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(Jose ponders selling the entire squad and starting again!)

The real difference between Manchester United and the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona can be seen when the clubs mention that some of their players may be allowed to leave. The press immediately begin speculating which players those may be and then start linking them to different clubs around Europe.

For example, there were mutterings that Isco was surplus to requirements at Real Madrid. He was reported to be of interest to Manchester City. Then it was James Rodriquez, who is still not certain to stay. He is linked with Manchester United, amongst others. Raphael Varane has also been mentioned in the same breath as United.

Barcelona sold Thiago Alcantara to Bayern Munich and Pedro to Chelsea. In fact, Thiago was linked with United for a while but, by this time, Ed was in “full dithering mode” so they missed out on him. There was never any doubt that, when the availability of these players became public knowledge, they would go to big clubs.

Whenever a top player becomes “available”, then the usual clubs are interested in signing him. By the usual clubs, I mean the ones who can afford him namely, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, PSG, Manchester United and City.

The point being that you only have to look at the quality of clubs interested in the potential cast-offs of Madrid and Barcelona and compare them with their English counterparts.

Manchester United are said to be ready to sell some players. Look at who is reportedly interested in acquiring them. Firstly, take Phil Jones, as I am sure some fans wish somebody would. He is probably available for the right price and who is interested? Hull City, that’s who! Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj are on the wanted list of David Moyes at Sunderland while Bastian Schweinsteiger has been told that Bayern Munich don’t want him but that Lazio may do. Marcos Rojo has apparently turned down a move to China to stay and fight for his place.

Manchester City do not fare much better. They are very open to selling Wilfried Bony who was their intended replacement for Edin Dzeko. Whilst Dzeko, at the age of thirty, went to Roma, it isn’t quite so easy to move Bony out of the door. Eliaquim Mangala and Jesus Navas could also be on the move as neither has reached the expected heights since joining the club. There is no interest in them from the very top clubs.

One problem experienced by the big clubs when it comes to selling players is the wages. They offer so much money to attract them in the first place that, when it doesn’t work out, there are few clubs who can afford to match the player’s salary. The player now has to take a pay cut if he wants to move, or the selling club has to drastically reduce the price in order for the buyer to be able to afford the wages.

These problems, however, only appear when players are signed and then don’t prove to be as good as originally thought. Both United and City have had players over the years who have been well worth their transfer fee, even if they were given away at the end of their contracts!

This does not alter the fact that, currently, Real Madrid and Barcelona can sell their unwanted players for vast amounts of money to the top clubs in Europe while United and City struggle to do anything remotely similar, never mind the same.

The bottom line here is that the clubs scouting needs to be better. Firstly, the top clubs are buying too many players for ridiculous amounts of money because their owners demand success now, immediately, if not sooner. This means that the scouts take the path of least resistance, they go and watch players who are already established internationals and then send a report to their club telling them what they already knew. The club then pays a king’s ransom for the player and hopes that he is as good for them as he was for his previous club. Quite often he is not, just refer back to the examples previously mentioned who will be sold, if possible, by the Manchester clubs.

At least the scouts at Manchester City seem to have been looking for some young talent recently and the club have been acting on their recommendations. These will, hopefully, be the stars of the future and mean that, when a team needs rebuilding, it can be done mainly from within the club.

The only way to make sure that your unwanted are sold for large amounts of money is to make sure that they are world class players and that world class replacements are already in place. This is what Real Madrid and Barcelona do so well. Bayern Munich are also quite good at it. Manchester United and Manchester City have a little way to go yet, but appear to be on the right road. If they can dispose of their average players and bring in top quality in their place they will have solved the equation, for the time being at least.

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