Sure, there are a couple of signings already completed (Javier Hernández and Chris Smalling) and the club is on tour in the United States, but that doesn’t mean that Alex Ferguson’s summer work is finished. And, for sure, he has a proven track record of making the right choices in the real world while mine is limited to Football Manager.
But still. There are a couple of players I’d like to see in red shirts before the transfer window closes at the end of August.
1. Michael Bradley, midfielder. If anything, the United States international will be a massive step up from Michael Carrick and the perma-crocked Owen Hargreaves (that latter of which is too bad, since he had the potential to be outstanding for both club and country, as proven at the 2006 World Cup). Bradley has the fitness, the pace, the skills, and the football intelligence to play both defensively and offensively in Fergie’s system. No, he’s not a straight up defensive midfielder but he can mark offensive players far more effectively than Carrick ever could (despite his own flashes of goodness).
2. Mesut Özil, midfielder. Özil is the flavor of the month, and for good reason. The Werder Bremen man showed glimpses of his potential when he dominated long stretches of games for Germany during the World Cup. He’ll be relatively cheap (apparently United and Chelsea have tabled bids in the £10 million range) because he only has one year left on his contract. He’s worth perhaps double that amount. With Özil and Rooney near the top and Bradley controlling the middle, there’d be less pressure on Ryan Giggs and, more importantly, Paul Scholes. Ball-winning and ball-controlling midfielders also help relieve the pressure on the back four.
3. A central defender. I don’t have a specific name but I do have a profile. The defender should be quick and strong and, preferably, tall. He needs to pair with Nemanja Vidić so he should have complimentary skills. He needs to replace Rio Ferdinand (who’s aging in dog years and preparing to join Hargreaves on the perma-crocked list) so there’s that, as well. I maintain my position that the one recent transfer Fergie would undo if he could is selling Gerard Piqué to Barcelona. Getting another central defender probably should be number 1 on this list, if one thinks about it for more than a few seconds.