Manchester United fans have been through a lot in the last few months. The lows of losing to Milan and Chelsea in May were only marginally tempered by the Premiership title, but the Nani/Anderson swoop (Anderson!) coupled with the move for Tevez has easily covered the losses of Rossi and Smith.
United were never going to miss Smith as much on the pitch as the fans would, but Rossi is / was a future star and the fact that he wasn’t going to get regular games is unfortunate, and shows Ferguson’s dependence / reliance on Saha’s experience.
You would be a fool to think that winning the Premiership was all there was to last season – it was about rebuilding the Manchester United dynasty and you can expected Rooney and Co. to come out with guns blazing against Reading.
United will be playing for all 4 titles but Ferguson’s eyes will surely be on the Champions League – I’ve always had the feeling that he would retire after winning the Champions League again, and the players he’s brought in are not only to add depth to the squad but also to give the side an additional dimension in Europe, where United have been too defensive and circumspect at times.
Manager Status: SAF will go when he wants to, not before, not after.
Transfer Analysis: United have strengthened their squad and with Tevez on his way, United have a formidable first-XI (still a bit weak in central midfield and possibly left-back if Heinze leaves) and most importantly, strength on the bench. United have splashed the cash but a lot of it is in staggered payments and United also had the money from last summer left over, so overall it’s much better than it ‘looks’.
Players to watch: All eyes will be on Tevez, but look to Rooney to shine and if and when Nani and Anderson get their shot, they’ll be dynamite as well.
August Fixtures: Reading at home, Portsmouth and Man City away, and then Tottenham at home before Keano’s homecoming on the 1st of September.
Predictions: Top 2, unless both Rooney and Ronaldo get crocked, in which case there’s a risk of being overtaken by Pool and Arsenal.