A reaction to a good list of potential signings.
His club, Schalke, deny it, but reports indicate that Ferguson’s search for a long-term successor to Edwin van der Sar may end with German international goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. The 23-year-old’s agent has claimed that his club were keen to sell the highly-rated shot-stopper in January in an attempt to improve their own financial problems. Neuer, who is contracted until the end of the 2011-12 campaign, has made more than 100 starts for the Bundesliga side. And he says the right things: “I really admire Sir Alex Ferguson. He’s been around for so long, always winning titles.”
Now that Sol Campbell’s transfer appears to have been ruled out, then a bid for Manchester City’s Micah Richards might make more sense in the context of the apparent fragility of United’s senior defenders (Ferdinand, Vidic, Neville). Newspaper rumours have already got Ferguson lining up a bid for the powerful, mobile defender whose career has stalled over the last two years. He has fallen out of favour at Eastlands due to a combination of competition for places and some erratic performances and speculation has it that his relationship with current manager Mark Hughes is strained.
United are reported to be lining up an £11m bid for Simon Kjaer, the Danish international defender currently at Palermo. The long-term future of Ferdinand (injury) and Nemanja Vidic (courted by Barcelona) would appear to be in doubt. Ferguson has been looking at Kjaer as a long-term answer, a candidate to play alongside Jonny Evans in United’s next incarnation. The 20-year-old is also reported to be interesting Liverpool and Juventus.
When an injured player gets a Get Well soon card from a manager of another club, it’s a sure sign of transfer interest. So when Ferguson’s letter to the 21-year-old Defour assuring him that that he was going to ‘follow your progress closely’ was made public, so the intention was clear. The Standard Liege captain and midfield player was suitably flattered: “If they come knocking, then I would obviously not cause problems”.
The assumption amongst many has long been that midfielder/defender Rodwell would follow Wayne Rooney in the journey from Everton to Old Trafford. The talented teenager is regarded as a certainty to ‘make it’ and is likely to move on from Everton. United may prefer to wait until the summer to make their bid (and Everton would certainly prefer that) but interest from Chelsea and Manchester City may provoke a bid, for around £20m, this January.
It has been claimed that Guti, Real Madrid’s vice-captain, has been taking English lessons ahead of a proposed switch to the Premier League – and that United could be his preferred destination. The Spanish international has struggled to get in the first-team since Real’s huge spending spree in the summer, and is apparently open to a move away from the Bernabeu. Madrid are reportedly seeking £4m for the 33-year-old who has fallen out with coach Manuel Pellegrini after a dressing room row.
Ferguson has made a habit of signing players who have done well against his team (it explains many a left-field purchases over the years). Dzeko scored against United in each of the games he played against them in the Champions League and it was noticed, as assistant manager Mike Phelan noticed: “He has shown good form and he is a talented footballer. We are looking at talent all the time … He appeals because he is a tall boy and is skilful and in some ways he is an ideal player for the league in England.”
The big money has been on Aguero heading to Chelsea but it will be a test of United’s spending power if they went to a bidding war over the talented Argentine – he would undoubtedly be welcome. If Ferguson does still have the £80m from the Ronaldo transfer then he’d be in a good position to trigger the £55m release clause in Aguero’s contract with Atletico Madrid.
Any player who scores against Liverpool is a hero at United and the Fiorentina teenager scored twice against them in this season’s Champions League. He has also welcomed the rumours linking him to United: “I read about the transfer stories around me and am honoured by Manchester United’s interest, but I am very happy in Florence’.
The Valencia player has been linked to United for a season or two now. His team-mate David Villa will have heard similar rumours too, but the younger player is more likely, and fits in better with the preferred Old Trafford policy of buying under-25s. With Giggs and Scholes on the way out, United need invention and wit in the midfield. The classy Silva could be the one to make it happen, but with theories on the transfer fee ranging from £25-40m, it’s difficult to say for certain. The fee would rise after a successful World Cup, though. (Independent)
As Sir Alex looks to retain Premier League dominance and mount another Champions League triumph there are a number of players linked with a move to Manchester United and of those listed there are some who fit the bill more ably than others.
A general trait of these targets is to replace aging members of Ferguson’s squad and some fit better than others. With Edwin Van der Sar looking more and more likely to hang up his gloves sometime soon and with Ben Foster and Thomas Kuszczak not looking able to fill the Dutchman’s boots a move for a new keeper is high up on the Old Trafford radar. Some unlikely targets have been named, such as Iker Casillas, but Manuel Neuer may be a decent option as Man United look to bring in a stable goalie to place behind the back four.
As far as bringing in defenders for the long term the likes of Simon Kjaer and even Micah Richards would both be intelligent signings but it seems unlikely Man City will allow the England international to make the move across the city to United. Jack Rodwell would also be a very smart move and one that I can see Sir Alex sealing especially if they offer a figure Everton can’t afford to turn down as they did with Wayne Rooney.
Of the strikers mentioned Edin Dzeko would be a wise and intelligent signing and the Wolfsburg striker seems destined to leave the Bundesliga in search of the big time. As for the creative midfielders it could be that the Manchester United boss looks to stick with what he has on offer especially with the likes of Gabriel Obertan showing glimpses of what he can achieve during his cameo appearances, that being said David Silva is a startling talent but it seems the Spaniard has been linked with a move from Valencia for so long now that any move seems no nearer now than at any other point.