I have great respect for what Martin Jol has acheived at Tottenham, and the development of Michael Carrick as a good midfield player is testament to that.
But while Tottenham fans value Carrick at 15 mil pounds out of sentimentality, the fact is that based on his experience and potential, the player is not worth anything over 10 mil.
Manchester United made a bid of that amount, it got rejected, and ever since then the media has not been able to keep their minds off a second, larger bid. In the past couple of days rumours of a player-plus-cash deal have resurfaced, but these rumours fail to realise that for Manchester United, any deal in which we are paying more than the player’s value is very bad business. While we have the funds to reinforce our midfield we must not be held ransom over these transfers.
Liverpool and Arsenal can be considered role models as far as how you should conduct your transfer business. Wenger, voyeur or no voyeur, has the uncanny eye for picking out the best talent while Rafa more often than not manages to bring in decent players. Both clubs do not pay unreasonable amounts for their targets. For Arsenal, that is and will be a financial constraint. For Liverpool, that may prove to be a mistake as they missed out on Owen last year and have missed out on Duff this year. Despite missing out on those players, Liverpool know when to stop bidding.
Manchester United has a bigger budget than these two teams, so we don’t have to worry about ‘missing out’ on good players. We can afford to spend more, but that does not mean that we should be paying 4 mil extra or be carting off our players (as much as I’d like to inflict the pain that is Silvestre on our Premiership opponents) for no good reason. Real Madrid’s recent statement – that they would not be held ransom over Ruud’s deal – is indicative of a posture Manchester United should follow, privately and publicly.
If Carrick is not coming to Manchester United for 12 mil max, leave him at White Hart Lane. Go get someone like Vieira (whose agent we are in talks with) or Hargreaves (who we have yet to approach). Both are more experienced, better players and in Hargreaves case, a long-term investment as well. And I’ll be bold enough to suggest that while we haven’t seen enough of Hargreaves, he is as good a passer as Carrick, a better tackler and more willing to go forward. He will be cheaper than Carrick as well.
I want to see Carrick play at Old Trafford, but he should not be first choice for the manager. I imagine that he will, if he comes, play second fiddle to another midfielder that Ferguson is interested in signing. Who?
Your guess is as good as mine.