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Time for the silly season


With the season over, it’s now time for the start of the new season, the season of transfer rumours, million pound splashing and cheque waving. Yes, it’s the start of a new transfer window and with it brings tonnes of new names heading in to Old Trafford and the odd name or two leaving.

Let me start by what we like to call certainties. The inevitable has happened this season and we have seen the retirement of three stalwarts, that is, Gary Neville, Edwin Van der Sar and Paul Scholes. It was more or less expected from the beginning of the season that these three were going to hang up their boots (gloves to be more technical in the case of Edwin) come the end of the season. Personally, I really believed that this was Scholesy’s last season. As we all know he isn’t a man of many words and when the end of the season approached and the decision was still being delayed, feelings that this was indeed going to be Paul’s last go at it. We shall definitely miss the little Ginger man from Salford. Although the Scholesy of old had maybe long gone, glimpses of what he once was were still a joy to behold. Diagonal cross-field pinpoint passes were a joy to behold, let alone the short crisp passing by picking up the ball from deep and serving his more advanced team-mates, which sometimes got confused at the ease of which they were picked out.

Apart from that we were blessed by the decision that Ryan Giggs will extend his career by a further one year. The Welsh Wizard, albeit being 38 years of age, had one hell of a season. He showed glimpses of the Giggsy of old setting up goals for his team-mates and mesmerizing midfield counterparts with some slick passing. Although his usual left wing berth has been voided and replaced with some younger vigorous personnel in the shape of Nani or Park, watching Giggsy play sometimes was eye-aching to say the very least. How a player of his age still play that kind of football at the highest end of the football pyramid just simply astounds me to say the very least.

Man United were also dealt with the blow that fan’s favourite Owen Hargreaves was going to leave Old Trafford after the Gaffer decided not to renew his contract. From my personal point of view, I would have given him one last chance, even as a repayment for his hard work after recuperating from two years of tendinitis, a complete hamstring tear and then when it seemed all over and on his way to full fitness, his shoulder decided to give way. Poor old Hargo!

Other than these four losses, players on their way out should be at a bare minimum although I do expect a few other faces to leave in search of first team football. Players such as Polish goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak and long serving full back Wes Brown are expecting to be heading for pastures new.

Enough about the sad, sorry outgoing players stuff. Now it’s down to the interesting bit. Who is coming to Old Trafford? Whilst writing this article (which by the way, I have been promising Sam for quite a long time), Skysports are reporting that Ferguson has indeed gazumped Liverpool in the race to sign hot shot Phil Jones. Phil Jones is one for the future, still at the tender age of 19, but having already played 25 odd games for his boyhood club Blackburn he is of the John O’Shea mould, whereby he can fit in any position at the back and midfield. His preferred positions are at Centre Back and as an anchor in midfield. With him and Chris Smalling on United’s books, we definitely have the future England centre back pairing. Although I wouldn’t rule out Ferguson trying to mould him in a Neville-like versatile full back.

Another player who most probably is on his way in is the Spanish Under-21 goalkeeper David De Gea, who will be replacing Van der Sar in goal. While many of us were left beleaguered of how on earth Ferguson can trust a 19 year old between the sticks after having such a torrid time in replacing good old Peter Schmeichel, all I can say is that I am quite sure that we are in for a bout of dejavou from the good old man himself. When Van der Sar was signed from Fulham the majority of us said: “He’s past it!” Was he indeed? Six years on and what a signing he turned out to be. Four Premiership titles, two Football League Cups, Three Community Shields, One Champions League Winners Medal (Two silver ones too), and a Fifa Club World Club Medal. The only one that has constantly eluded him was The FA Cup, but quite frankly if that is not enough, then I don’t know what is.

In David De Gea we have the goalkeeping position sorted for years to come, unless, god forbid we’re in for another merry go round of ins and outs until Mr. Right comes along. But at the age of 19, having already won the Europa Cup and European Super Cup with Atletico Madrid, I am quite sure he is Mr. Right for Man United. Standing at 6feet 3inches, possessing lightning reactions and most importantly being the future Spanish goalkeeper once, Man United are surely not going to regret this one.

Having lost Scholes to retirement, Ferguson is in search on that creative midfield spark which has eluded him since when Cristiano Ronaldo left for you know who. A host of names have been linked to United, namely Samir Nasri, Shinyi Kagawa, Wesley Sneijder, Javier Pastore and fan favourite Luka Modric. Personally from all the names constantly being added to the rumour mill, I would prefer either the Tottenham star or Wesley Sneijder from Internazionale, impossible as they may be due to the extravagant transfer figures being asked for by their respective clubs. For Modric - passing, creativity, acceleration, tenacity and a good finisher too – this guy has it all. Sometimes guilty of dallying on the ball for way too much, I am sure should Modric be heading to Old Trafford, Ferguson will bring the very best out of him. As always! Sneijder is also another good option instead of the Croatian, with the Dutch international himself hinting that he would love to ply his trade someday at Old Trafford. An advantage he might have over the fellow Croatian could be that he has one hell of a shot in his boots, something that Modric might not have although he is not shy from the fantastic odd goal or two.

Lastly, another one to have rumoured to be very close to signing is Ashley Young. With little being done by Aston Villa and their directors to shun the quite obvious interest from Man United, I believe it is just a matter of time before we see him in a Red shirt. With Giggsy coming towards his end of his career and Nani looking preferred more to a right wing role rather on the left, options on the left hand side are kind of, limited. And that is where Ashley Young comes in. Having picked up England, versus Switzerland (with the aid of another genius answering to the name of Jack), by the scruff of the neck and drawing them level in just a few minutes since coming on as a half time substitute, and setting up a few more for some wasteful teammates in the shape or form (call it whatever you like)of Darren Bent and co., Man United could look forward to having this lad on the wings for years to come.

Whoever comes in or goes out, we are sure in for one busy silly season were fifty is just about the right number of players that Man United are about to sign according to the tabloids, and around four hundred million quid is the size of Fergie’s kitty. It’s all in the fun of it – isn’t it not? But until I see the players getting there photo taken signing on the dotted line, I shall not be drawn into conclusions and believing one word of what is being reported.

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