Why United are a spent force in Europe

April 12, 2012 12:18 pm

After  Man United defeated Chelsea in the 2008 Champions League final, they seemed set to rule Europe for the next few years. Not only did they have Cristiano Ronaldo, who at the time was the best player in the world, but a quality supporting cast  featuring the likes of  Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez. But since then United have steadily gone backwards, the likes of Scholes and Giggs are no longer at the level required when up against the elite of Europe. Ronaldo left for pastures new and now United have a team with arguably one world class player left: Wayne Rooney. The desperation of having to bring Paul Scholes out of retirement tells you that Ferguson is aware of the problems and this Summer he must find a way to improve the squad to make sure United do better in Europe next season.

You can’t argue with United’s domestic record, since the final in 2008 they have gone on to win the Premier League in 2009, 2011 and look certain to win it again this year. The warning signs were there for United when they were outplayed and defeated in the 2009 final against Barcelona in rome. That summer, United lost their best player in Cristiano Ronaldo and recieved a world record transfer fee in the process, but the Glaziers and Ferguson failed to spend the money that was required to replace not only Ronaldo but also the midfield that were outplayed by Xavi and Iniesta. Instead United signed Michael Owen on a free transfer and Antonia Valencia from Wigan. United are too big a club to be signing a injury prone former Liverpool player whose last great season was in 2001 and someone from Wigan athletic.

The question is why didn’t United spend money on a couple of  World class midfielders, Wesley Sneijder could have been included as part exchange in the Ronaldo deal. The never ending and ultimately unsuccessful transfer saga  of last summer between United and Sneijder could have been avoided if United had had the foresight to ask Real Madrid whether Sneijder was available for sale. In doing so they would have realised that Madrid were already in negotiations with AC Milan to sign Kaka and with the right business savvy they could have got Sneijder on the cheap. Instead he went to inter and won the treble under the management of Mourinho and then inspired Holland to the World Cup final. Last summer, due to his performances for Club and country, United decided that Sneijder was the man to take them up to Barcelona’s level, but they were unwilling to match Sneijder’s wage demands and the required transfer fee Inter were asking for.  In doing so they wasted a whole transfer window and ended up signing a young talent in Phil Jones and a winger in Ashley Young who is no better than the wingers United currently have.
If United are to rule in Europe once again, then they must purchase a couple of world class midfielders. Depending on whether Spurs finish in the top 4, Luka Modric could be available and Danielle De Rossi at Roma is yet to sign a new contract. If they fail to sign anyone then they will continue to be mediocre in Europe and that is not good enough for either Ferguson or United… and they know it.They paid the price for not strengthing their squad by failing to make it past the group stage of the Champions league and being outclassed by Athletic Bilbao. After they were again outplayed by Barca in the 2011 final at Wembley, Ferguson said that his aim was to get closer to Barcelona but the truth is that United are not closer but even further away from the Catalan giants. While United were signing Phil Jones and Ashley Young, Barca were signing Alexis Sanchez who at the time was the best player in Serie A and one of best midfielders in the world: Cesc Fabregas.

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