Whilst we’re all sick and tired of hearing about Manchester United’s limitations in midfield, each and every media publication and outlet’s claim to have found the ideal solution can’t help but draw you into the discussion. Can United survive in a post-Scholes world? Is United’s problem so pressing that they need to find a transfer solution? Is there an Academy talent that could be promoted to the first team in order to fill the void?
These aren’t necessarily easy questions to answer, but it is clear that Sir Alex Ferguson has a decent amount of thinking to do this summer. With Paul Scholes likely to retire and Anderson looking more and more unlikely of making his mark in the Premier League, the creative burden will fall on the likes of Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley.
Whilst I have little doubt that Cleverley could thrive in this role, Carrick is more of a holding midfielder and likes to keep his passing game simple. He’s not really a source of creation in midfield and it’s likely that Fergie will have to look elsewhere if United are to keep on ticking over next season.
So should he look to the transfer market? The difficulty United face here is that the price-tag of these kind of players has sky-rocketed in recent years. So Spurs can get away with slapping a £50m+ price-tag on the likes of Luka Modric, Dortmund can charge £30m+ for 19-year-old Mario Goetze and regularly linked players like Wesley Sniejder are likely to cost a pretty penny also.
Wouldn’t it be nice then if Ferguson could find the ideal solution ‘in house’. Though there are fears that United are losing some of their best young talent (with Ravel Morrison shipped off to West Ham last January and Paul Pogba playing fast and loose with his contract negotiations) their Academy programme continues to send players through the ranks. That’s why players like Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley are currently making their mark in the Premier League.
Recently United’s Reserve team Captain David Petrucci told the club magazine Red View that he felt he was ready to break into the first team following his experience warming the bench as an unused substitute during Manchester United’s most recent game against Spurs:
“Yes, I travelled with the team and that was such a great experience. That was my dream – to play for the first team – so that’s been my target and I want to achieve that. Hopefully I can have more chances. The next step up will be to be on the bench and making my debut would be my dream… “I’m not far [from breaking into the first team] but, at the same time, it’s still far off. I have to work very hard here at United.
Even the biggest player is never settled [in terms of his place] and there are always challenges in front of them. It’s the same for everyone.”
It’s no secret that the key to breaking into United’s first-team is hard work. Petrucci has the right attitude, has impressed with the Reserves and has every chance of making it in the Premier League. Whilst he can’t replace Scholes directly, he can provide another body in the centre of midfield and allow the likes of Cleverley and Anderson (should he still be at the club) to focus on their offensive duties.
What’s your take? Do United need to make a signing or should they focus on bringing new talent through the club?
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