The article is divided into two parts. The first talks about the players signed in 2011 and the second talks about players who may leave or join Manchester United
The transfer deals at Manchester United were sealed well before the league started. Sir Alex, the genius he is, had made plans about whom he wanted at Old Trafford several months in advance. So by July United had shelled out £50m and completed the signings of a goal keeper, a defender and a winger. Here’s an analysis of how they have fared at the club over the last 10 months or so.
Another young talent snapped up by Sir Alex! De Gea played for Athletico Madrid and captained Spain’s U21 side before joining United. He was part of the team when Athletico won the Europa league. De Gea’s transfer came amidst little controversy. United were looking for a long term replacement for the outgoing Dutchman, and Manuel Neuer was being considered after his heroics for Germany in the World Cup. But the German preferred to play in the home league and joined Bayern Munich. At the same time United also had their scouts in Spain taking a look at De Gea. When United mentioned that a deal was in place for the Spaniard in May, it was refuted by his club and agents. But in June 2011 De Gea signed for United in a deal that cost about £18m. De Gea’s initial days at Old Trafford didn’t start off on a great note. He was beaten by a 40 yard stunner from Dzeko in the Communtiy Shield game, followed by a low shot from Shane Long in the opening match of the PL. But in the following games he improved his performances against the likes of Spurs, Gunners and Chelsea. De Gea was often condemned for his lack of ability in handling set piece situations. In between SAF also experimented with Lindegaard who also put up fine shows in the limited chances he was given. But after he picked up an injury De Gea returned. Recently it was discovered that he suffers from long-sightedness! It is suggested that he’ll undergo a surgery at the end of the season and that should set things right for him.
De Gea has been the saving grace for United in recent games, plucking the ball out of thin air. During several defensive lapses De Gea has stood tall and punched the incoming missiles away from the post. He now has the highest number of clean sheets this season in PL. His abilities have already led people to compare him to the likes of Van der Sar. The defense will be bolstered with the return of Vidic next season and surely De Gea is going to relish the partnership with him. De Gea’s spot in the team is very safe and doesn’t face much competition from the equally capable Lindegaard or the young Ben Amos. He might only be rested when the schedule gets hectic with UCL, FA and Carling cup along with the PL. So unless De Gea feels he is not able to adjust to life in England or feels home sick like Gerrard Pique, I’ve no doubts about him being included in the United Hall of Fame!
Philip Anthony Jones
When a teenager has a release clause of 16.5 million pounds in his contract the interest in him only grows. And when two top teams, especially who have a long history of going after each other’s throat, compete to get the services of that particular player you know the guy is special! Man United and Liverpool where involved in a fierce battle to bring this teenager from Ewood Park to their respective training grounds. But Phil Jones decided to join the Red Devils who had just won their 19th PL trophy, this despite Liverpool having offered 18 million to Blackburn.
Phil Jones caught the eye of the Scot during his impressive 2010-11 season at Blackburn. He played 26 games for Blackburn during the season, mostly as a defensive midfielder. Jones first played for United in the pre – season friendly in USA. Jones started the PL campaign in spectacular form. He played mostly at Right Back in the absence of Rafael. His pace often helped him to run past the opposition and get him into a good position. His major contribution came in the game against Bolton where he provided 2 successful assists to Wazza. He also made a superb run from midfield into the box only to see his shot blocked by the keeper but then netted in by Rooney. He followed this up by a stellar performance against Chelsea. He scored his first United goal against Aston Villa in an away game.
Jones has made quite a few mistakes in United colors. He has put the ball into his own net on a couple of occasions! His forward runs can pose a problem in a counter attack situation. In the home game drubbing against the noisy neighbors SAF showed his displeasure against Jones by saying “Some of our defenders were playing like wingers today!”
Jones has picked up several injuries this season. He first suffered a facial injury against Fulham after a clash with Dempsey. What was suspected to be a cheek bone fracture and a six week layoff turned out to be only a bruise and two weeks on the sidelines. In the game at Emirates, Jones had to be subbed after only 16 minutes into the game when he injured his right ankle. He has missed close two months of first team action in the season owing to injuries.
The boy is till 19. He has potential and a bright future ahead. The only problem he faces is competition within the team. With Vidic set to return next season and Johnny Evans growing from strength to strength he will have to fight for his spot. Rafael and Valencia’s telepathic conversations also give him little chances at right back. There’s also Chris Smalling who has played exceptionally well. And then you have players from reserve team such as Michael Keane, Fryers, Reece Brown, and Scott Wootton waiting on the fringes.
Brought in from Villa Park at a price of £16m, one must admit it’s quite a steal! This was one player whom SAF tracked for over seven years right from his Watford days. Liverpool too were interested in him but then again lost out to United. He had joined Aston Villa as the club’s record signing back then. To describe Young’s four years at Villa Park in a word I would say OUTSTANDING. He’s done it all at Villa. Free kicks, corners, running down the wing giving some great assists and also scoring from time to time. So having played in the PL it wasn’t difficult for him to settle at United. He showed his class in the very first PL game he played assisting Wazza and also forcing an own goal from the opponent which proved to be the winner and was declared the MoM. In the home game carnage over the Gunners he scored a brace, his first in United colors. After a decent start to his campaign at Old Trafford, he picked up a knee injury in December and was forced to the side lines for about two months. After a comeback at Stamford Bridge, Young has been a regular in the squad. Off late he has been in news for his diving skills in the box and winning penalties for United. SAF has warned Ashley, reminding him about the stature of the club he plays for and has even asked him to learn from Giggsy who has had about just 5 penalties in a career spanning over two decades!
Surely Ashley will stop swimming in the box and do what he is best at. But one thing that would bother SAF is the return of Nani from injury. Given the form Ashley and Valencia are in it’ll be difficult to start with Nani. But SAF surely knows how to manage his troop and keep everyone happy!
In a late surprise move Man United signed a teenage defender from their city rivals in the January transfer window. He was immediately sent to join the lads at Carrington Park under the watchful eyes of Warren Joyce. Veseli has a played about 50 odd games for Switzerland at the junior level and successfully lead his team to victory in the U-17 world cup five years ago.
Take a look at his skills below:
Going by the video the guy seems to have good awareness and is quick. Also has more than decent clearing abilities and a good tackling approach. But it’s too early to judge from just one video of his.
Of the four players signed, three are under 21. All three have played a key part in the U21 teams of their respective teams. SAF’s belief in investing in young talent has been rewarded once again as United find themselves at the top of the table. At one point it seemed like they may end up trophy less this season. And they still might. (Naahh!)
But the team is far from complete. Read the rest of the article in the upcoming part.
Till then Glory Glory Man United!