It’s Monday and a lot of people are probably trying to get to grips with the usual Monday morning, post-weekend, hangover. Me? I still can't believe the fact that Manchester United bought an actual, proper, central midfielder. Thursday’s news hasn’t sunk in yet.
It's been quite a long time since our club last signed a proper central midfielder. Not looking at the Fellaini acquisition, because 1. It was a panic buy, 2. He’s not a central midfielder (you know, in the Toure/Fabregas/Scholes mould) and 3. he was utter shite last season, it has been seven years since we’ve last bought a central midfielder. Yep, the last central midfielder was bought seven years ago and that was – wait for it – Anderson. The Brazilian didn’t really set Old Trafford alight and, to this day, his only real contribution to this great club is his perfectly dispatched penalty in the 2008 Champions League final penalty shoot out. Oh, I almost forgot, he also shat on Fabregas but, thing is, he hasn’t managed to shit on another footballer ever since.
We’ve made some good midfield buys in the past years but none at central midfield. We’ve got our fair share of number 10 players and we’ve also seen some wingers head our way. No central midfielders, though. Fergie was either central midfield phobic or too much drink must have made him believe Anderson was, to use modern terms, ‘the shit’. ‘The shit’ he was not but 'shit' he most definitely is and that, added to the Cleverley poor form and Fletcher’s illness, is the reason why our midfield has been bullied by the big guns during the past seasons. So let’s just say that our over excitement, triggered by the Ander Herrera arrival, is excusable.
Now, I’ve heard a lot about Herrera but, if I’m honest, I can’t say I have ever seen him play. To be ultra honest, I didn’t even know this guy existed before last August. That’s when his potential transfer to United resulted in a total fiasco. Who knows? Maybe if the Spanish central midfielder signed this time last year, a disaster (7th place) might have been averted and David Moyes wouldn’t be out of work.
I’ve read some articles about Ander and every Spanish football expert seems to rate this guy highly. The boy has got so much potential that I’ve even read that the 30m we paid for him will be looked at as a bargain in the future when Herrera reaches his full potential and delivers for United. Added to that, he looks like a really nice chap who loves to play the game, just like his fellow Spaniards De Gea and Mata. We don’t need any overly inflated egos at the club, otherwise they’d probably clash with Van Gaal who seems to be quite proud of himself.
The midfield area has been United's achilles heel for many a campaign but while other positions were strengthened, the same midfielders turned out for our club. Apart from Carrick, our central midfielders have been very poor in the past seasons (even when we won the league in 2012). With that in mind, Ander's arrival was met with a huge sense of relief from the United faithful. The club has finally made sense of our midfield woes.
By the time Ander Herrera was seen on our official website posing in a United kit, rumours had already escalated about the imminent arrival of another exciting young talent; Luke Shaw. Now, it has been long known that Shaw was on United’s radar. A lot of reputable sources claimed there was some kind of deal agreed before the world cup but the deal seemed to have broken off and his astronomical price tag made me think that United won’t go for him. I was very wrong. Fast forward to Friday afternoon, upon the opening of the New York Stock Exchange just after my afternoon siesta, and I see Twitter littered with quotes from Giggs welcoming Shaw to the club. Yep, England’s most exciting youngster was ours as well.
Having watched Shaw play a handful of times, I can say that we can look forward to having a potentially world class left back for, at least, a decade. If he keeps progressing, and there’s no reason not to, we’ll have a player who’ll be capable of playing at the very top for a number of years. He looked absolutely brilliant for Southampton last year and the good news is that he’s still 18, so he’s yet to reach his full potential. Overpriced? Currently, Yes. But if that’s our left back position sorted for more than a decade, then it’s a bloody bargain.
Welcome home Herrera and Shaw. If we’re to believe the newspapers, more players will follow. Ed Woodward is doing one heck of a job. There’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about the upcoming season. I surely can’t wait. Get this world cup over and done with, I want the Premier League back.