The summer’s most drawn out, and for both clubs the most significant, transfer saga seems just about over.
Reports flooding out of everyone’s arse are that Manchester United have agreed a fee in the region of 18M for Tottenham’s Michael Carrick, in one fell swoop providing Sir Alex the holding midfielder/playmaker he’s been dying for to help challenge Chelsea and removing Spurs of arguably their most important player but adding a fat wad of cash.
The signing has also shown us that Alex Ferguson’s credibilty in any sort of transfer-related quote has been shot even further, while Martin Jol’s remains the model of the fabled Honest Dutchman. We won’t even go into the other lies we’ve been told by other sources.
But is this the right signing for either club? At this price?
From United’s perspective, they’ve their hands on a proven, quality Premiership midfielder who should help their team play tick along nicely from deep positions – although Rio Ferdinand will be disappointed he might not get to bring the ball out 30 yards every time. Carrick is not a destroyer like Roy Keane was, however, and will need midfielder partners to compliment him. But the calm and composure that the mulleted man will bring to the midfield will be noticeable, while his defensive play greatly appreciated by those keen enough to appreciate those types of things.
18M is also an incredible amount of money and while the sale of Van Nistlerooy would have funded much of it Ferguson has still payed double their intial bid, and the fee is certainly inflated significantly considering Tottenham picked up Didier Zokora for around half that. Right player, but the right price? United arguably could use another central midfielder but will the money be there?
Which brings us to Spurs, losing a key player both in terms of performance and tactical role is never going to be easy to swallow, but getting 18M for him certainly is. If Didier Zokora earned interest from Arsenal and United before signing for Spurs, put in a good performance in the World Cup, and if he delivers on his promise Tottenham could be looking at a more athletic, aggressive version of the former West Ham man. Zokora’s athleticism will mean he should get forward more than his predecessor, knowing that he can track back should the ball be lost. The other option is young Tom Huddlestone, who can play at the back or as a holding midfielder and possesses a passing range arguably superior to that of Carrick. The problem is he’s about 7 feet tall and 900 pounds, making him slightly less than mobile. But his talent could make him this year’s Aaron Lennon. The lads over at Glory-Glory.net are already arguing over the 8,357 different formations they could now play next season.
With a potential replacement already signed, the big question will be how much of the 18M now becomes available to Martin Jol for new signings? Having failed to up their bid sufficiently for Damien Duff, Tottenham should now have the funds to make one, if not two new signings for the troublesome left midfield position.
It’s probably a bit daft to make any final conclusions about Michael Carrick for 18M until at least the transfer window has shut and some matches have been played by both clubs, but at least things are starting to get interesting.