Young Guns – The Future of Manchester United
Did you hear that noise? It was the sound of the transfer window closing. Did you hear that other noise? Probably not. It was the sound of me cracking a beer and making a toast. This summer seemed to be especially long for me as a United fan, particularly because we did most of our signings early in the window. Hell, the season was barely out when we signed Phil Jones. But, doing our business early made for an excruciatingly long and tedious summer. Throw in Sneijdergate 2011 and I had had enough by the start of the US Tour.
Now, that’s not to say that I wasn’t hopeful we might sign another player after we brought in the other three signings. Going all the way back to last season, fans had been clamoring for a MF signing. People continued to take the piss out of Carrick even though he had a better season than his previous. Fletcher had been out for months with some weird virus. We were relatively unsure about the likelihood of moving our youngsters up. Smalling played well after his signing from Fulham, so many were hopeful. Jonny Evans had been shaky. Cleverley did well on loan at Wigan, but we weren’t exactly sure if he was ready. Welbeck’s loan at Sunderland was good for him, but many weren’t sure he could supplement a strong attacking force with Rooney, Hernandez, and Berbatov. Anderson had a lackluster season overall, with many throwing out a last season ultimatum to the Brazilian. We had signed Phil Jones, but he hadn’t played for us yet. Young is a proven player in the EPL, but we hadn’t been able to see that translate to United. And the youngster most of us were worried about was David de Gea. In the MF, we didn’t have a direct Scholes replacement, but in goal we had a direct VDS replacement. Fans were a bit nervous, which is why everyone wanted that MF summer signing.
Throughout the tumultuous transfer window, the name that was most linked with United was Wesley Sneijder. The majority of fans immediately wanted the Dutchman. I, however, was a bit hesitant. The man is a great player, don’t get me wrong. But, with his injuries and meteoric rise in price over the span of one year, I wasn’t sold. Scholes was a one-off player. We’ll never be able to replace him and shouldn’t try to find a Scholesy-type player. Keep in mind that Scholes didn’t play a vital role for us over the last two seasons, especially last season, our 19th title season. Sure, he had flashes of brilliance, but overall, we did without him. Finding someone in a rush to replace Scholes would be a bad move and I don’t think that Sneijder was the right player for that. This also brought up the discussion about what type of MF we truly needed – a creative one or a defensive one.
Of the available targets this summer, I wanted one of the following: Modric, Nasri, De Rossi, or Diarra. Now that Nasri is at City, I’ll never want him at United, let’s just get that clear. He ultimately chose his path to City and I’ll never forget it. The other three, I feel, would’ve been great signings for us. But, I can not and will not harp on the what could’ve been. For the love of God, we just crushed Arsenal 8-2. We got our first away win on the first game of the season. Add these BPL games to an impressive pre-season where all of our youngsters stepped up, and I can’t wonder what would’ve or should’ve happened.
SAF showed his confidence in our youngsters by fielding the 2nd youngest team EVER in a league match. He rewarded those players by leaving the starting 11 in place for the Arsenal match. As we all know, SAF mixed it up, especially in the MF, a lot last season, but the confidence he has in these players is apparent. Our team is really strong and I went into this season with an optimism I don’t normally have. That was without a big signing in the MF. Now, don’t get me wrong – there are going to be tests on this young team, some of which they aren’t going to pass. But, I will not be one of the people that calls for someone’s head when that happens. I have faith that we have a strong enough squad to get the job done. I hope other fans feel the same way. Cause in the end, this young team is the future of our club. Let’s get behind them from the get-go.
Follow Jason on Twitter at @JasTheDevil