Paul Parker

United need reinforcements

Paul Parker

View photo

.

It
has been a frustrating summer in the transfer market for Manchester United, and I think they need one or two more players if they want to
contend for silverware this season.

The
club's top brass insist that the £80 million they received for Cristiano
Ronaldo is still available for Sir Alex to spend, although there are those who
doubt this.

Whatever
the truth, United have been surprisingly quiet since they brought Dimitar Berbatov
to Old Trafford in 2008, and I'm not sure they go into this season with enough
ammunition to win back the Premier League title.

Great
players as they are, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are on the down slope of their
careers and United really need some fresh blood in midfield, especially with
the news that Owen Hargreaves has suffered yet another injury setback.

I had
my career cut short by injuries so I know how frustrating it must be for
Hargreaves. But, nearly two years after he last completed 90 minutes for the
first team, it is hard not to fear the worst.

In
previous seasons, Sir Alex might have been able to get a player like Wesley Sneijder,
but now he is prohibitively expensive.

Mesut
Ozil looks an excellent talent, but United face competition for his signature
from Real Madrid - and when Real set their sights a player they don't usually
end up disappointed.

Wayne
Rooney won several games almost single-handedly last season, and it is neither
fair nor realistic to expect the same again this season - especially in light
of the burnout that torpedoed his World Cup.

I
would love to think Dimitar Berbatov can contribute more this season, but it
just seems the Bulgarian does not have the right mentality. When Eric Cantona
came to United, he had that cocksure arrogance and self-belief.

He
was completely unafraid of failure and became the most influential player in
Premier League history. Berbatov has played within himself from the moment he
arrived, showing only frustrating glimpses of his audacious quality.

Michael
Owen is so injury prone at this stage of his career, anything from him would be
a bonus.

But
United have signed somebody who possesses the pace of the old Michael Owen in
Javier Hernandez.

He is
the first Mexican to play for United, and he has high expectations to live up
to. He is extremely quick and knows how to finish, but he needs a run of games
and a good start if he is to establish himself.

Look
at Diego Forlan, obviously a brilliant player - his faltering start to
life in English football effectively put paid to his United career. It was
never going to work out for him at Old Trafford, but when he went to Spain he was an
instant success.

Hernandez
is far from the player Ruud van Nistelrooy was when he joined United, but if he
can make a similar sort of immediate impact it would be a huge boost.

Further
back I think Jonny Evans has a key role to play considering Rio Ferdinand's injury
woes, and the right-back position is still very much up for grabs.

Wes
Brown, Rafael da Silva, Gary Neville and even Chris Smalling will be in
contention. Each have their qualities, but none is the complete package.

Again,
world-class performers like Maicon and Philipp Lahm have proved to be outside
United's financial reach.

Personally, I'd like to see Smalling get a run in the side. Although it isn't his best position and I wonder if it might have been better for his development if he had stayed at Fulham.

United
are not alone in their watchful spending. Arsenal have been typically frugal,
Liverpool have scooped up a couple of free transfers, and Chelsea's only notable move has been to swap
Joe Cole for Yossi Benayoun.

I
think clubs are getting scared of spending money as the financial reality of
the economic downturn starts to bite - particularly for those clubs in debt.

At
the same time, Manchester
City continue to splash
out and are distorting the market and pushing up prices.

Why
would Aston Villa sell James Milner for the £12 million he is probably worth
when they can get double that amount from City?

View Comments