I’ve yet to see an intelligent analysis of who United’s ‘reported’ 3 summer targets will be. Everyone’s speculating blindly on rumours, latching on to the Berbatov story in a sickeningly predictable way.
Here’s the real story – who Ferguson has (probably) asked for, and why.
United’s Transfer Targets
1. Owen Hargreaves
A no-brainer, considering that Manchester United have been after him since last summer. Reported price is 18-20m, could come for less. United will pay what it takes to get him, but expected a tiered deal like Carrick’s (so the basic deal could be 15m but rising to 22m depending on circumstances).
Surprised that no one has mentioned him. Manchester United need a second winger, Nani is a comparatively cheaper option, has the Portuguese connection and Sporting and United have club ties as well. If this was Arsenal chasing a kid with these circumstances, fans would have locked this in as a done deal. But we’re hung up on Torres and Berbatov, which is a bit sad.
There’s a nagging thought at the back of my head which says that Manchester United will go after Ribery first, just to test the waters and see where he stands. Ferguson has talked about competition, and because of that I think Manchester United could be talking to Marseille over the summer.
The left-back was being chased by United, Arsenal, Newcastle and Tottenham. Looking at relative league positions, only Tottenham and United seem likely options (Arsenal will have other priorities, IMO).
It could all come down to how Southampton do in the playoffs. If they come through to the Premiership, Bale will probably stay.
After just one season, you can be sure that Berbatov is not thinking of leaving. He’ll be offered a wage hike and Tottenham will bring in reinforcements to push for 4th spot next season. There is the thought that because Tottenham only have an outside chance of breaking into the top 4, Berbatov may never play Champions League football with the Spurs and that could push him to Chelsea or Manchester United.
Baseless, pointless speculation by the tabloid hacks. This is what happens whenever a striker does well. They were after Torres for almost two years but came off it after he repeatedly told the press that he was going to stay at Atletico Madrid forever. They were after Villa as well, and will probably go after him again, but I doubt that Valencia will let him go cheaply.
A minimum of 25m for Berbatov, considering that Tottenham don’t want to sell. I think Berba will stay at Tottenham for one more season because neither Chelsea nor Manchester United will be willing to throw crazy money their way.
2. Ribery (if we can get him) otherwise Nani
3. Nani (United will go for two wingers / attackers)
4. Bale (if Southampton don’t qualify for the Premiership) – outside chance
United need to replace Giggs and Scholes. They already have Danny Simpson and Wes Brown to replace Gary Neville. They’ve shown that they probably don’t need to replace Ruud if Rooney / Saha / Smith / Rossi work out, with Ole / Dong as backups.
I think we’ll go for two wingers / attacking midfielders. The ideal grab would be Joe Cole but Ribery isn’t bad either, probably better on a technical level. Him and Nani can play on both wings if needed and United will need backup for Ronaldo as well.
Bale if we can get him, but he’s not a priority. Neither is a striker or defender or keeper (EVDS is here for another year, Foster will be tested more often next season and so will Kuszczak).
Now it’s your turn. Speculate.