Date:Friday April 6 2007
Sir Alex Ferguson had confirmed earlier that he would give a chance to young players next season but will he bring back Simpson, Piqué and Evans?
Sunderland are flying high in the Championship, they are yet to lose a game in 2007 and former United legend Roy Keane has won back-to-back Manager of the Month-awards so we may assume that Danny Simpson and Jonny Evans are at the perfect place. They are both regarded as bright prospects and should have a good future at United.
Gerard Piqué is enjoying a fine spell at Real Zaragoza and he's clearly relishing playing in his native country. The Spanish club have stressed they would love to keep him for another season and maybe on a permanent basis.
Of course, it's highly unrealistic that we'll bring back all of them. We have very good cover in defense right now so even if Silvestre and Brown depart (they look the most likely to leave the club) we should not waste such talents by playing them in the reserves. So, who would return?
Jonny Evans is held in the highest regard of them. Roy Keane has already stated the Northern Ireland defender would one day succeed him as skipper of Manchester United.
'He's got a great chance of being a top player. He's learning quickly, has a great head on his shoulders, great family, great background.
'We've got him on loan until the end of the season. Maybe there's a chance of another loan deal but I've not even spoken to United about that because the manager has enough on his plate.'
The player himself said he was ready to spend another season at Sunderland as he's not yet aware of Manchester United's plans about him. I'd say he has the greatest chance of being a Red next season: should anyone depart, Evans, already a regular in a high-flying Northern Ireland team, would surely get his chance to shine at the Theatre of Dreams.
Danny Simpson's case is a tad more difficult. As a full-back, he could play on the right, replacing Gary Neville. The problem is that Gary shows no signs of age and Brown is there as a substitute for him. Of course, Manchester-born Brown is linked with a departure but I expect him to stay and Simpson to be back at the Stadium of Light - much to Sunderland's delight, according to reports that state Keano is ready to sit down with Fergie to discuss the future of the two youngsters currently on loan at his club.
Gerard Piqué was prised away from Barcelona in the belief that he could become a star player. He's definitely got the potential but it looks like he does not wish to come back to Old Trafford where he would be nothing else but an understudy to Ferdinand and Vidic for at least two more years. And of course there is Jonny Evans whose rise in the game is unbelievable so the signs show (for me at least) that Piqué will jump at the chance of regular first-team football. I think he'll soon move to Spain on a permanent basis - if I'll be proved wrong then please feel free to massacre me here.
A mention must go to Giuseppe Rossi though I was focusing on defenders here. He's making all the right noises, claiming he's keen to return. With Solskjaer getting older and transfer money being limited, he'd be great cover next season so once again I stress that I would love to see him return here. Let's see if Fergie meant his promise about young players...
Date:Friday April 6 2007
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