Boggs struggles with his sums as the Owen Hargreaves saga seems to be reaching a climax. And not the disgusting kind.
Yes, paying 18.6M for Tottenham’s poor man’s Andrea Pirlo still seems steep and the supposed 17M it would take to pry the Canadian from Bayern Munich’s cold, incredibly angry fingers is hardly a financial coup – especially considering that Hargreaves has only recently gone from punchline of Sven’s England reign to World’s Greatest Living Player.
Yet both deals still represent fantastic business for Manchester United (assuming Owen Hargreaves’ much anticipated press conference today results in a Bosman-like enforcement of player power although we’re hoping for a lot of profanity and maybe some sort of scuffle).
The recent ‘slump’ afflicting the club has not stemmed from a lack of talent, merely balance. It is no secret that the centre of Manchester United’s midfield represented a gaping hole in talent and consistency compared to the rest of the squad and the mere fact that names like Djemba-Djemba or Liam Miller ever graced the position will be an eternal shame for Sir Alex and his children.
Scholes may be on the mend and O’Shea and Fletcher adequate squad players, but Carrick and Hargreaves would represent a strong and potentially dominant partnership in defense and attack for years. More importantly, such a balanced and defensively sound partnership will allow Ferguson to safely play the trademark 4-4-2 he has recently re-discovered after mucking about with fashionable 4-3-3 and 4-5-1’s. Hargreaves and Carrick will be more like Keane and Ince than Keane and Scholes …although Scholes is still playing so I guess Hargreaves and Scholes would be more like Keane and Scholes …well… whatever.
With Chelsea investing so heavily to pull away from the pack, Rafa Benitez spending Liverpool’s cash like it’s going out of fashion and Arsene Wenger continuing to sign wunderkids for nothing, now is not the time for Manchester United to be counting pennies once they’ve identified the players they need.
So chin up, Sir Alex. Carrick + Hargreaves for 35M? BARGAIN.