Manchester United, Gary Neville, Cristiano Ronaldo & Gareth Bale

Posted: November 30, 2015 in Football, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Good old Gary. You have to admire his optimism, don’t you? He was a dopey defender, as Rodney Marsh used to say, who has turned into football’s answer to ‘The Man Who Knew Everything.” Very likeable and speaking a lot of common sense he is a refreshing addition to the world of punditry which previously boasted Paul Merson and his twenty words vocabulary as one of the leading lights, (and still does, to be honest).

According to Neville the elder, Manchester United are just TWO, yes TWO players short of being like Barcelona, whatever that means.

I suppose if Messi and Neymar were to sign for United tomorrow they would then be more like Barcelona. Only they wouldn’t be, because Barca would no longer have Messi and Neymar. They would still have Luis Suarez, which would make them more like Manchester City who also have only one world class striker in Sir Joe Aguero.

Trying to be more logical than Neville isn’t particularly difficult. All we need to do is work out which two players he means then, obviously, whoever is left would get into the Barcelona team. So let’s start up top.

United definitely need a striker and a pacy, creative midfielder. So let’s assume that money is no object which, with ‘Spend Spend Ed’ in charge, it isn’t.

Gary suggests Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, (which would make them more like Real Madrid, but I’m splitting hairs). It could be difficult acquiring these two as neither of them has exactly shouted from the rooftops that they would like to be skidding around Old Trafford at any time in the near future, but that’s only a minor detail.

Fast forward and all hail the arrival of the two conquering heroes, who are going to replace Wayne Rooney, (at last!) and one of the other fifteen midfielders on the books at Old Trafford, I’m not exactly sure which one.

Weighed down by messages of good luck from United fans Rooney gets Shanghai’d to Shanghai SIPG where he falls into the welcoming arms of Sven Goran Eriksson. A match made in heaven if ever there was one. Everybody is now happy! All United need do is win the title as Gary said they would.

Manchester United take to the field for their first game of the post-Wazza era. But wait a minute, what’s this? They don’t look anything like Barcelona. Where’s Gerrard Pique, where’s Javier Mascherano? Where’s Victor Valdes? Come to think of it, where IS Victor Valdes?

No need to worry though. After fifteen minutes we can all see what Gary was getting at. He didn’t mean United would actually look like Barcelona, he meant that, with King Louis’ possession game and Bale and Ronaldo to score the goals, they would appear to play like Barcelona, a possession game……but with goals! Ah! so that’s what he meant!

Boy, am I glad we managed to clear that up!

The problem I can foresee with this line-up is that the sensible thing to do would be to give the ball to either Bale or Ronaldo and then watch what happens. Neither of them would necessarily buy into van Gaal’s team possession ethic. They both enjoy possession football but only when they personally are in possession of the football. Ronaldo already thinks Bale doesn’t pass the ball to him enough. Bale probably thinks the same about Ronaldo but is too shy to say anything.

This is where Barcelona, unfortunately for Gary’s argument, are different. The front three of Neymar, Messi and Suarez are extremely unselfish and, if they can’t score themselves, are only too happy when a team mate puts it in the net.

Where I agree 100% with Gary Neville is that United need a world class striker. This, as he says, would instantly transform them from being not just a team which doesn’t concede many goals but a team which scores a few as well.

If this is something that ‘Spend Spend Ed’ can achieve in the transfer window, his stock may rise by another 1% in the eyes of the United supporters


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