Welcome back to Rowlesy’s Ramblings. What a juicy headline for a Monday morning, eh? I’m taking no prisoners today.
Let’s get right into it:
When Ferguson tried to sign Steven Gerrard:
In my period of self isolation, due to my other half testing positive for Coronavirus, I had time on my hands and have really enjoyed casting my net out to get guests for my Love for United feature. An incredibly well respected journalist, who is a huge red and has followed United home and away for over 35 years, kindly agreed to an interview and we had a fantastic 45 minute long conversation.
Without giving too many spoilers away, we talked rivals and players and he mentioned Steven Gerrard as somebody he’d have loved to have seen wear red, but in Manchester. Perhaps cheekily, but primarily out of exuberant curiosity, off the record I asked if we were ever close to signing him. His reply was that Ferguson was incredibly keen in 2007.
Looking back, that has substance, as Ferguson strengthened the midfield that summer with Anderson from FC Porto and Gerrard’s international compatriot Owen Hargreaves from Bayern Munich.
The journalist theorized that Gerrard could have been tempted for purely footballing reasons as United were yards ahead of Liverpool but in truth he would have created hell for his family, coming from a working class part of Liverpool and Liverpool would not entertain any bid from United.
Could you imagine adding Gerrard to the all-star squad containing Ferdinand and Vidic at their prime, Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez wreaking havoc up front and Nani, Scholes and Giggs behind them? Jeez.
As it happens, that team was one of the best I’ve been blessed to witness in my lifetime, we dominated England and Europe and Gerrard ended up poetically slipping his title dream away.
Jude Bellingham would be a bonus signing, but it’s not a done deal:
I have seen lots of reports this weekend jumping the gun with predictions that Bellingham is close.
My understanding is that United will offer Bellingham the lure of immediate first team action should he sign for United. However, any deal, at this stage, would be premature to confirm and Bellingham’s next club is still very much in the air.
We know that Bellingham visited Carrington, got the red carpet rolled out from the pulling power of Sir Alex Ferguson and his dad came away all smiles. I know that United have done all they can to persuade Bellingham’s camp that his future lies in Manchester.
However, I still consider it a bonus signing, as far as our summer activity is concerned. Of course, you cannot ignore the stars of tomorrow and United have made a conscious effort to improve their academy signings, £10m on Hannibal Mejbri a striking case in point. For me, United need to now fill their squad with players who walk into the starting eleven, which is why Jadon Sancho is their chief target.
Bellingham, though, is a generational talent. It is no mean feat to hold your own and start Championship matches, which can be the school of hard knocks, in central midfield at the age of 16. I have only seen Bellingham a handful of times but he has the ingredients to go to the very top.
Part of me wonders if he will be Jadon Sancho Mark II in leaving England as a raw teen and making his name in Germany for starters. That’s why I’m certain there is no done deal but we should be encouraged that United are looking at the right players once again.
McTominay showing all the signs he can be a United mainstay for years:
Speaking of talented midfielders, as Scott McTominay posted his 16 pack, 3% body fat picture to social media, I was fighting temptation to click the Just Eat shortcut on my phone! Joking aside, it was further proof that this a local player living our dream, driving on to forge a long career at the club he loves. Think of where he was, labelled a Mourinho puppet and a nondescript player, to arguably a driving force in our midfield, a vital piece in the jigsaw in providing squad depth and strength and someone who has made huge strides after those cruel labels.
If Fred hadn’t had as big a renaissance this season, it would be hard to argue that ‘McSauce’ is right up there as our most improved player.
Who knows what the future holds, but it has been telling that Paul Pogba’s absence has not been as grave due to Fred, McTominay and Bruno shining brightly.
We should all be very proud of where McTominay has got himself to, with so much more space for growth, maybe even the armband one day?
Like Timo Werner, I highly doubt Raul Jimenez will join United
I like Raul Jimenez of Wolves. A rather unknown quantity arrived in the Midlands from Benfica, but he is now a proven number 9.
That’s part of a few prohibitive reasons I cannot see him joining United. The money branded for a player in his late twenties is rather extortionate and would dictate that he is an automatic starter. Jimenez is an out and out 9, and not versatile, which would jeopardise the good work Anthony Martial has done this season.
Of course, you need competition for places, after all United’s striking subs in Barcelona won us the Treble and we had 4 strikers then. However, United will not play 4-4-2 to get their 2 strikers in, as they did in ’99.
Like Timo Werner, I look at the reports and automatically laugh them off, I’d be amazed if Jimenez was signed. As I have predicted in my previous rambling, I think United will exercise their option to sign Odion Ighalo: it makes more financial sense and he is happy to be here, playing a bit part role.
After all, Rashford, Martial, Greenwood and Ighalo is a nice proposition as far as the strikers are concerned. That’s without even mentioning Dan James and hopefully a Jadon Sancho.