Beginning of the current season (2006-2007), I wrote a detailed, 5-piece preview of Manchester United’s chances and the main issues involving them this year.
The reason I’m bringing this up again is because it’s always good to go back and take a look at what you said and thought in the past – of course, it’s more fun when you’re right (heh) but even if you’re not you learn a lot.
In this case, I was read the piece on Manchester United’s future stars and with this recent news (that Dong Fangzhou had been given his work permit to play in the Premiership) and with several loan players returning to Manchester United in January as well, this is a good time to see which of these players have a future for Manchester United.
In total, 7 players are returning from loan in January (with two – Ben Foster (Watford, Premiership) and Gerard Pique (Real Zaragoza, La Liga), coming back in summer): Lee Martin and Phil Bardsley from Rangers, Chris Eagles from NEC Nijmegen, Giuseppe Rossi from Newcastle and plus Jonny Evans, Danny Simpson, and Dong Fangzhou from Royal Antwerp.
Of these 7, it’s tough to imagine that all of them have a bright future at Manchester United. Chris Eagles in particular has been around for a while, and seeing the way David Jones was let go I’m thinking that several of these players will be eventually sold off (or loaned out to Sunderland or Newcastle).
Chris Eagles is a certain departure, and I don’t think Danny Simpson will have much of a future either. Lee Martin ‘could’ stick around, but that’s assuming that he turns into a very good winger, and I doubt he’ll be good enough to displace Richardson, let alone Ronaldo.
That leaves us with Dong, Rossi, Evans and Bardsley. Bardsley is ear-marked as Neville’s replacement, and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares (when he returns, he’s sure to play some part in the second-half of the season). We’ve not seen too much of Dong, but he should be the long term replacement of Alan Smith, if nothing else.
THAT leaves us with 2 – Rossi and Evans. Along with Foster and Pique, these two are the most talented of the bunch and the only two players that I think will be guaranteed a place in the Manchester United squad next year.
Rossi is lightweight but is quiet effective as a supporting striker and a clinical finisher as well. Evans is, along with Pique, one of the most talented young centre-backs we’ve seen at Manchester United since the world was gushing over Wes Brown and O’Shea (who is 27 now, by the way).
Then again, I thought David Jones was a sure starter but he’s been sold, so who knows?