Date:Monday December 10 2007
I don't think Wes Brown should leave Manchester United. Pretty much in medias res, don't you think? But I felt necessary to state the fundamental point of this article.
For those few who are not aware of the situation: Wes Brown's contract is due to expire at the end of the season and has refused what Fergie had described as the club's final offer. In January, he will be able to negotiate a move to an overseas club that would take place in the summer.
And I'm baffled. Here is a 28-year-old guy, born and bred in Manchester, who's become a fixture in the starting line-up for the first time during his United career. And now he wants to leave, because he wants more money.
Where could he go? Look at the overseas club first. I think we can rule out the possibility that any continental superpower would move in for him. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Internazionale, AC Milan - of the right-backs playing for these teams, only Milan's Massimo Oddo can be considered to be Brown's equal and he's won a World Cup... the others are all better than our Wesley: I mean, Barca are unlikely to drop Gianluca Zambrotta in favour of him?
Therefore his chance is the second string of European football. Marseille, PSV, Schalke, Werder Bremen... you know, the ones who have the chance of getting to the last eight of the Champions League but even that is considered a great achievement by these clubs. Why would he make such a step down for more money, I'm not exactly sure...
So look at the possibility that he does not discuss any deal in January, waits for the season to end and looks at the Premiership offers. Once again, we can rule out the real giants to come in for him: Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool can do without Wes Brown, I'm sure... and he's too loyal to commit such treachery. I think. Then what's the point in ending up at Newcastle? Playing for 10th place every season is not much fun - I think it's better to be rotated at a big club.
So, looking at the possible choices, I think we can say Manchester United represent the best one for Brown though I'm aware that if we sign a right-back, he will possibly lose his place.
But all of the above occupy only second place on the list of my arguments. The first and strongest one is simple but it needs a little explaining.
Wes Brown was born in Manchester and never played for any other club than Manchester United. He's at home here, familiar with the surroundings, has his family here, knows the club inside-out. Therefore, and this is the crucial point, he can play better than what his skills would normally allow. Let's face it: he's mediocre but playing by his heart rather than by his skills he's punching above his weight and surpasses himself every time. This would NOT be possible at any other club where everything would be new and unusual and where his strengths and weaknesses and personality would not be assessed by someone who knows him as well as Sir Alex Ferguson.
And that, my friends, is why he should be SCARED of moving away, rather than instigating the move.
Date:Monday December 10 2007
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