by Adam Bond
With growing speculation on the next move for Wayne Rooney, is this the start of the new Manchester United?
On Tuesday night Rooney was left on the bench and some believe that was a big factor in losing out to Real Madrid. After the game a lot of speculation about Rooney leaving the club filled the headlines. This is not the first time we are hearing of a spat between Rooney and Sir Alex which ended in Rooney getting a lucrative new contract and Sir Alex gaining more funds for the transfer market from the board, this time I think it’s for good. Looking at the current squad Man United have to pick from, would a Rooney departure be the worst thing to happen?
If Rooney was to leave, where does he go and who could come in and take over the Rooney throne? With two years left on Rooney’s contract it leaves Man United with two options: keep him and let him run out his contract or sell him now and get what you can. With a reported £35million price tag and a huge contract on top of that, not many clubs will be returning Sir Alex’s phone calls. PSG, Man City, Chelsea, Anzhi and possibly Real Madrid would be the only clubs willing to take on the enigma which is Wayne Rooney as they have the backing to make a serious bid.
If Man United decided to sell, I think this would be a positive step towards a brighter future for the Red Devils as Rooney has not been the player we all know since he took the throne when Ronaldo left.
Let’s have a look at the current squad and where Sir Alex could change a few things in the summer. The goalkeeper and back four are a solid unit and have a new generation to step up. De Gea, Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic and Rafael is a fierce line up and they have proved to be a great foundation for Sir Alex as 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League proves. United still have Evans, Jones, Smalling and Buttner in reserve and with Ferdinand and Vidic having been plagued with injuries in the last few seasons it’s only a matter of time before they step aside and let the reserve defence take over. In midfield United have the luxury of picking Valencia, Carrick, Young, Nani, Cleaverley and Kagawa in a 2-3 formation in midfield. It’s a great headache for United. Scholes, Giggs and Fletcher should be in the team but age and fitness have to be considered if you are to move forward in the fast moving world of football. The forward line is one of the best in Europe with Hernandez, RVP and Welbeck to choose from and with any forward in the world looking to have those players around them, signing a forward in the summer to bolster the squad should be easy enough. Looking at the summer transfer window and the funds already available to Man United plus the possible Rooney sale, I would predict Man United would have roughly £100million to spend. Rumoured departures of De Gea, Nani, Evra, Hernandez and Anderson would bring in a combined sum of roughly £70-75million which would bring the summer spending to a sizeable £170-75million. If all this is true I would like to see United make a Borussia Dortmund approach to the transfer market and get players on the brink of greatness but they just need to be in the right system.
Unfortunately for Sir Alex this transfer window has some big spenders coming to the table so he will have to act fast. If De Gea is the long term Casillas replacement then I suggest Reina(Liverpool) or Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow) would be the best replacements as their experience and Man United’s standard of defenders in front of them would give a more solid foundation. When Van Der Sar signed for United they has major success with an older head in goal. The defence would be solid without Ferdinand and Vidic playing regular in the team as the new generation are ready to step up and take over. Evra, Smalling, Evans and Rafael are a great back four and with Smalling paying across the back and Jones to drop anywhere in the back four, they provide much needed cover. I would look at maybe signing 2 defenders which can play in midfield or defence, Hummels (Dortmund) and Toulalan (Malaga) would be the sort of signings which lift the team and provide the mature head in the centre of the park. In midfield Man United have many fantastic options and with the transitional period which they are about to go through with Giggs and Scholes maybe retiring in the foreseeable future it is wise to get players which play multiple positions and bring a calming influence. Carrick and Jones can play in defence if needed but Carrick has lost his pace but not his passing ability so would be used as a midfielder more than a defender. Jones and Kagawa are natural partners for Carrick in midfield two, to make up for his lack of pace and to give him space to dictate the game. Cleaverley could go into the centre midfield pair if needed but he can’t defend as well as Jones but could be a great box to box midfielder like Kagawa. In attack United have a frightening line up of Valencia, Cleaverley, Welbeck and RVP which has proven to be devastating. Another forward or attack minded player maybe a good addition depending on how ready Zaha and Henriquez are when they return to the club from their loans to Crystal Palace and Wigan respectively. Maybe competition is needed for this front line and a fresh face to replace Rooney. If we are looking at attack minded players I would like to see either Guarin (Inter), Piatti (Valencia), Gotze (Dortmund), Reus (Dortmund), Sanchez (Barca) or Fellani (Everton). All these players can play upfront and across the attacking positions just behind the forward. Fellani can also play in the box to box role if needed and he could be the main signing for United this summer. Signing a new forward always brings a real excitement in the air and RVP needs to have some competition as he has gone off the boil recently as he did with Arsenal for many years before his move to Man United. The forwards I would like to see would be Falcao (Ath Madrid), Cavani (Napoli), Higuain (Real Madrid), Gomez (Bayern Munich) and Lavezzi (PSG). All these forwards are proven goal scorers and could lead the line with 20+ goals a season with the possibility of playing them in an attacking role if needed.
Some younger players Man United could look at are Lukaku (Chelsea) depending on who replaces Benitez, Bale (Spurs) if the price is right and if he doesn’t sign the lucrative contract we are expecting him to be offered, Icardi (Sampdoria), Willems (PSV) and Sandro (Spurs). All these players would fit the Man United system and make for an exciting future.
Having Rooney move on wouldn’t be the worst thing Man United could do and I predict the departure to lift spirits around the club and send Sir Alex’s team into the new era of Manchester United.