Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson finally looks to have decided upon his retirement date after a close source revealed that the manager will finally leave the club after two years. In order to go out on a high, Sir Alex Ferguson has also managed to convince the owners that they need to splash the cash on players that the manager wants and not based on the re-sale value of the players. As a result, Manchester United have broken the recent transfer policy of not signing players over the age of 26 by bringing in the 29 year old Arsenal striker Robin van Persie.
The total value of the deal is expected to cross £ 70 million over the course of the four-year contract that was signed by the player. The transfer fee of the player might be just £ 24 million, but his astronomical wages mean that the total value of the deal will cross the £ 70 million mark after the end of the four years. Sir Alex Ferguson is not looking to finish his summer purchases with Robin van Persie, as he is keen to add the signing of the Everton defender Leighton Baines for around £ 20 million.
“Alex will only be manager for a couple more years so it was time the owners gave him what he wanted. That’s Van Persie,” said a source close to the manager. “There is only one position in particular we are looking at. We’ve splashed out quite a bit of money this summer but I’m sure if I went to the Glazers, they’d say ”yes”,” said Sir Alex Ferguson after sealing the signing of Robin van Persie. The manager Sir Alex Ferguson took personal interest in completing the deal for the Arsenal striker, who scored 37 goals in the league last season.
Manchester United are undoubtedly a team in transition. With a few notable exceptions the majority of the squad that won the 2008 Champions League remains intact, albeit four years older and wiser. In addition to this old guard, Ferguson has begun to blood the new generation; the youthful exuberance of messrs Welbeck, Cleverley, Smalling and Jones yielding remarkable success in the early stages of last season, but ultimately lacking the substance to push United over the line to secure a record 20th league title.
That the margin of failure was so narrow- United were mere seconds away from snatching league victory from their cross city rivals- must stand as testament to the extraordinary ability of Ferguson to craft a successful team from a squad which, on paper, appears somewhat inferior to those of his Premier League title rivals. The fear from Manchester United fans must be that Ferguson’s managerial wizardry can only bridge the gap in quality for so long, and without serious investment the sky blue ribbons which adorned the Premier League trophy in May could become the norm rather than an anomaly.
Ferguson has indeed acted to strengthen his squad this summer with the additions of Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa and promising youngster Nick Powell, as well as the promise of “one or two” more to still to come. However, that the iconic number 7 shirt has been given to last year’s Player of the Season Antonio Valencia after being respectfully declined by Kagawa perhaps suggests that the forthcoming arrivals may not be the true marquee players that the fans so crave and that City have recently made such a habit of acquiring.
Although quiet thus far in the transfer window, it is surely just a matter of time before City hunt down their next superstar, which combined with Roman Abramovich’s renewed enthusiasm for big money signings mean that United face another fierce fight for the title. The United old guard must remain assured as ever and the young generation must grow up quickly, or else United fans face the very real prospect of another trophyless season.
Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley has said that he is extremely optimistic about having a very good season next year. The 22-year-old midfielder spent most of the season on the injury table after having impressed so spectacularly during the initial few months of the campaign in the absence of Paul Scholes.
His injury, though, led to the comeback of the 37-year-old veteran back from retirement. Scholes will now play for one more year, which is a great boost for him and Manchester United according to Tom Cleverley. It was initially thought that Cleverley would be part of the England squad at the Euro 2012.
However, huge number of injury problems during the entire campaign have meant that he will not be part of the England setup at Ukraine and Poland. There is a good chance that he might be included in the Team GB for the London Olympics 2012. Cleverley has not started a Premier league match since suffering the injury problem in October. However, due to the fact that he has more than 15 years of professional career ahead of him, he is certainly not worried about making an impact in the Manchester United first-team. It is not the first time Cleverley has had to deal with injury problems, as he has suffered many during his loan spells.
“It has been a nightmare at times but I am only 22 and have around 15 years ahead of me yet. I just hope I have got it all over and done with now. There were times during the season when I thought I was the unluckiest footballer in the world. From a great start it became the hardest season of my life but it has made me mentally stronger. here is nothing more exciting in life than to be playing for Manchester United. To have that taken away is very hard to deal with,” said Cleverley.
After a cruel, but exciting finish to the premier league Manchester United finished empty handed as their Manchester rivals lifted the Premier league to deny Ferguson his 20th English league title.
It is inevitable for people to look at where things went wrong and they may be hard pressed to pinpoint the exact problem. Although it would be tempting to blame injuries to the likes of Nemanja Vidic and Darren Fletcher or that a more youthful side lacking experience were United’s undoing, it would not be sufficient answer as at 8 points clear with 6 games remaining, Vidic had been missing all season and the youth of united had been the driving force to their success.
A finger this year may well be pointed at Ferguson himself for the team’s failure. In key games towards the end of the season, most notably the Wigan and City game, Ferguson’s team selection was poor. Taking Ashley young and Antonio Valencia out of the squad to face City was suicidal and the inclusion of Park after 3 months without a start proved to be a weak decision from the red devils manager.
Ferguson has stated that he believes this season will make his side stronger, but surely he must also know the City will also be much stronger. Ferguson was quick to congratulate his neighbours and hinted at United also opening the cheque book to ensure the title next year, with rumours of Eden Hazard and Yohan Cabaye being suggested as possible transfer targets. Bringing in players to strengthen his squad is a necessity especially in central midfield and defence. With Ferguson still hungry to continue at the helm at old Trafford, United will be ready for battle as they look to overcome their rivals next season.
Sir Alex Ferguson has said that Manchester United need to kick on following their impressive 4-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers during the weekend. The 4-1 victory over Wolves went some way into patching up the hard feelings after the Champions League exit.
Manchester United had exited the Champions League group stages only one three times since the inception of the league in 1992. The event into the match against FC Basel needing a win, but lost 2-1, which meant that FC Basel – and not Manchester United – qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League.
Many expected the backlash against Wolves during the weekend and it arrived in the best possible way. Nani scored the opening goal after just 17 min, which helped ease the pressure on the Old Trafford. Manchester United soon doubled their lead in the first half itself through Wayne Rooney, who had previously gone nine games without scoring a goal. Perhaps, he was revitalised following the news that his Euro 2012 ban had been reduced to 2 games from three. However, it would be tough to read into the win over Wolves because Manchester United usually perform well against the teams from the lower half of the table.
“You hope (the win over Wolves puts City under pressure) but the important thing is to have our game right and if we get to New Year’s Day in the frame, we’ve got a great chance in the second half of the season. On Wednesday (in Basel) we worked our socks off and didn’t get a break but against Wolves we worked our socks off and got the breaks. Some of the football was fantastic,” Sir Alex Ferguson said following the impressive win. As a result of this, Manchester United now close the gap with Manchester City to just two points.