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The Big Kick-Off: Manchester United


Paul Grech

As a young kid, Paul Grech got used to hearing ‘oh no, not him’ when the others found out that he would be playing on their team. He quickly took the hint that he was crap at football. Hopefully, he’s a bit better at writing about it....
[full biography]
08/08/2007 09:30:00.
read: 716 times.

Hopes and Fears

How do you top a season where you finished as champions, runners up in the FA Cup and semi-finalists in the Champions League? Simple: by trying to win all three.

And that’s what Manchester United are trying to do. What’s more, they’re going out to do it with flair. The arrival of Anderson and Nene will add to an already impressive side that is founded on the talent of Cristiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs.

Perhaps even more important is the arrival, at last, of Owen Hargreaves. A defensive midfielder is the one thing that United really lacked last season, especially in the Champions League where this was ruthlessly exploited by AC Milan. Hargreaves will add solidity to the side and, if he can play as well as he did at the last World Cup, United will have finally found a successor for Roy Keane.

The most talked about transfer (apart that involving another Argentine, that is), however, was that of Carlos Tevez. Having been so impressive last year with a struggling side, the thought of what he can do in a side with the attacking potential of United is staggering.

If Sir Alex Ferguson truly is looking to stay on for another three seasons, then his targets have to be those of overhauling Liverpool as the side with most championship wins and winning another Champions League title. At the end of this season he should have edged closer to achieving the first target and definitely starts the season as the favourite to achieve the second one as well.

Key Transfer

Whilst most pundits extolled the virtues of Kaka after last season’s encounter with AC Milan, the player United really could have done with was Rino Gattuso: a determined midfielder who managed to keep Ronaldo quite for the majority of those games. Had Ferguson gotten his way, they would have had such a midfielder last January when they tried to sign Owen Hargreaves but were stopped by Bayern Munich’s reluctance to sell. Now that the England midfielder has finally signed, they shouldn’t have such problems.

Something to Prove

Unable to get regular action but considered too good to sell. No, it’s not Gabriel Heinze we’re talking about but Wes Brown. Newcastle were reportedly interested but Ferguson promptly killed off their hopes to get the defender he considers as one of the best in England. It is up to Brown to prove that he is also one of the best at United.

One to Watch

Reportedly on his way to Tottenham, United quickly stepped in to snap up another Portuguese winger in the form of Nani. Already a full international, he has been a regular at Sporting Lisbon since he was eighteen and could have the same impact on United that Ronaldo has had.

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