Something in me was truly hoping this doesn’t happen… The state of Manchester United debt is known to all fans, but the scale of the catastrophe that is losing Ronaldo, blinded us from that fact. The quest to replace our stolen idol had consumed us, and made us fathom about all sorts of saviors that might become our next “It Boy”. From Ribery to Aguero, without forgetting Benzema the list of potential messiahs went on.
Just yesterday Eto’o was being pimped by his agent to Sir Alex after City Chairman Khaldoon told Barcelona he will not be made a fool of. Seeing the price tag slapped on Eto’o and his wage demands, the Glazers would never go for such a deal, especially since it wasreported last month that they were changing the club’s transfer policy to concentrate on signing players under 26.
What this means is that the Glazers will only be spending serious money on players who can be resold for profit later on. This should automatically disqualify Eto’o as a transfer candidate, but seeing as how very few clubs are interested in the Cameroonian striker, I had a feeling if the price tag dropped by the end of the transfer window, this deal might see the light of day.
But all that ended today as Sir Alex stated he will not be dragged into an escalating transfer market, saying: “I think that has concluded our business” while handing Owen the No 7 shirt.
It seems both Owen and United management have the firm belief that once Michael steps on that pitch in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday in the No 7 shirt vacated by Cristiano Ronaldo he will be that “wonderkid” we all love again.
“It doesn’t hurt [to be written off] when you believe in yourself, but if this challenge doesn’t create a hunger and put a spring in my step, then nothing will (…) I am as hungry as ever and I don’t need to prove it to people who question that. Playing for a manager like Sir Alex Ferguson and a club like United says it all for me.” – said Owen. As far as I’m concerned, from your mouths to God’s ears Michael.
But us United fans are left with a bitter taste in our mouth, the feeling that our squad has been left weakened. Sir Alex insists “No matter what players we have got in, we are still going to be strong next season.” – True we have a squad that most teams would only dream of, but we sold Ronaldo for God’s sake! Shouldn’t we get some sort of consolation prize?
And this is where the sh!t hits the fan, a few years ago if you asked any economist about the potential dangers or running a business based on a debt model, he would have laughed so hard his sides would have hurt, the markets were booming, debt was the way to do business. I even said it back then “If there was one team that can pull off being ran through debt, its Manchester United”.
Well we can certainly pull it off, but we will have to pay the price. It seems obvious seeing the transfer policy adopted by the Glazers that we will be in the business of making Ronaldos and selling them to the likes Real for a while. When Sir Alex says : “We are in the middle of a very difficult summer in football because it has been very difficult to get value. But I think we have got good value and that is the right way to go for us (…) As for Benzema, as far as we were concerned he was beyond our value. People have got to try and put a value on players which they think is fair. Lyon have done well to get 42m euro for him (…) What does that tell people about Manchester United? It tells you we are sensible. Real Madrid are not nearly as afraid of debt as anyone else in the world, but we’re happy the way we operate.”
What I understand is; we are already in huge debt and we have to pay it back, Real are not and they’re buying players left and right, inflating price tags everywhere. So I will do what I do best. I will mold youngsters with huge potential into stars… Oh wait, will Joel and Avram sell them?
Here is the reality check: Not only is the “sugar-daddy” business football model proving to be the best in these rough times, but the more serious issue is that we will be playing a different kind of football next season. Not only is Valencia not in the same class as Ronaldo, but he’s a different type of winger, more orthodox than the attacking all-rounder Ronaldo was, he will dribble and distribute, putting the serious task of goal creation on the shoulders of Rooney and whoever is next-to-him/in-front-of-him.
“Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov are Ferguson’s first-choice strikers and Owen could be used as an impact substitute in deadlocked games, or as a flat-track bully to convert chances against lesser opponents.” said Rob Stewart of the Telegraph, a statement shrugged off by Graeme Souness in the same article.
Former England manager Glen Hoddle went a step further in saying Owen Will Be Better Than Tevez with “the likes of Rooney, Berbatov and Valencia around him” … “He will thrive at United.”
Well thats the squad for next year folks, it might be nice being an underdog for once!