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Team Sorted

The right time for a clear out at Manchester United

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Antony Melvin


Antony Melvin is the squarefootball.net editor and spends his spare time sifting through needlessly abusive emails....
[full biography]
28/07/2007 11:00:00.
read: 2852 times.

The Manchester United squad is starting to balloon alarmingly. This sounds odd considering the injury crisis that surrounded the defence in the run-in and arguably cost the club a third European Cup Final appearance - but it is a reasonable premise. Many of the younger defenders were away on loan at the end of last season - but have now returned to fight for a place. Their enhanced first team experience means that Phillip Bardsley (if he stays), Craig Cathcart (only denied United games by injury), Adam Eckersley, Jonny Evans, Gerard Pique and Danny Simpson will be looking to force their way past Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Brown and Neville.

Add to these the impressive Chris Eagles, the goalscoring of Giuseppe Rossi and the potential of Lee Martin means that the sheer volume of loanees returning coupled with three or four big money signings suggests that United could comfortably lose five senior players this summer.

As The Sun (30.06.2007) pointed out there are so many United players available right now that Mikael Silvestre was missed off the team photo as Manchester United unveiled their new kit. It may have been oversight - but it also pointed up the fact that United could lose the Frenchman with little real problem. The Daily Mirror (27.07.2007) today suggests that a £3m offer has been lodged by Lyon.

Gabriel Heinze definitely looks likely to leave, but that does not necessarily mean in a £6.8m move to Liverpool. The suspicion remains that if Juventus or Real Madrid offered £5m for his signature United would jump at the chance to get rid of him.

Kieran Richardson has already moved to Sunderland in a very profitable £5.5m switch; a move that is a clear indication of the transfer inflation pressures driving the market this summer.

Alan Smith made a difference after returning from injury last season - but with United's transfer activity largely based on attacking players he seems likely to switch to Middlesbrough, Everton or Aston Villa for between £6m and £8m.

Finally there are too many strikers at United and when Carlos Tevez eventually signs Giuseppe Rossi or Louis Saha will be surplus to requirements - Rossi has already been the subject of a £6m bid from Parma and despite Saha's injury problems he would be a great gamble for anyone with around £8m to spend. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems unlikely to figure much except in an emergency.

Quite rightly the press has focused on the headline figure of £50m spent recruiting Anderson, Nani and Hargreaves - with more to come for Carlos Tevez; but quietly United are re-energising by introducing a large number of young players into the first team squad whilst potentially generating over £30m by moving on a significant number of players falling short of the required standard. A quiet revolution at Old Trafford - but a significant one.


Latest article feedback

MickyMU:

 I think its a good idea to clear out some of the older squad players as it raised cash and gives the younger players more hope of playing. Keep Rossi he could be the new Ole, he is looking stronger and sharper and will continue to improve. An idea sub to bring on when we need a goal.

5/10


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