Date:Friday September 14 2007
Ask the average United fan about Klaas-Jan Huntelaar - and they'd possibly say that we must sign him!
United lost Smith and Rossi over the summer, Rooney fractured his foot in the first game, Tevez is still not playing to his potential and Saha has just returned. This state of events led many to urge Fergie to sign an out-and-out striker, with Dimitar Berbatov, Nicolas Anelka and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar being the usual suspects.
The first one, signing Tottenham's Bulgarian was unrealistic and I don't want Nicolas Anelka! But I think that most fans' favourite was Huntelaar and even last summer, when Ruud was sold, many expressed their desire to see another Dutch hitman in the team. I visited even some Italian, German and American United fan sites and the Huntelaar-fans were usually in overwhelming majority.
Now former United striker Andy Ritchie joined the United-need-a-No.-9.-campaign.
'To put it bluntly, he is a goalscorer,' he said. 'Whenever you read or hear Ajax's results, it is always Huntelaar's name that's on the scoresheet. He seems to score goals for fun. He's a bit like a Ruud van Nistelrooy in that respect.
'If United are still struggling to score goals come mid-season then I'd certainly look on him as an answer in January, or even if Sir Alex Ferguson wants to strengthen that department anyway.
'The one thing is that the United manager knows exactly what he is doing and will make the right decision.'
So why is Huntelaar considered such a great prospect? Well, his goals speak for themselves of course. It's true that he's scoring goals for fun but what is important is whether he would be able to uphold such form at United?
Well, I watched him quite often to see if he's that good. Mainly in UEFA Cup and Champions League games but caught a few Dutch league matches, too.
First, I'd say that he's a poor man's Van Nistelrooy. He has less pace than Ruud in his prime and to be honest, he's not displayed too much footballing intelligence on the pitch. United's style is based on pace and movement and in both areas, Huntelaar has his deficiencies.
His killer instincts in front of goal can't be denied but will that be enough in the Premiership? Such a player can really hold the team back if marked well - and I hate to admit but often it was the case with Ruud, mostly in his last two seasons. Do we want to be predictable again?
If we accept that we need a 20-goal-a-season man (though none of the top scorers' of the league champions since the 2003/04 Arsenal team reached 20 goals in the Premiership...) I'd say go for someone who either possesses great pace or offers fantastic vision, an ability to create space for his team-mates. Huntelaar is neither therefore I don't think he's good enough.
If we indeed sign him later and he turns out to be a big hit (or will be a big hit somewhere else at a really big club), I'll humbly eat my words on these pages.
Date:Friday September 14 2007
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