Having already spent over £50 million so far this summer, United fans have enjoyed one of the busiest off-seasons for a good few years but the movement in and out of Old Trafford is far from over as of yet. The gaps left behind by Edwin Van Der Sar and Gary Neville were filled, to an extent, by the signings of David De Gea and Phil Jones but we will still need to be strong in the market if we are to leave ourselves with a complete squad ahead of the next campaign. Although Ashley Young is a great signing (much better than the laughable £18 million bid for Downing that has been apparently bid by Arsenal this morning), we still need to strengthen up the gaps in our thin midfield to stop the risk of being run of the park in the middle like we did in so many away games last season and the retirement of Paul Scholes only deepened the problems we had in the creative department.
The squad for the pre-season tour of America has been announced and the notable absentees of Darron Gibson and Tomasz Kuszczak points towards a likely exit for these 2 players as SAF continues to shuffle up the pack. As far as Tomasz Kuszczak is concerned, it was only a matter of time before a deal was struck for him to be sold on; after David De Gea was brought in alongside Anders Lindegaard, it was apparent that SAF didn’t trust Tomasz to become the new number one at Old Trafford following the departure of Edwin Van Der Sar and I, for one, am bloody glad. Every time he played for United over the past couple of years I have just been nervous when the ball goes near him and it is not hard to see why, it is blatantly obvious for everyone to see. His confidence is rock bottom and there is no way that he could have stepped in to replace Van Der Sar next season and with a move back to his old club West Bromwich Albion the most likely place, considering they have sold Scott Carson already, United may be able to recoup a nice bit of money to put back into the pot:
As far as Darron Gibson is concerned, a move was always possible this summer but leaving him out of the pre-season squad strongly suggests that movement may come quickly for the Irish international. Sunderland launched a triple bid for O’Shea, Brown and Gibson earlier in the summer and now that the former two transfers have been completed (a sad day for the Old Guard), it looks most likely that Steve Bruce will be able to secure the triple swoop in full. Is it right for Darron to go right now? The 23-year old has been a fringe player for a few years at United now and has just never been able to break through into the first team. His feud on Twitter didn’t do him any favours but those rogue United ‘fans’ who for no reason attacked their own player may well have marked the beginning of his unfortunate downfall. He just hasn’t provided the consistency that was needed for him to secure a first team spot and in this summer of renewal, SAF might choose to let him go to Sunderland and try and establish his career outside the walls of Old Trafford. I don’t think he has what it takes to succeed in the long run for us, so the time is right for him to leave and I think he would flourish under the management of Bruce, who is building a bit of a United armada at the Stadium of Light
However, if SAF does choose to let Gibson go then the necessity to make some midfield signings will become ever more apparent. With Darren Fletcher missing the pre-season tour because of illness, it leaves us with only Anderson and Carrick as our only 2 established, fit central midfield players. At a stretch you could include the versatile new signing of Jones, who can play a holding midfield role if it was asked of him and add Giggs and Park into the equation, as it is likely that they will play more central next season after the purchase of Young but to say that we are thin in the middle is an understatement. Real, solid movement needs to be made if United are going to compete next season; our defence is looking as strong as it ever was as I have full faith in the ability of De Gea and our attack is probably stronger than it was at the end of last season, what with the continued growth of Javier Hernandez and the purchase of Ashley Young. If we can fix up the midfield and dominate the middle of the park like we have done in previous campaigns, then I am fully confident that we can secure number 20 next season. I do think, however, that as United fans we will be left on tenterhooks for the big midfield signing as we will soon be jetting off for our pre-season tour that starts in just 3 days and if we do make another major move in the summer window, I feel that it will be a drama on the scale of Berbatov in 2008. Get your popcorn out!