The Manchester United manager must realign a squad scattered by injury, rehabilitation and London 2012 commitments
Shinji Kagawa, Nick Powell and AN Other could be the sum total of Manchester United's summer recruitment drive, according to Sir Alex Ferguson.
As the 19-times champions of English football attempt to wrestle back the title from their noisy neighbours, Manchester City, the United congregation may wonder at the state the club is currently in.
The recent flotation by the Glazers on the New York Stock Exchange by owners whose buyout cost United £500m alone in leverage fees will not ease this mood.
At last week's unveiling of Kagawa, a £12m "bargain" from Borussia Dortmund, and the 18-year-old Powell, Ferguson said regarding further signings: "It's possible we could bring in one or maybe two more."
With a situation vacant for a driving midfielder and question marks over both full-back positions and the ability of Javier Hernández, who last season scored 10 Premier League goals, and Danny Welbeck (nine), to support the 27-goal Wayne Rooney, the clock showing six weeks before the transfer window shuts ticks nervously for fans.
Eleven days before, on 20 August, United's Premier League challenge starts at Everton, with Ferguson requiring all of his considerable powers to realign a squad scattered by injury, rehabilitation and London 2012 commitments.
United's opening pre-season match is on Wednesday in Durban against AmaZulu. Missing due to the impending Olympic campaign are Ryan Giggs, Tom Cleverley, David de Gea and Rafael da Silva. Nemanja Vidic, the captain and best player alongside Rooney, and Chris Smalling are also absent. They are back at Carrington recuperating. The career of Darren Fletcher, meanwhile, is in the balance because of his chronic bowel complaint.
All these players are major components of Ferguson's first-team plans and the Scot confirmed on Tuesday that an eighth, Jonny Evans, is unlikely to face Everton due to an ankle injury. "I am not sure he will start the season but he won't be far away," the manager said.
Evans bloomed alongside Rio Ferdinand in central defence once Vidic limped out of last season following the cruciate knee ligament injury suffered against Basel in a Champions League group game in December.
While Ferguson is also without all of his Euro 2012 contingent apart from Anders Lindegaard for the first half of the club's pre-season tour, perhaps United's best news of the summer was the medical bulletin offered by Ferguson on his leader. He said: "Vidic will start the season, I am sure of that. He is still at the level of doing good amounts of training but not in the competitive sense that the others have done so it was pointless bringing him out here [to South Africa]. By the time we get back, we hope he is at the competitive element of his comeback."
Smalling should also be available following a groin operation. "He is gradually progressing and I expect him to start the season," Ferguson said. Yet by the time he and Vidic are reunited with the squad at Carrington and Everton loom, who knows what further maladies will have occurred at the Olympics, and on the 22,000-mile tour that takes in five countries – South Africa, China, Norway, Germany and Sweden.
The other pressing issue is the hole in central midfield where Ferguson has missed a consistent force since Roy Keane left United seven years ago. Maybe the manager hopes this will be the season Anderson finally does what he has managed only sporadically: control the midfield heartland. From the sound of the Brazilian, whose knee injury limited him to 10 league appearances last year, Ferguson may have had a word. "This is my most important campaign at United," he said. "I need to prove what I can do. I know I have to be very focused on my football. I know the boss and my team-mates believe in me, I've just had bad luck [with injuries]."
Further back in his team, Rafael and Patrice Evra remain Ferguson's nominal first choice full-backs but each was inconsistent last season. With the manager allowing the Brazilian's twin, Fabio, who is a left-back, to be loaned to Queens Park Rangers the Scot requires cover or competition for Evra. Everton's Leighton Baines may be on the radar but the Merseyside club will not sell cheap. The price-plus-wages for a 28-year-old with no sell-on value would, in this straitened time for United, drain Ferguson's budget for the one big signing he may yet have – and would seem to require – up his sleeve. Read More
انسخ الكود التالى و ضعه فى موقعك او مدونتك.