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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Signing Owen Hargreaves in January could be a mistake by Manchester United

With the opening of the January transfer window, United have inevitably again been linked with a big money move for Bayern's Owen Hargreaves. This does not appear to be just press speculation either, as Sir Alex Ferguson has repeatedly made clear his desire to bring Hargreaves to Old Trafford and as Hargreaves says in his own column on the BBC website, the speculation is "concrete".

However, Uli Hoeness has recently reiterated that Bayern will not sell Hargreaves in January and will only consider a sale at the end of the season. Whilst I have always maintained that Hargreaves is a exceptional energetic midfielder, I think that this in fact could be beneficial for United this season for a few reasons:

1. Price

Prices are always inflated in the January transfer window. The limited time to buy means that selling clubs alway have buying clubs over the barrel in terms of demands. £15 million is too much for Hargreaves and anything above that would be ridiculous.

2. Champions League - Cup tied

Before Hargreaves broke his leg, he played for Bayern in the Champions League against Spartak Moscow. So, he would be ineligible to play for United for the rest of the CL campaign.

3. Recover from injury

Hargreaves is just on his way back from a serious injury. It will take him time to regain match fitness and optimum form. Coming to a new club with title aspirations with huge expectations on his shoulders would not, in my opinion, aid his recovery or be of substantial benefit to United in the short term this season. If United do sign him, it would be much better to do so at the end of the season when he will have trained and played for Bayern regularly and would be fit to start the new season with a full pre-season campaign behind him.

4. Disruption to the current settled United team

One of the major factors to United exceptional domestic form this season which Ferguson has not openly acknowledged is that he has gone "back to basics" with the United formation. 4-4-2. The unsuccessful forays into 4-5-1/4-3-3 have been ditched as Ferguson has realised that United are at their most penetrative with a four man midfield with two wide men and two strikers.

Central to this formation has been the partnership of Carrick and Scholes. Carrick has been unspectacular but solid, especially in his retention of possession - and Scholes has been rolling back the clock in putting in some exceptional displays with his link play.

Signing Hargreaves for an inevitably large fee will, I feel, give Ferguson too much scope to tinker with the successful formula he has embarked upon this season. The temptation will be for Ferguson to revert to a 5 man midfield and I think that would be a mistake in United's hunt for Trophies this season.

Hargreaves will be a very good signing for United, but the fruits of that signing will only be seen when Scholes ends his Indian summer of great form and is replaced by Carrick as a slightly different but still creative force and Hargreaves steps into the "Keane" role of box-to-box midfielder.

Yes, United's squad will be stretched this season if injuries occur, but I think that signing Hargreaves in January will be gamble that could backfire for United.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey never mind about hargreaves, redsman's gone very quiet. What's up mate?

1/10/2007 6:43 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

'Mate'??!? Who's this? I don't have any mates called 'anonymous'.


1/10/2007 6:53 pm

Blogger T said...

Always good to see one of your posts Abdul.

I agree with most of the points you make about why it best to wait. Yet on the othr hand Ferguson may need to consider the possibilty of injuires occuring. As a Man Utd fan you'll definitely remember that O'Shea and Giggs ending up playing a lot of games in CM last season... and this is something that Ferguson may want to counter-act happening again by splashing money now on Hargreaves.

Man Utd may not again be in as strong a position to win a title under Ferguson as they are in this season- and he may well consider its best not to leave anything to chance.

I also don't think that the system will change if Hargreaves came in- I'm pretty sure that Ferguson now is fully committed to the 4-4-2 given how it has put Man Utd in such a strong first place position.

1/10/2007 9:10 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/10/2007 10:54 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

[The above comment had to be removed in accordance with discussions held with our legal advisors, due to the potentiality of its reference. We have also been advised to convey the seriousness of such references to the commentor in question and in general to ensure such references are not repeated again. We will not be held responsible having conveyed this disclaimer in open public and that can therefore result in the IP address used to send such references coming under investigation by the authorities. Please take notice of the above and we thank you for your cooperation in this issue.]


1/11/2007 11:05 pm

Blogger T said...

Yes, the comment was taken down because tasteless and offensive 'jokes' will not be accepted on our site. I hope this position can be respected in the future.

1/12/2007 10:04 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find your response to my attempt at a little light relief to be rather wet and laughably pompous but I fully respect your position and I promise to edit myself to that effect in future if indeed I ever post on here again.

My genuine apologies.

1/18/2007 1:37 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Sorry, your response above is wet and pompous, laughably or otherwise. Your "attempt at a little light relief" could have cost us legally why we had to take advice, and it was at the expense of others who could have been severely affected, something you should have thought of as well. It is up to any other sites if they wish to convey such humour, the bottom line is you said if you indeed post here again. Your apology was not accepted as geniune and we prefer you did not in future.


1/18/2007 4:54 pm

Blogger T said...

Anon, personally speaking I'm willing to accept your apology as genuine... yet I also fully respect the position of Redsman and anyone else at EFT who is not willing to accept it.

1/20/2007 12:25 am


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