Ferguson was talking about Federico Macheda and Javier Hernandez and their prospects this season at Manchester United, when he said something very interesting:
“They give us the back-up we are going to need. We’ve got a decision on whether to let Welbeck and Diouf go out on loan, although I am starting to think about it again. I need to keep Macheda and I need to keep Hernández, who has just joined the club. That is imperative. There is purpose in the way they play their football. It is not just talent. You don’t play at this club with just talent, you need something else and they have that something else.“
Now where have I heard this before – that Ferguson looks for ‘that something else’ first and not just talent? Why, it’s an article comparing the team-building strategies of Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger. Although written almost 2 years ago, it’s still relevant to both managers and their current teams.
As we come closer to the new season with both Manchester United and Arsenal looking to make up ground on Chelsea as well as stave off the challenge from the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City, how they build their teams (and especially who they sign / sell in the next month) will be a crucial factor in determining the title race.
Both teams, ironically, are lacking in the exact ingredient that other manager seems to prefer. Arsenal are short of fighters (as well as a decent keeper) and United lack serious talent in midfield. Both teams are also backing their academy players to shine, so it’ll be interesting to see whether the young kids at United and Arsenal can make the step up this season.