Several weeks ago and again 2 weeks ago the English press began to run stories claiming Manchester United had placed an opening bid for Everton left-back Leighton Baines of £12m. Although the rumours have died now but you Watch Manchester United
revive the interest before the window closes.
The Everton man is no stranger to being linked with the Manchester giants; in-fact a move to Manchester United has seemed on the cards every transfer window since he became an established player at Everton, although the move has never gone through whether that is due to pure rumour and speculation or a communication breakdown between two clubs.
With Sir Alex Ferguson retiring at the end of last season and David Moyes, the man who brought Baines to Everton taking over of course the speculation of a move will again intensify.
A move for Leighton by Moyes makes complete sense; it’s a safe bet for Moyes to go after a proven Premier League player, a player that has won many a people over in the past several seasons simply due to his ability, a player Moyes has a positive history with.
Patrice Evra is without a doubt a fan favourite at Manchester United and a move for Baines would more or less signify the end for the French man and would help United sell more football tickets
and shirts; although with outstanding bids apparently from PSG and Monaco (who haven’t they bid for this season? I’m sure they’ll lodge a £10m move for me at some point!) It’ll be hard to turn them down given Patrice is reaching the end of his career.
Manchester City, Manchester United’s closest title contenders last season have already stated their intentions to retain the title by bringing in several big names, one of these names being Jesús Navas a winger that is all about pace and would simply leave a player such as Patrice dead in his tracks given the pace he has seemingly lost with age.
Of course one player for one team shouldn’t signify an end for Patrice and I would be more than happy to keep Patrice as our first choice left-back for the upcoming season.
I for one am a fan of Baines, he was terrific last season; he can defend and he can attack better than any Left-Back in the League. His ability and accuracy from crossing and free-kicks is up there with the best players in the league and lets us not forget him challenging the ‘best left-back in the world’ Ashley Cole for a starting place within the England squad.
The problem with this Baines transfer is he’s not exactly a young player himself as he turns 29-years-old before the turn of the year; given the rejected bid for the left-back was £12m it seems rather silly to ship out an aging player to replace him with another aging player.
Baines is a fantastic player and one any team in the league would be better off in having, the only problem is his price tag, I’d be surprised if United do indeed sign him. The hole in Midfield is what needs to be looked at, that is the problem that Moyes really needs to attend to.
David Moyes surely is an unenviable position. He sure has big shoes to
fill too. When Sir Alex Ferguson dropped the hint of his impending exit,
Moyes was the last candidate in the mind of fans and followers of the
game. What heavy burden on the shoulders of the shrewd and astute Moyes
despite the trappings and allures of the office. The pessimistic many say
he’s doomed to fail, the optimistic few believes he could succeed, forge
his our dynasty and write his name in gold. He could just turn out like
the biblical Elisha whom after receiving the heavy mantle from his master,
Elijah performed exploits so great he was accorded a place right next to
the great man that was taken to heaven in a chariot of fire.
In Elisha-like manner, Moyes began the job from where Sir Alex Ferguson
left things with the signing of Club Atlético Penarol of Uruguay’s 20
year-old right back, Guillermo Varela Olivera. This is a signing no one
would have predicted. Not even the best football bet sites and their
had no clue on this transfer. The virtually unknown to the
European scene and potential future star had earlier in May 2013 had a
2-week training stint with the United first team at the club’s Carrington
training ground while Ferguson was still at the helm of affairs and yet to
drop his bomber of an exit, Moyes sanctioned and completed the signing
while he’s still on holiday. The undisclosed fee is believed to be in the
region of £1m and could rise to about £2.5m later.
The Montevideo-born, 5 foot 7 defender began his career with Penarol in
2010 and progressed gradually with the club, coming third in his first
season, second place in his second season and they won the Uruguayan
League in his third. Sadly coming to Europe, Varela is virtually an
unknown, a dark horse and it would be unfair to subject him to scrutiny
before he even kicks the ball. One thing is certain, he had a trial at
Carrington and won’t get Ferguson’s nod if he’s no good. The presence of
Rafael Da Silva, Antonio Valencia and Chicharito is enough assurance that
South Americans settle well into the United fold. The lingering questions
are is he needed and what does his coming mean for the team?
THE COMING SEASON WOULD BE LONG AND IN NEED OF FRESH LEGS
For the restructuring and new Manchester United, the coming season would
be a long, careful walk. With 38 league matches, FA, League Cup and
Champions League ties all to play for, it’s imperative to have as many
players take part in order to end up in respectable position. Being the
season that’s precursor to the world cup, Brazil 2014, players would want
to keep themselves fit for national team selection for the biggest
football fiesta on the planet. To avoid player burn-out in what is
anticipated as a long competitive season, there is a need to introduce
fresh legs. Every position ought to be reinforced and no position in
United’s current squad is ought to be reinforced more than the right-back
position. Currently in the first squad, Rafael Da Silva is the only
natural right-back. Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Antonio Valencia are
make-shifts. Though the youth squad exists to fall back on, bringing
another player in would not be a bad idea. Hence, the need to bring in
Guille Varela, who would bring in stability and cover for the position.
Despite being a newbie to the Premier League, Guille’s no stranger to the
game having had at least 2 seasons of regular action at Atlético Penarol,
he’ll make a good addition to the squad like Alex Buttner backed Patrice
Evra in the left-back position last time out. THE RIGHT BACK POSITION PARTICULARLY IS A PLAYER SHORT
Still on the issue of the right back position, it is the least secure part
of the squad now. Rafael Da Silva has no competition and back up. Though a
reliable player, there’s no other natural right player to compete with in
the squad. What if he suffers a slump in form? What happens to the squad
if Rafael copped an injury during the long season? Chris Smalling could
step in but struggle with the position, and given his injury record at the
club he can’t be relied upon as a reliable for the position. Neither
should Moyes rely on Phil Jones for the job either; he is primary back up
to the central defense position, it would be shallow and fool hardy to
think the same Jones should still cover for Carrick in midfield and the
right full-back too. He’d get worn-out and be useless to the England cause
as the world cup is fast approaching. Also leaving the back-up job in the
hands of the youth squad may not help the club remain competitive, placing
our hopes on youngsters yet to cut their professional teeth in the big
league may backfire awfully as it did for FC Barcelona at the end of last
season when Carlos Puyol couldn’t compete. The right back looks like the
weakest link with no proper back up in the picture, so bringing Guille in
there is a very visionary move by the former manager and vetting it is
smart of the usually resourceful Moyes.
MOYES HAS A RECORD OF TURNING UNKNOWN TO BRIGHT STARS IN HIS CAREER
Talking of his resourcefulness, David Moyes has Guille as his first
subject at Old Trafoord. If Moyes was famous for anything during his stay
at Everton, it’s for his resourcefulness. Like a skilled potter, Moyes
molded players like the budding Wayne Rooney from boxing apprentice to the
precocious striker that wowed fans and blossomed into a Premier League and
national icon at Manchester United. He revamped and revived Phil Neville’s
post Manchester United career and martyred him at Goodison Park. What of
Sylvian Distin, Jack Rodwell, Phil Jagielka, Victor Anichebe, Joseph Yobo,
Kevin Mirallas, Steven Piernaar, Tim Cahill, Marouane Fellaini and
Leighton Baines to mention a few? All refined and molded from crudeness
and obscurity into gems when they got the Moyes touch at the blue half of
the Merseyside. Whatever little talent Guille is coming with placed in the
trusted hands of the shrewd and hardworking Scotsman would be honed to
efficiency and put to good effect at Old Trafford.
It’s easy to see why Guille Varela should be excited about this period in
his fledging career even though he’s going to miss the Zen master, Sir
Alex, he’s equally in good company under the tutelage and management of
the astute David Moyes. His journey across the Atlantic isn’t meant to be
a tourist trip, he is coming to provide the much needed and desired
stability and competition in the squad’s right full-back position.
Hopefully at the end of the season he’ll be laughing and jumping amongst
teammates in champagne showers while singing, “Glory, glory Man-United…”
It won’t be too hard; Chicharito would teach him the Spanish version.
That’s my take, what do you think?
My name is Olumide Ogungbemi (@rednym) and I rep Manchester United.
Manchester United are likely to splash the cash this summer and give new
boss David Moyes solid ground to build his own squad after reports
revealed the club are set for a £100 million TV windfall over 2013/14.
Because a new domestic broadcast package comes into effect from August,
the Premier League is expected to increase its commercial revenues by
almost £600 million a year until 2016.
This means United, who had 25 of their 38 Premier League matches
broadcasted last season, are set to increase their TV revenues from £60.8
million to over £100 million in just 12 months.
The package doesn’t even take into account overseas revenue – which is
still to be agreed upon – and so Moyes has a lot of cash available with
much freedom to spend.
Indeed, many Premier League betting fans agree that if United are to win
the title next term they need to strengthen
– especially in midfield and
defence. The goalkeeper position is now assured but Moyes requires a
centre-half to really solidify that position and maybe a new left-back
with Patrice Evra waning.
Another covering midfielder – such as PSV’s Kevin Strootman – would be a
great inclusion to the side and Moyes is likely to buy a striker if Wayne
Rooney gets the transfer he reportedly desires.
Because of the new TV rights package both Manchester City and Chelsea –
who already boast strong financial might – will buy players in the summer
as will Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool.
What United need is a strong start to next season
and fans who follow the
Champions League betting news also understand just how important a solid
European campaign is.
For United to kick on from this year’s title success we need to bring
players in early and bed them into the culture of the club before August.
Moyes has more money this summer than he spent over his entire Everton
tenure and the boss must make the right moves before other clubs do.
“Once I haven’t got the sharpness, I’ll probably drop back to midfield.” Wayne Rooney in an interview with Four-Four-Two Magazine, November 2012
I can’t help but feel sorry for Wayne Rooney right now. How fast does it take for one to fall out of favour with your own fans? Hand in a transfer request when they’re celebrating the club’s 20th League title win. You’d go from hero to zero like a Ferrari 458 Italia does 0 to 60mph…in mere seconds. Yes, fans are that fickle. Rooney was booed at Old Trafford during medals presentation on Sunday evening and on the bus during Monday evening’s parade. To think a player once hailed as a Manchester United hero and future legend less than 2 weeks ago is now branded a contemptuous zero is unimaginable. Yet it has happened. And any chance of news about his United future cooling down doesn’t seem very likely in the news horizon.
The press is still hot on the Rooney’s trail and 2 days ago it led them to a hotel where Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes and Ryan Giggs met behind closed doors. Grapevine had it that two announcements would take place in the next few days. One of them being that Ryan Giggs would be hanging up his boots and picking up his notebooks and be learning under David Moyes as an assistant and the other…Wayne Rooney would be making an about-face on his decision to leave Old Trafford.
Football being the sport it is isn’t very shocking these days, so news of him changing his mind won’t be all too surprising but what if that decision from Rooney is met by a brick wall on the side? What if United’s acceptance of his further stay at Old Trafford came with a Caveat? What if United’s condition for accepting a Rooney change of mind is for him to drop to the midfield?
Wouldn’t that be a nightmare if Rooney were to drop to the midfield? Yet it doesn’t seem inconceivable. The only thing is if Rooney finds it agreeable. Dropping into the midfield behind Robin Van Persie and Javier Hernandez isn’t totally new to Rooney. He’s done it on a few occasions in the past. In fact, Rooney dropping into the midfield would help solve part of United’s midfield problems as Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes take their honourable retirement from the game. Rooney may not solve all of United’s midfield problems but his experience and skills could help rid the team of its recent lack of motivation and fire amongst other things. Can Wayne Rooney play in the Manchester United midfield field?
ROONEY HAS WHAT IT TAKES TO PLAY IN THE MIDFIELD
The answer is a resounding yes. He’d even enjoy it if he’s given the license to roam and dictate the way the team plays because he has what it takes. We’ve seen him do that on a few occasions under Sir Alex Ferguson. Maybe Rooney is even made for the midfield now that Paul Scholes is out of the team and the game. And he has the qualities it requires; high work rate, vision, intelligence, he’s a good passer, he makes the long range passes most midfielders refuse to risk with good result sometimes. The pass that led to Van Persie’s second goal against Aston Villa at Old Trafford was one of such. He can mark, back-track and cover the back four when needed and he can score. Let’s not forget that in previous seasons, he initiated many of United’s counter-attack moves from deep within United’s half. He even scored on several of such counter-attacks. What else do you ask of a box-to-box midfielder which the team needs so badly right now? He knows the team like the back of his hand and this midfield adventure may yet bring the best out of him especially if he’s not the one carry the team’s goal scoring responsibilities. Operating from the midfield would give Rooney a wider view of what happening forward and it would let him channel his skills towards set-pieces like taking free-kicks. He’s known for taking free-kicks before and could go back to doing it.
PLAYING IN MIDFIELD MAY HELP HIM REDISCOVER HIS FORM
What would Rooney gain from playing in the midfield? A rediscovery of his passionate form is a huge possibility since goal scoring won’t be his primary duty. Once he finds out what other things he’s capable of, renewed respect from the Old Trafford’s Red Army would follow. The moment he channels his strength and guile towards lifting the team back to where they should be at the apex of football, he’ll regain the confidence he’s lost in the past recent seasons. Initiating and finishing-off counter attacks like he used to would be a delightful thing again. We’ve not been seeing much of that in the team’s game recently and if the initiator decides to do it on a more permanent basis that would be grand. The fans would love if Rooney could return the efficient and potent counter-attacking the team’s once famous for and this he could do if he spends more time in the middle.
HE’S 27 AND STILL YOUNG ENOUGH TO PLAY IN MIDFIELD
What could be in the way of Rooney delivering in the midfield role? He would have to work more and run more. The midfield role is one that requires covering more of the field, an end-to-end task which is very draining and enervating. Is Rooney built for running round the pitch all night? Would he be able to deliver in this task? Yes, he would. Rooney is a consummate professional. He won’t say no to any activity that will make his team come out winning in any match. All the huffing and puffing won’t take too much out him too. He’s 27 and built like a bull, he’s still young enough to play there. He won’t run from this challenge because of its physical demands.
PLAYING THERE WON’T JEOPARDIZE HIS ENGLAND CAREER
Wouldn’t playing in midfield at Old Trafford jeopardize his position in The Three Lions? It may not especially if he gets the support of his teammates. His evolution would transit to the national team especially since the England team has the same need as the United midfield. Won’t he clash with Jack Wilshere in the creative department? No, he and the Arsenal midfielder would carry out different tasks in different formations much like he would play with Shinji Kagawa in the United set up. He would jell with Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverly in the club and national team set-up too, no sensible manager would say no to the midfield built with Rooney playing in it.
Maybe Sir Alex Ferguson saw the possibility of moving Rooney to the midfield in the later stages of his career; the young man shouldn’t fail to see the blessing in playing consistently for a club. Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Alessandro Del Piero are living testaments. Maybe he should heed the midfield call, maybe that’s what’s on his mind when he made the statement, “Once I haven’t got the sharpness, I’ll probably drop back to midfield.” when he granted that interview to Four-Four-Two(UK) magazine last November 2012. Well, maybe the hour to test that statement is here, let’s see if Rooney will put his money where his mouth was…
That’s my take, what do you think?
The true winners of the events of this week are the peddlers of rumours, football gossip and the real news; the press. The good people of Rumourville broke gist 24 hours before Sir Alex announced his departure; and it was so. They whispered to us that David Moyes was the appointed successor; yet it turned out so. The press has had so much to report this week and they’re still thirsty for more. And it appears that Old Trafford is hugging the entire spotlight to itself all week because another event is brewing. And for fans of Manchester United it’s not good news. This time, the little bird is chirping that Wayne Rooney has already packed his bags and is ready to say goodbye to playing at The Theater of Dreams.
We, the fans of Manchester United, would never have imagined that day would come that Wayne Rooney would fail to show up for work in our club colours in our beloved stadium. Not many would imagine Rooney wanting to join our rivals Chelsea or Arsenal. The good people of Rumourville have it on good authority that he’s headed to United’s Premier League rivals, Arsenal Football Club or Chelsea. Some Chelsea fans are even already buying Chelsea champions league tickets
mainly because they think Rooney will be playing for them in the champions league this season. Another wicked dagger to our yet-to-be-healed hearts. Watching Rooney play anywhere else would be painful but the question is, is this the right time to go? Is it the right time to say goodbye to the jewel in the Manchester United and England’s crown?
Rooney has given 9 years of his life to Manchester United. 9 years in which he broke his foot twice, injured his ankle badly, had several surgeries and at several times had to deal with bad press in his personal life. Rooney didn’t have it easy but with the help of his manager he carried himself well. Especially when things went against him. In turn, he was protected and well-groomed by the club and the manager and he paid their faith in him back. His rewards were on the bountiful side; 5 Premier League titles, 2 F.A League Cups, 3 F.A Community Shields, 1 Champions’ League crown, 2-time losing finalist, 1 FIFA Club World Cup title and several other personal accolades. Rooney and United’s union is like that of a hand in a velvet glove.
He came to Old Trafford a promising 18 year-old and what a passionate, determined and dedicated man he grew up to be on the pitch. For an English player he displayed such uncommon talent and skill and was harnessed to the fullest by the equally resourceful Sir Alex Ferguson. The roughness was refined and discarded out of his game and life, leaving behind a fine, priceless gem. And isn’t it ironic both manager and his player were calling time on their services to the club together?
Rumours have it that Rooney met with Sir Alex 2 weeks before the titan announced his retirement. Their subject of discussion? A possible exit from Manchester United. His reason? He’s looking for a fresh challenge in the remainder of his career and he thinks that challenge lies outside of Old Trafford. Whatever and however that meeting ended, we do not know. But I have it reliable sources that as far back as 6 weeks ago an English club began making moves to add Rooney to their fold this summer and they would table a £20m offer for his services soon. No, it’s not the blue half of Manchester nor the blue half of London. The club that moved to capture Rooney first is Arsenal Football Club of London, England. Now isn’t that ironic? The same club Manchester United raided and pried their former charismatic captain, Robin Van Persie, from their fingers want to return the favour to the Red Devils. The question is should Manchester United let Rooney go and should they let him go to Arsenal? Why should United let Rooney go? UNITED HAVE THE CHANCE TO REBUILD NOW
At 27, Rooney still has many years ahead of him in the sport. We don’t know if he’s peaked but we know he can still replicate the form that saw him win all those titles at Old Trafford. The slight problem is he wants to do it elsewhere, and he should be allowed to. Wayne Rooney should be allowed to leave now because the club is at a new dawn. If he doesn’t want to be part of the new movement he can’t be forced to stay. Now is a good time, the club can rebuild and restart now because the season hasn’t started. It may take a whole lot of work but what must be done must be done. This is no time to be sentimental. The club has a new manager now and starting off with a reluctant player would definitely set the team back before the season even kicks off. That should not be allowed to happen. Cantona wasn’t stopped from retiring when he still had tons to deliver and the club survived, this will not be any different. It definitely will be tough letting Rooney go but then that’s what Manchester United is famous for. For starting all over again. KEEPING HIM AGAINST HIM WILL MAY BE COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE
He can’t be forced to play for United, it will prove counter-productive for both club and player. Not only will there be a reluctance to play on his part, it will affect his game adversely and that ultimately may ruin the team. He’ll become unmanageable for the club. A docile Rooney is a stubborn character; a recalcitrant one would be volatile, violent and very mercurial at best. Imagine Rooney in the mold of Steffan Effenberg, Hristo Stoichkov, Roberto Mancini (the player not manager), Antonio Cassano or Mario Balotelli…devastating. Nothing but devastating. He would usher in unheralded anarchy. A rebel with a cause. A modern day football-inspired Spartacus. If Rooney wants to go, the team must find a way to cope without him or go down with him. Being the kind of man he is, he must have thought of his decision before giving voice to it. It took a lot to make him stay on in 2010/2011 season, Sir Alex Ferguson being a big reason, things are different now. David Moyes may have groomed him in the Everton academy but Rooney’s not a 16 year-old former boxing apprentice anymore. He’s grown and can put up a legal team to seek a forceful exit. United should let him go honourably and not let things get ugly. MOVING ON WILL LET HIS REFRESH HIS NATIONAL CAREER
The 2014 World Cup is almost upon us ( A bit of promotion : for those looking for cheap world cup tickets, you can buy your ticket here
). England, the home of football has only one trophy to her name won back at Wembley in 1966. They’re way overdue for another one. This may be Rooney’s generation’s last chance as he would be 28 by Brazil 2014, a very good time in his life and career. By Russia 2018 his powers would have waned. Now is a good time to rediscover his form for The Three Lions. Alongside Steven Gerard, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, the other remnants of the golden generation, this may just be Rooney’s last chance to make up for previous failures. Going to Arsenal, would be United’s gift to England not necessarily to The Gunners. Yes he’ll have massive impact for Arsenal but think of what an in-form Rooney can add to England’s game. The talk of a domestic rivalry can wait till another day. Influential players like Rooney might serve England’s purpose and cause better if he continues his career at home than elsewhere. Michael Ballack elected to play for Bayern Munich instead of Real Madrid when he left Bayer Leverkusen in 2002. Roberto Baggio chose to continue playing in Italy when Manchester United approached him back in 1994. Frank Lampard refused a big money move to the MLS when Chelsea was stalling and unwilling to give him a new contract extension. They made such choice so they could have a shot at glory with the nation team. If Rooney goes to Bayern or PSG, he’ll have to go through the rigour of travelling for hours before joining the team in training. Those hours would ultimately count for valuable contribution to the team. LETTING HIM GO IS A CHANCE TO REMAIN COMPETITIVE AND CREATE ANOTHER LEGEND
The capital would suit Rooney and his family very well. The joy that will bring alone would add something to his game. Playing with a ball-playing team like Arsenal would even be great and it will make The Gunners competitive again, so that will put United back on their toes again. This move can only make United up their game and a return to the pinnacle of greatness can be the result of this movement. This will mark the return of epic battles and rivalry yet again. This is healthy for the game. And if it’s his wish to go to the capital, Rooney should be allowed to go so United can create another player of legendary status. Just the same way Roy Keane took over from Cantona, and the same way Rooney took over from David Beckham. It’s another chance for Manchester United to make another player a legend as they’ve been doing in the past decade and half of dominating the England scene. Nothing could be better for the club.
The young man deserves an honourable exit for his meritorious service to the club, letting him go without squabbles to a club of his choice may be the way to start. And when he makes a return to Old Trafford; he’ll get the customary standing ovation we accord our friends and former heroes. For at the sound of the whistle, the Red Devils won’t be showing Rooney nor his new teammates mercy of any sort on the grass. Good bye, young lion, may you continue to roar far and wide the birthplace of the beautiful game of football.
That’s my take, what do you think?
Van Persie delivered the win.
Ever since the Robin van Persie's move from Arsenal to United was done, it has been discussed that he is the difference between United and rest of the title contenders. And yesterday, by scoring his 2nd hat trick of the season, he has proved it right. Van Persie scored three goals to become the leading scorer in the league and delivered the league on a silver plate. Rooney's delivery for Van Persie's second goal was done justice when Robin hit a beautiful volley to extend the lead. Van Persie moved to Manchester United to have a chance of winning trophies as it was better to bet on Kentucky derby now
than to expect Arsenal to win the league and he made sure he did his best in achieving so. Golden Boot and Goal of the season along with a possible PFA Player of the year and a Premier League medal should mean that you've had a good season.
Aston Villa set up was too attack minded.
Paul Lambert's side was in good form coming into this game and with just 3 points off relegation zone, a point or three from this game would have been more than welcomed. With this in mind, Villa set up with an attacking mindset playing Weimann, Agbonlahorand Benteke up front. But this side could not cope up with the blistering start United had and the game was finished when van Persie completed his hat-trick around the half hour mark. The 2nd half was a much better performance and it showed signs of why Villa won't go down this season. They are a young side and fielded 3 academy products on Monday.
Cracking the Rooney-Kagawa roles.
If there are two players who were almost flawless on the pitch yesterday, they were Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa. Rooney started in the center midfield position and Kagawa played just behind Van Persie. Rooney's key passes created the opening two goals and although the opponent was not as tough as Chelsea or City, he put in a
fine shift which earned him a standing ovation from the Old Trafford faithful when he was taken off. Kagawa's best position is playing in the hole and he proved it yet again against Villla last night. Although he missed a sitter to make it 4-0, he only misplaced 3 passes all game and that's a fine example of good he was.
Phil Jones - "The Greatest Ever"
With Ferdinand and Vidic suffering slight injuries, Sir Alex turned to Jones and Evans who started as center backs. There has been a lot of talk of Jones having immense potential and he has been compared to the like of Duncan Edwards, tipped to be United and England's future captain. But the biggest praise he received was yesterday when Sir Alex said that he could go down as the club's greatest player ever. Jones is versatile and has done well in every position he has played, be it at center back, full back or in the defensive midfield. Having only just turned 21 years of age, he has a decade ahead of him and should he stay injury free, he will become one of best in the world.
Sir Alex and the hunger to win
Time and again, season after season, Sir Alex rises like a Phoenix from ashes after to get the trophy back. In the last decade he has shunned the challenge from Arsenal, Chelsea and now he has managed to go one up on Manchester City. He's a winner who has his flaws but his hunger to win and succeed cannot be questioned.
United were poor in the 2nd half and even though they were comfortably leading 3-0 he was on the touchline shouting on players who were lethargic. It's his 13th premier league title and this one's sweeter than the last one.
From being indispensable two years ago, to not making the staring 11 for United’s biggest game of the season, Rooney’s importance at Manchester United has sort of shown a downward graph in last couple years. You don’t substitute your best players, simple as that. However, Rooney, has been subbed off quite a few times this season. Is this an indication that Sir Alex does not see Rooney as his ‘go to’ man anymore?
One of the main reasons that has worked against Rooney is his fitness problem. Often turning up overweight after a break has made his performances lethargic and that is very obvious on the field. Rooney’s been punished for his ‘night outs’ few times by Sir Alex as recently as last season when he was left out of the Blackburn game which United lost in the end. Rooney’s body is not like of someone like Giggs who rarely puts on weight, albeit it’s not his fault that he gains weight quickly, it is his responsibility to watch what he eats.
Analyzing Wayne Rooney’s performance post-contract saga is not as easy as it should be. He has played wide number of roles in past 3 seasons. From excelling by playing in the hole and helping Hernandez and Welbeck for two seasons, to playing in central midfield and on the left. His defensive play has increased as he’s playing deeper than he did in past seasons. Taking into perspective that Rooney’s most influential position has been as playing in the lone striker role, Rooney has still managed a fine return of 65 goals/assists in his last 73 starts for the club.
Sir Alex’s constant playing with Rooney’s position has resulted in him losing his level of performance. A player who is two goals shy of 200 goals for his club should be played upfront. With Shinji Kagawa coming in this side, United have a player who can work wonders from playing in the hole position just behind striker. In such a case, if Rooney’s under-par performance continues, United could easily think of cashing him in and using it for filling up the central midfielder position.
Reports suggest that Rooney is keen to sign a new contract but this time the ball is in United’s court as they hold the strings here. It’s highly unlikely that United will be willing to offer him more wages and certainly nowhere near to the kind of wages the French side Paris-Saint Germain would. Shinji Kagawa is gem of a player and if he is more effective playing in the position Rooney is playing then United should consider selling him thus as it seems like the only way all the parties involved will benefit. Rooney will be better off playing out of position so it would be a sort of second coming for the striker in him and United would get good money for him thus using Kagawa in his favored position.
The word “controversial” has almost become synonymous with French whizkid Paul Pogba. Even at the tender age of 20, his two career moves have prompted much debate, discussion and deliberation amongst the football folk of the land. However, his summer switch to Turin was as infuriating as it was inevitable, making a mockery of the storm that was brewed following his transfer from Le Havre to Old Trafford. Here we had a teenage primadonna in the making, a handful of first team appearances under his most probably Armani belt, demanding a starting role in the midfield and a £30,000 a week contract. What is the world coming to? That’s what we all thought, right? Come on, admit it.. There can be no secret that Sir Alex thought the same. But, with the benefit of hindsight, did we all make a terrible error of judgment?
Since his high profile exit in the summer, Pogba has featured 28 times for table-topping, title-touching Juventus, netting 5 times in the process. This for a club with the Serie A trophy under lock and key in the aptly, yet rather boringly titled Juventus Stadium (Hmm, I wonder who struts their stuff there?). Not many gave him chance a of making it after leaving United. Many even advised it is better placing your bet on sports at Top Bet
and hope Spurs win the league than betting on Pogba doing well elsewhere. Pogba made his international début for France against Georgia in March, playing all 90 minutes in a 3-1 victory. In a more recent and, let’s be honest, a little more tricky qualifying game against tripartite champions Spain, Pogba more than held his own against the likes of Xavi, Andreas Iniesta, David Silva and, erm, Nacho Monreal, or “the new Andre Santos” as he’s affectionately known by the white wearers of the capital’s Northern regions. A late sending off for an overzealous, forgivably youthful challenge on tika-taka King Xavi failed to dampen the spirits or loosen his “noveau Patrick Vieira” tag that, for some time, has been tightening round the neck of the man who has dedicated himself to emulating Paneka’s heir, Andrea Pirlo. “I would like to have a similar career to his”, stated the bullish enforcer-cum-playmaker. On early evidence, this doesn’t sound like the arrogant drawls of a teenage wannabe. It’s a career plan. One that looks increasingly achievable.
So how are we discussing Paul Pogba’s Old Trafford
career in the past tense, a dead duck? Well, Sir Alex has never been one to suffer fools. And the way Pogba acted was, in truth, foolish. "I didn't want to sign a contract as Ferguson didn't play me, even though there were no midfielders there. He obviously thought I didn't deserve the contract I asked for, and didn't put me in the team even though he had no midfield players. It was his choice.” It certainly was. But was it the right one? In an era where the greed and arrogance of the likes of Zeki Fryers and Ravel Morrison saw the bright lights of Old Trafford eclipsed before their cartoon-esque dollar sign eyes, Pogba inevitably fell into an identical bracket. With the aforementioned duo playing reserve and Championship football, many of us anticipated the young powerhouse to discover the same fate, even in the land of sun, sea and, erm, Fabio Borini. Surely the Juve first team would prove, like in the land of rain, council estates and, erm, Les Dawson, a step to far even for his leggy frame. Not the case. Far from it. "United were short of players like me”. Unfortunately, he was right.
Errors of judgment are not something Sir Alex makes a habit of but for every Robin Van Persie and Cristiano Ronaldo, there is bound to be a David Bellion and Eric Djemba-Djemba, so bad they named him twice. There may be no “should’ves” or “could’ves” about Fryers or Morrison, but, in terms of Pogba, it was a chance missed so emphatically that Mame Biram Diouf comes to mind (although, rather frustratingly, the Senegalese forward has been on fire for Hannover this season, reportedly courted by Dortmund. Typical!). Pogba’s form for Juventus has been more fearsome than fine. And with a current squad that is, so were told, desperately deficient in quality midfielders, it seems almost criminal that Pogba has been allowed to slip through the net. As he bid au revoir to Old Trafford, the cries of good riddance were almost deafening. However, avid watchers of the Italian league will tell us that Pogba has developed into one of Europe’s finest midfield prodigies, if not the cream of the rather classy crop. Sacre Bleu!
So, what is it about Paul Pogba that makes him so special? What is it that marks him aside from so many academy disappointments and failures, dropping like flies by the wayside? Why does he rank alongside the likes of Gerard Pique and Giuseppe Rossi rather than Danny Drinkwater and Terry Cooke? You want proof? Unfortunately for the United lovers amongst you, you may not be able to handle the proof. Get on YouTube (other video viewing sites are available...probably...somewhere) and type in “Pogba goal”. The first video you’ll see (behind adverts for Fosters and a Renault Clio) comprises of two, rather special strikes against Udinese. And that’s an understatement. Watch it. Now do you see why he’s so special? Yeah, thought so.
The fact is, Pogba is
exactly what United have been after. All this time scrupulously searching for their Holy Grail and, in reality, it was already in their grasp. An expansive passer, tenacious tackler and owner of some of the most powerpacked boots in Italian football. Comparisons with Vieira, Desailly and co. were just a matter of time. Just when you thought the age of the box-to-box midfielder was dying a death quicker and more painful than the career of Holly Valance, a new kid on the block turns the world upside down. Sometimes the truth can hurt. Watching Pogba in full flow is not too dissimilar to witnessing a young Roy Keane at the peak of his powers. And by Robbie Fowler (or “God” to those of us without shell-suits), we could do with him back. Painful, isn’t it. They say pride is one of the seven deadly sins. Sometimes, it’s best just to admit you’re wrong. As sacrilegious as this may be, Sir Alex was indeed erroneous. In hindsight, he ought to have given Pogba a chance to justify his self-assurance in the first team. Instead, he brought back Paul Scholes. Inspired move it may have been, as “sat-nav” steered United to within a kick of the title, but, in this very moment, the death certificate on Paul Pogba’s Premier League life was signed, sealed and delivered. It was a huge misjudgement. One hopes, prays that Sir Alex will be able to enjoy the luxury of having such a supremely talented protégé in his ranks again. As good as Pogba though? Perhaps not.
In the warbling words of Joss Stone, “you had me, you lost me”. Maybe next time Sir Alex kicks back and listens to a bit of Now 59 this particular track, either side of old favourites; the vaguely memorable Ice-Cube and yep, totally forgotten Christina Milian, will resonate deep within his conscience. After all these years of waiting, wondering when the next big talent was going to stride out of the doors of Carrington, we lost sight of the fact that he was already there. Pogba’s career is on the rise and, if truth be told, it’s barely even begun. United sold him for shy of £1million. What would he be worth now? 20, 25 times more? 30? At the end of the day, you’ve got to wish Paul Pogba luck. You can’t fault his ambition. It’s that bullish quality that has become so synonymous with the man who should still be his manager. He wanted first team football. He was prepared to leave to get it. And, guess what? He got it.
Lessons can be learned. Youth team players are not bred to wind up at Leicester City in a few years time. They are taught by the best, for the best. And sometimes, on rare occasions, they may even be the best. Pogba may be the one who got away, but there’s still reason for optimism. Adnan Januzaj, Davide Petrucci. Hope springs, forever, eternal. If there’s one thing we have all learned from this, it’s that you should never write someone of for having ambition. Yeah, there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, but it never did Ronaldo much harm. Pogba may have slipped through the net. Just make sure it’s tighter next time.
Written by Daniel Owen
West Ham deserved at least a point.
Hammers started far better than the league leaders and their physical presence in the midfield and upfront trouble United throughout the 90 minutes. Vaz Te and Matt Jarvis played some good football on the wings and skinned United's defenders quite a few times. Hammers applied the long ball theory where they hooped the ball in hope
that one of their big men headed it in the net and it worked when Rey got their 1st goal. Carroll won every header in the box and was useful yesterday. Diame's wonderful curler gave Hammers the lead for the 2nd time in the match and in the end the game finished at 2 goals a piece but truly, the hammers deserved their 1 point.
Jones fails in a two-man midfield.
In a game where you need to control the ball and keep the possession, playing Jones in the misfiled turned out to be a bad idea as he could not ace either of these traits. Jones was good at getting back and tackling when needed but that left a huge space in the midfield which was often covered by Rooney who played very deep. Carrick needs a player who is more dynamic and United had one of them in Cleverley on the bench but Sir Alex continued not to play him for some mysterious reason and hence filled it by playing Jones there.
United got lucky.
The performance was very lethargic and it would count as lucky that United came away with a point from Upton Park. United's defenders were unable to deal with the long balls for most of the times and their attack was toothless. Rooney had another of those games where he could not care about the game and was rightly subbed off for Giggs in the second half. Kagawa was the only one who played well and it was clear that his 2 assists proved to be the difference. United rescued a point courtesy Robin van Persie's goal and however ugly the way United played was, it meant United only needed 2 wins out of the remaining 5 games.
Sir Alex and substitutions
There has been a trend recently that has seen Sir Alex make changes to the team that would often result in 'too late.' When a team goes down a goal or two it means something is surely not working and it needs to be rectified. But, Sir Alex seems to be content with making changes very late in the game. It has raised some eyebrows that how someone like Valencia who is having worst spell of his career can still start a game. A 39 year old Giggs is looked upon as a game changer and it is worrying some United fans that the signs are not looking good even though United have somehow managed to win most of the games.
The Wayne Rooney situation.
This season, Rooney has been out for nearly 10 weeks due to various injuries he suffered. He still has a good goals/assist ratio but he has been played in every attacking position available. From striker to playing in the hole to a central midfielder and on the left yesterday. Although Sir Alex has said many times that he's a kind of player who can excel anywhere on the pitch, it feels like this experimentation of playing him where the team is lacking is affecting his performance.
No matter what the situation, it’s always a horrible feeling to see your arch rivals celebrating on your own turf. And this was no different. Imagine peering out the window and witnessing your most despised childhood enemy gleefully destroying your prized winning lawn. Well, that must have been how Sir Alex felt as Sergio Aguero’s rocket blasted City into a matchwinning lead at Old Trafford. But every cloud has a silver lining, that’s what they say isn’t it? Even a cumulonimbus like this, obscuring the Theatre of Dreams in a shroud of dismay, brings with it a glow of optimism. Yes, City may have prevailed, yes, City may have des
erved a escapist victory, directing their attention away from their impending disappointment, but it will count for nothing. There’s only so far local pride can go.They can rightfully claim the bragging rights for now but, when you can counter that with the “yeah, but who are the champions?” rhetoric, you may well have discovered the perfect way to shut up the critics. More pressing matters first though. Another home derby defeat. Not quite the humiliation of last year but that humble pie is beginning to taste very bitter.
Lack of importance = lack of quality
Late yellow card flurry aside, United vs City lacked the traditional iconography of a true, old fashioned, rough and tumble English derby. De Gea and Hart were relatively unworked in an uncompromising yet unceremonious affair. Aguero’s wondergoal was, in truth, the only moment of bonafide quality in a derby that looked more local under 12s encounter than superclub mêlée. Perhaps the 15 point gap was the worst possible factor for a game that was almost immediately billed as the title decider by various live betting
sites when the fixtures went to press last summer. Unlike the death or glory battle royale of City’s 1-0 success this time last spring, volume II was as uninspiring a sequel as Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, with Aguero in the ruinous role of Jar Jar Binks. Perhaps the seemingly eternal 15 point lead was the worst thing that could have happened in the eyes of the neutral. The must see finale of last season will not be repeated. The lack of intensity reflected this. Not so much a title claiming combat but, almost a testimonial to the season’s demise. After last year though, we’d certainly take “boring” wouldn’t we?
Hernandez should be first choice
Who would have thought that, with Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney in the front line, there would be calls for another man to take on the starring role at Old Trafford? Well, following another abject performance from the out-of-form Dutchman and the seemingly out-of-shape Merseysider, perhaps it’s time for a bit of Mexican magic in the centre forwards birth. Javier Hernandez has always had the reputation of being a truly clinical finisher, as Petr Cech will testify. Not only that, his aptitude for big goals at big times in big games marks him out as the perfect squad member. But, isn’t it about time he deserved more than that? Not once did United stretch the City defence. Not once were Kompany and Nastasic forced to stare into the whites of Joe Hart’s eyes. Hernandez’s introduction gives Sir Alex a different option. One he perhaps should be taking more advantage of.
Lack of midfield muscle cost United
Again the scaly demon of midfield criticism has raised its horrific head. Michael Carrick may have been the star of the show this season, putting in performances that he previously could only have accomplished on Fifa, while Ryan Giggs’ club legend status remains as deeply embedded as ever. Against City however, they were outnumbered, outran, outthought and, let’s be honest, outclassed. With a combined age of a gratis bus traveller, these seasoned veterans are just not the combination for a big game encounter. Against mobile opposition, Giggs and Carrick lack the legs to keep up with the pace of the game. Sir Alex must learn to pair an experienced campaigner with an enthusiastic youngster. Cleverley may not have been in the best of form recently, but his mobility and manoeuvrability is a must have. City predictably dominated possession and, subsequently, dominated the celebrations. A young midfielder is a must have. Unless Sir Alex gets his hands on some sort of “Back to the Future”-esque Delorean and gives Ryan Giggs the keys, the only answer is to put some faith in youth.
Welbeck is the answer to wing problems
OK, United need a new midfielder, we all admit to that, but there has been a recent clamour for a new wideman to etch his name into the Old Trafford squad list. With Wilfried Zaha following in the footsteps of his very near namesake, and continued speculation about a possible swoop for James Rodriguez; it’s clear that the media have made their mind up about who the new darling of Old Trafford should be. With Young, Nani and Valencia beginning to become as disappointing as each and every episode of the Walking Dead, Danny Welbeck has stepped up the plate, possibly providing the answer to our wing wizard equation. OK, he may be no Ronaldo, Giggs or Beckham. In fact, he’s not even a natural wideman. But his enthusiasm and willingness to play anywhere and everywhere makes him an essential commodity for Sir Alex. Where Young again disappointed, Welbeck impressed, giving Gael Clichy plenty of food for thought. Maybe Sir Alex can save that £36million after all.
Momentum has gone
Perhaps that Madrid robbery has had more of an impact than we first thought. It was a crime that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a Channel 5 documentary and it seems like the victims are yet to recover from the trauma. 5 games since, just 2 wins, including disastrous defeats to, not only City, but Chelsea as well. The defence may have undergone a “Ten Years Younger” style makeover but the strikeforce has struggled to come to United’s rescue as they had done on such a consistent basis in the season’s early stages. On Sky Sport’s prided “Monday Night Football”, it appeared that the majority of the United squad had spent the weekend living life to the full, rather than preparing for the visit of the noisy neighbours. The momentum, the energy has gone, lethargy taking its place. Perhaps it’s lucky we’re so far ahead. Because the disastrous disassembling of this time last year is becoming more and more familiar.
It wasn’t quite a goal of such resonance to generate a season soundbite, but Sergio Aguero has a knack for rather meaningful strikes, as United were reminded of on Monday. It was a special goal to seal a dismal derby. City may be chortling now, but we will have the last laugh. They may have won the battle, but we will win the war. The gap is now 12 points but, if that was an option at the beginning of the season, be honest, you would have snapped anyone’s hand off. 4 points to seal the title. Away games against Stoke and West Ham to come. In truth, United should end the drama within the fortnight. If not, no matter. There are still a few winnable home games to follow. United need to put another derby defeat behind them and focus their efforts, their attention on the Britannia on Sunday. Back to the bread and butter, and Stoke away really is the main course in a staple diet. It may hurt now but, just think, in a few weeks this defeat will fade into insignificance. Then we will have the luxury of skipping it on the season review. And that, if nothing else, is the indication of a successful season.
Written By Daniel Owen