Sir Alex Ferguson MUST Buy In January…
Following the injury to Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic, we look at how Alex Ferguson will deal with the situation and why he has to buy in January.
When Nemanja Vidic writhes around on the floor in pain, you know it’s bad. He certainly isn’t one to go down easy, to practise theatrics or to feign pain for a free-kick, and as he waved frantically to the bench, it was clear that this injury was a bad one.
The disturbing replays confirmed it, and today we have learned that the Serbian defender and Manchester United’s incredibly influential captain has indeed suffered the horrible and much feared cruciate knee ligament rupture which, if true, could mean Vidic will miss the rest of Manchester United’s season, with the usual recovery period of around nine months.
The injury has not been confirmed by United at the time of writing, but rather Vidic’s agent, Silvani Martino. Sir Alex Ferguson did say after United’s 2-1 loss to Basel that it looked like a medial-ligament injury, which would see Vidic out for around four months, but either way, the 30 year-old will miss a substantial chunk of the Champions’ wavering season.
So what will be done to make up for such an important players long term absence?
The immediate reaction would be to look to the January transfer window for comfort. Ferguson is not known for his overly active winters in the market, but surely he will make an exception for an extraordinary event such as this. Out of the Champions League at the Group stages, desperately lacking the creative edge in midfield of recent years, an injury crisis up front and the captain out for the rest of the season. Luck hasn’t been kind in this respect.
There are a number of possibilities to entertain. Firstly, Ferguson could buy a Vidic replacement. Easier said than done, indeed. Chelsea’s Alex springs to mind as a short term man for the job, considering his transfer request and wish to escape London. He has experience in the Premier League and knows what it’s like to play in a rotating back line, having played with a number of defenders in his time with Chelsea.
However, Sir Alex has a healthy number of central defenders who could step into the position rendering movement in the transfer window needless.
Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans can partner Rio Ferdinad, providing he stays fit, however with this possible solution, further problems arise. Smalling is covering at right back in the absence of a regular player in that position thanks to Rafael and Fabios consistent injury troubles, while Phil Jones is currently being utilised in the midfield in the absence of a powerful enforcer of play. That leaves just Jonny Evans.
With respect to Evans, he is no Vidic. He is a very good defender when he is on his game, but a number of times – perhaps too many times – he has made crucial mistakes which have opened him up to heavy criticism within United’s broad fan base. A partnership with Ferdinand, who himself is not consistently solid or fit is not a title challenging partnership, and there lies a real issue for Ferguson to address.
Indeed, when Tom Cleverley returns with Carrick, Fletcher and Anderson, United’s midfield will hopefully not require Phil Jones, giving United another option at the back, but what guarantee is there that the midfield is good enough to keep up with the likes of Manchester City’s in the frantic chase for the title? It hasn’t been awe inspiring so far, and quite simply, there are none.
The problem is, Sir Alex Ferguson did not recruit a central midfielder when Paul Scholes retired at the end of last season. It has left United light in the midfield, and with awfully bad luck with injuries, this lack of depth in the midfield have been exposed for all to see. Rooney has had to play in midfield, as has Phil Jones, with Ashley Young forced to play centrally a number of times. Giggs too has come inside, although that is more to do with his diminishing pace out on the wing – but all rotation like this leaves other positions light too.
Now without another vital player in Vidic for the rest of the season, Manchester United’s team looks further diminished. Players are and will play out of position, and more injuries will be picked up between now and the end of the season. A midfield recruit this winter to me, should certainly be a high priority on Sir Alex Ferguson’s to-do list.
There are too many ifs and buts, and not enough guarantees. United have already been punished for complacency and are out of the Champions League because of it. It would be naive of Ferguson not to use this upcoming transfer window to his advantage: to inject new life, new energy and new talent into his side which it desperately needs. If anything is for certain, it is that Manchester United need a boost, and one or two January signings will go some way in providing that.
Thanks to DBS Football for submitting this guest post.
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