|photo by ninette_luz||via PhotoRee|
Lately I've read a number of tweets and posts on Twitter and various Manchester United websites to the effect that United fans should be more than happy with our activity in the transfer season to date, which at the time of this writing had yielded Phil Jones, Ashley Young and (presumably) David DeGea. To which I'll add my own voice: I'm happy we've signed a few younger players, and begun the process of replacing the legend who formerly guarded goal, but I won't go so far as to say I'm satisfied. As I've already tweeted previously, the Jones signing is clearly one for the future, while the Young signing leaves me a bit cold.
The articles I've read basically imply that we as United fans should be more than happy to have "refreshed" our squad -- something that needs to be done to any team, no matter how good they may be. But to have greater ambitions -- say to knock a certain Barcelona club off their perch -- is too much to ask at the current time. That we should leave the big money signings to clubs like Real, City, Chelsea and Barca, because it's not the "United" way, and that the only way to ultimately beat those clubs is to strengthen and refresh as we're currently doing. To be happy with the off-season pick ups so far.
I guess I feel differently.
Now don't get me wrong -- I'd rather sign a Chicharito for £7mm any day of the week than splash out huge amounts of cash, even for a superstar. Who wouldn't like to purchase a quality player's contract for less money rather than more? But it's unrealistic to think we're going to continue to unearth bargains year in, year out, and pin all of our hopes on this strategy. I'll admit that the United scouting staff is probably as good (or better) and deeper than that of almost any other club in the world, but I don't want to pin all our hopes of improving in competitions outside the League on unearthing the next diamond in the rough.
Perhaps this feeling comes from a different perspective than other United fans, and possibly from the perspective of a non-English Manchester United fan (Aside: please don't patronize me and tell me a "real" United fan can come only come from England, or even more narrowly, from Manchester. Yes, I've seen United play in person on numerous occasions, at Old Trafford, at other England stadiums (including Wembley), as well as on their various US visits. In fact, this may come as a shock to some (I'm definitely not saying all) England-based United fans, but there are now more of us (non-English United fans) than there are of you, including a large contingent here in the North American and a huge amount over in Asia. And some of the most intelligent and conversational United fans I know do not happen to live in England).
Which is a long-winded way of saying that while I love winning the EPL -- love, love, love it -- I don't turn up my nose at winning other competitions, too. I don't want to cede the Champions League trophy to Barcelona until their current squad is too old to win it anymore. I want to win it. I want Sir Alex to win it. I want to see Sir Bobby lift the Cup. I want to be the Champions of not only England, but of Europe. And I want it now. How much more appropriate could it get than to see Sir Bobby lift the Cup next year -- in Munich.
And if this attitude is considered "spoiled," so be it. I don't choose to think of it that way. I prefer to call it being ambitious. Although some of you think that Sir Alex has no more left to prove, I'd venture a gamble that he doesn't feel that way. He's got more ambitions beyond winning a 20th League title (or even a 21st). I'd place a big wager he feels the same way I do.
Which is why I think there's still one or two moves left this year. Sure, I expect De Gea to come in, and I think he'll be a superstar. He won't be Edwin -- no one could be Edwin -- but he'll be his own man and create his own United stories. But I also think there's more.
I don't know who. I don't think it will be Samir Nasri -- I think that was just posturing and negotiating on the Frenchman's apart. But it could be Wesley Sneijder. It could be Daniele De Rossi. It could be Lassana Diara. It could be Steven Defour. Or (fingers triple crossed), it could even be Luka Modric.
One thing it won't be is Paul Scholes' replacement; that's impossible. But I do think there's one more piece -- perhaps the linchpin -- coming this off-season. Because I think Sir Alex is thinking the same way I am. And I want more.
This is farlieonfootie for June 26.