Right when we see two of our longest serving defenders leave this week, Chris Smalling puts pen to paper on a new five-year deal. The main significance of the timing of Smalling’s new deal puts him in step with his center-half partner, Phil Jones, who is also on a five-year deal. Smalling, 21, and Jones, 19, are now aligned at United, England, and in contract. What this signals is the beginning of the next era of Ferguson’s new dynasty.
Smalling was a more than pleasant surprise for most, but for me, he was shockingly good (just look at my Twitter history if your bored). Poised, calm and professional he quickly amassed 34 total appearances for United last term and proved to us that he is willing to work hard, stay humble, and learn from the best in Rio and Vidic. Now with Jones by his side, the pair are Sir Alex’s pick to inherit United center-back positions.
Smalling had this to say, “This is a great club and in the short time I have been here I have already achieved more than I could have ever expected to. I am looking forward to a long and successful career at Manchester United”.
Selling Brown and O’Shea shows that Ferguson has begun the process of building yet another dynasty, maybe his last. He has never been one to be soft, move slow, or be complacent, and this summer’s overhaul may be the most significant of his illustrious career.
Ferguson told the Mirror, “You can’t get sentimental in this job. I love the players I’ve had and I’ve been very, very fortunate to have had great players. And I’ve been fortunate to have had players come through with me for a long, long time.”
“But when I see something happening, I have to act. In the case of Nicky Butt and Phil Neville, I had to release them because I was getting to the stage where I was terrified of talking to them – telling them they weren’t playing a game. And it wasn’t fair to them. They were good players, who had played a big part in the resurrection of Manchester United.”
The reason the purse strings may be a little looser this summer is the fact that he may be building his last footballing powerhouse.
Smalling’s new contract gives me more faith than ever in his abilities. If this is Ferguson’s last hurrah, then he has chosen Smalling as a big piece of the foundation.