Don’t Worry About ManU

About everywhere you look these days you run across a Manchester United fan with his hair on fire worrying himself to death about the state of the biggest team in sport. It doesn’t help that on this side of the pond, being an English football fan is almost synonymous with being a ManU supporter. I’m not, but I never hated them, either. I never understood the old ‘you either love them or hate them’ adage. My feelings for them are on the lower end of indifference. Maybe my take on their state of things is a bit more balanced than the ‘sky is falling’ wail of the supporters or the gleeful gloating of the detractors.

Initially, it seems the Mancunians that were burning Malcolm Glazer in effigy a year ago might have been on the money. He doesn’t seem willing to readily part with much of his own. The free-wheeling days of buying any player Sir Alex takes a fancy to, look to be over. They’ve been much more notable for the player that they shipped out than any they have bought this year.

They dumped Ruud van Nistlerooy on Real Madrid. The Spanish side, already loaded with more egos than talent, apparently had room for one more. He’s a perfect fit there. It could be argued that Manchester didn’t get a fair return on him, but he had to go and the world knew it. I’m no fan of Ruud. He rarely creates anything (other than tears for Christiano, of course). He gets his 20 odd goals a year off rebounds and mistakes. You could say that he has a knack for getting into position to get those kinds of goals. I could say that he’s just a lucky git. Regardless, I wouldn’t want him on my team. The Dutch didn’t even want him on theirs.

United supporters seemed shocked that some highly priced replacement wasn’t immediately bought up in his place, though. In truth, Ferguson very much wanted the 22 year old, Fernando Torres at Atletico Madrid, but he couldn’t lure him. That they couldn’t just snatch up a player they eyed at will might be a surprise–the power in the football world has shifted. But, it doesn’t really matter. It’s a very slight shift.

They are already blessed with some kid that is rumored to be able to play a bit. Wayne Rooney remains at Old Trafford, afterall. Louis Saha can play beside him. He’s no slouch, he ‘s just been waiting for an opportunity since joining the team from Fulham–where he was the huge fish in the small pond. He’ll settle in this year. Solskjaer is also coming off of a two-year absence with knee injuries. He probably won’t ever be the old Ole anymore, but he should be fine as the third option off the bench. They also have taken a flyer on the young Guiseppe Rossi. If he comes around, the strike force is suddenly as formidible as ever.

For some unknown reason, they also have the flopping showboat, Christiano Ronaldo. His feelings should be in a much better state now that Ruud isn’t there being rude to him. Some people remain high on him. I can’t stand him. I’m told Ferguson will make a proper footballer out of him yet. If so, this is the year for it.

The major signing for them this off-season has been getting Michael Carrick from Tottenham. That is a significant improvement to the team right there. The midfield could use some more help, and the defense isn’t as iron-clad as possible, but there isn’t much wrong with Manchester United. If you take Chelsea out of the picture, they look about as strong and dominant as usual in the Premier League.

They don’t have to buy every player on the planet. Chelsea is doing that (and if they get Ashley Cole from Arsenal it would take an act of God to stop them this year). Madrid did it before them. Manchester has more competition in that department now, but that doesn’t mean they are doomed. Smarter, more prudent buys might not be what their supporters are used to, but it will probably pay off just fine in the long run. Overpaying for the likes of Ballack, Shevchenko, Drogba, Kezmann, Ronaldo, Beckham, Owen, van Nistlerooy–is not smart and will eventually kill those teams, I don’t care how much money they throw around.

That said, The Red Devils will still be chasing Chelski all year. Somewhere in the second tier with an improved Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham. But, don’t worry, they’ll never be in the second tier for long. And that group of teams are already closer to the Chelsea bastards than it looks on paper. If United can swing something to get Owen Hargreaves from Bayern, they’ll already be sitting in tier 1-b.