Ferguson’s comments after the Orlando Pirates match on Saturday confirmed what I had first thought:
Manchester United could go into the new season without buying any striking reinforcements for Ruud van Nistelrooy.
To recap, here’s the situation:
1) Nistelrooy is about to leave Manchester United. He will most likely be sold to Real Madrid for anything between 10 and 15 million pounds (11-12 mil being likely). The transfer will happen before United get back home from their South Africa tour.
2) United have 5 strikers in their squad – Rooney, Saha, Rossi, Solskjaer and Smith. With Solskjaer back in playing health and Smith due to return in September, United can effectively go into the new season without lacking any ‘attacking bite’. Solskjaer is an excellent striker and Smith was pretty good before he was turned into midfielder.
Now Ferguson has said that with Ruud out of the picture, Solskjaer looks set to claim that 3rd striker spot. The trouble is, Ole is not the best bet for staying fit throughout the campaign, and Smith would be just coming back from an injury. Also, Rossi might be sent out for a season on loan to help him gain more experience.
For Manchester United to go into the new season with Rooney, Saha, Solskjaer and Smith as the only four strikers is a big gamble, which is why I think one of two things will happen:
– United will buy a striker for less than 15 million (that rules out Torres).
– United will keep Rossi at Old Trafford and play the 5 strikers as mentioned above.
Which is the better option? The second one, surely. With those 5 we’re good enough to last a season and succeed in Europe as well.
That leaves us with needing to buy two midfielders…although United will argue that they can get by with just one.
Imagine that – the only outfield player United would get this season could be Patrick Vieira, and that too on a loan deal. The other signing? That West Brom keeper (although why not let Ben Foster stay and deputise, I don’t understand. Give him more games here dammit!).
Crucial summer for United and Ferguson, and we end with Vieira on loan. Bloody hell…