United Won't Buy... But Why?
Sir Alex Ferguson has recently confirmed that he won't buy a striker in January as he's satisfied with his squad. But what are his reasons?
Of course we cannot know anything for sure. But we might be able to guess something so why not give it a go? With Louis Saha forever injured, we have only two reliable strikers and one feels it would make sense to buy another one, seeing the injury crisis currently swallowing the team. The possible reasons are as follows.
1. United do not have money for another striker.
It would be the most obvious of course. But the new man does not necessarily have to be an expensive signing, a cheap cover player could do the trick. And though we spent heavily in the summer, the total net outlay is not as frightening as some pundits claim, especially considering that we actually made profit from player transfers last summer. So I think if Fergie was desperate to sign someone, the money would be there.
2. Sir Alex still trusts Saha.
It's not certainly true what the reports suggest: that Fergie has lost patience with Saha. If that had been the case, he would have got rid of him in the summer. The declaration that we won't strengthen in the winter is another vote of confidence for the Frenchman but one must wonder how many opportunities will Saha receive? There's a real danger that it will undermine the team's chances of success.
3. Anderson and Nani can play up front while Ronaldo is in free-scoring form again.
The above statement is true but I have my doubts. Though it's a legitimate opinion that Scholes, Carrick and Hargreaves won't be injured forever and their return means that Anderson will not be needed in central midfield. However, he's not a finisher so it might be a gamble playing him there. Same goes to Nani, with the January return of Park his services on the wing will be less needed - but is he capable of doing his job as a striker? Ronaldo's goalscoring prowess is undoubtable, that's possible the strongest argument for not buying.
4. Sir Alex does not want another Ruud.
With Saha in tremendous form during the second part of the 2005/06 season, Ruud quickly became irritated with the lack of playing time. It's difficult to find a player who would be happy to sit on the bench and providing cover but that's what we need. The problem could be defined this way: who's good enough to play for us would be reluctant to sign as a squad player and those who would be only too keen to join us in any role do not possess enough quality.
5. Fergie believes Rooney and Tevez are not prone to injuries.
Checking their appearance stats one may say it's true, the odd metatarsal fractures excluded. However, they cannot play a whole season, they are not protected from tiredness despite their great physical attributes. No surprise that Fergie substituted Tevez 20 minutes before the end in each of the last three games. But maybe he believes that with the pair's amazing durability, on the few occasions they must be rested Anderson, Nani and Ronaldo can do their jobs.
6. He's concerned that a new player would disrupt the harmony and understanding in the squad.
Come on, I'd be surprised if only one striker, signed for cover could well and truly disrupt anything. Though I admit that the arrival of another striker can have an unsettling effect on our attacking players and we have plenty of them - the problem is that most of them are not strikers.
It is possible that neither of these reasons is behind Fergie's reluctance to spend in the transfer market. He might explain it or not but from where we see it, it looks like a real gamble playing a whole season with only two reliable strikers. Though of course in 2002/03 we scored a lot of goals with only Ruud as a real attacker. Solskjaer often played on the wing and rarely as a striker and we only had Forlan apart from the former two. The Uruguay forward was a fine guy but had a little problem: he scored very rarely. So we can draw optimism from that season: we won a league title with two reliable strikers only.