwin's performances lately, and I'm convinced he'll probably still feature as our #1 keeper, even if we sign a new one. But we DO need to sign a new one, and mainly because of the inflation following the world cup. If we land Hugo Lloris, Manuel Neuer or Igor Akinfeev before the world cup, we will have done really well. As for our defence, I don't think we need another signing at the moment. With Rafael on the rise, and Smalling our newest addition, players like Evans, O'Shea, Brown, Neville, De Laet etc. will still feature as backups for Rio, Vidic, Evra and Rafael. The midfield however is another story. We have a decent wing setup, in terms of Valencia and Nani (with players like Park, Obertan, Giggs, Cleverley and partially Fletcher capable of filling their positions if needed. Centrally; Fletcher and Carrick is our most likely first choice pairing, but as soon as Hargreaves is fit (if ever) players like Carrick, Fletcher, Anderson and Scholes will have to really fight for their places. Not a bad thing in general, but looking at these players, we really don't have a world class attacking midfielder in our team do we? Scholesy's legs have gone, making him drop further back. Anderson performances varies, and he's still not considered an attacking midfielder by SAF... (Why not? He was outstanding in that postition at Porto!) So our main priority should be to sign a proper attacking midfielder. David Silva ticks every single box I can imagine in this role. And at 24, he would be a MASSIVE coup for United. He's quick, crazy skilled, accurate in his passing and has outstanding vision. I mean REALLY outstanding; talk about unlocking a defence with a single pass... jeeez. He's also capable of playing as a left winger or a supporting striker. So why are we not jumping at this opportunity?? Another alternative would be Gourcuff at Bordeaux, or Sessegnon at PSG. Also; I'd like to see players like Oliver Norwood and Magnus Eikrem get a chance at some point. They both seem like really exciting prospects. Up front, it all depends on what happends with Owen and Berbatov. Macheda, Welbeck, King and Diouf will either be loaned out, sold or kept for bit-part appearances. But the writer of this article is spot on when it comes to the type of striker we need. He has to be able to lead the line on his own. This requires a workrate above average. A predatory instinct combined with pace would be preferred, but physique and height would also go a long way. The immediate suspects are Edin Dzeko, David Villa, Karim Benzema, and Podolski. (Type-wise anyway...) Let the shopping begin!
nilberg
but if you look at barcelona you can see also that they had more injuries then our team this season but barcelona have another team on the bench this is a world class club, for example in the champions league against arsenal they had pique puyol ibrahimovic toure iniesta and then abidal out and look at messi how he played and look also at the midfield it was fantastic a big team really so injuries must not affect big clubs like man u also
paul_manu
All those people calling for Fergie to retire really have a short memory. its not the first time that we have gone 3 straight and failed to win the 4 th title, there is no poor management at hand here. considering the circumstances, we are better off than i ever expected. First off, Losing our GK and CBs at the start of the season and doing as well as we did just shows you what a great manager we have. How many teams would have survived in such a case? Chelsea lost Chec for a few games and look how they suffered. Secondly, the loss of Ronaldo was a big blow and we still managed to score 9 more goals so far in the league than the whole of last season. So calling being 4 points off the leader (after the Bolton game) a crisis, is being ridiculous. AS for the recruits coming in, I would like to see Silva and and Benzema come in and Rodwell would be a great signing in midfield that is if we let him play the sty he wants to play that is a box to box midfielder. Also, Cleverly looks like a great player and i would love to see what he can do in our midfield next season (probably play in the carling cup). As for who should go, I think Owen and Berbatov should leave. Gibson seems to only be able to shoot well 25% of the time and cant do anything else very well. he dissapears in games both big and small after 20 minutes so i think he should go as well. lastly the goal keeping department: sell kuzchack and Foster bring in lloris to right away be 1st choice with vander saar as back up and Amos can be the 3rd keeper. the following summer we can replace vander saar with another second choice keeper.
macxshady2
We've had VDS, Rio, Vidic, Brown, Oshea, Neville, Rafael, Fabio and Hargreaves out for most of the season. If barca had Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Milito, Chygrinski (whatever!), Maxwell, Marquez and Toure out they would struggle. Barca are a better team than us and yes they beat an arsenal team who were missing more players than them - but even they would struggle to top their league with those injuries. We've had injuries all over the pitch the last 3 years, but this year they were all in the same area.
tuscan3000
nilberg, I agree with most of your points about Silva the only thing he lacks is the ability to consistently score goals. If we had Silva alongside someone like Marek Hamsik (who is tall, quick, good at set pieces, creative and most importantly has maintained a healthy 1 in 3 goal ratio in an average Napoli side) we'd have our own equivalent of a Xavi and Iniesta combination. I slightly disagree about the striker situation though. I dont think Dzeko or Villa are the type of strikers we need. We've already seen with Berba, Tevez and Forlan what happens when you keep a top striker as a backup to another top striker. Whoever we buy does need to be able to play the lone striker role without rooney but they must also be comfortable on the left/right wing so that they can still be involved in the important matches where we play 4-3-3. Benzema is the obvious choice with Vucinic and Suarez being the others. If we dont get one of those three, I don't think we'll bring in any strikers. My fantasy lineup (and I know this is just a fantasy!) would be Neuer/Lloris, Rafael, Rio, Vidic, Evra, Hargreaves, Hamsik, Silva, Benzema, Rooney, Nani/Valencia.
tuscan3000
what about neymar he's a fantastic young player he have a bright futur is he on fergie's radar?
paul_manu
Where are you gonna find the money for this spending spree?
HuddersfieldYiddo
The bank. Its called CREDIT and we have £75M worth!
tuscan3000
Yet another loss this weekend - where has the season gone to?
Wswilly3
I think I heard David Moyes admit that he would swap Rodwell for Rooney....sounds like a deal.
Harry-Kari
 

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