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Neville to Play Today | Best Central Defence in Europe | Transfer Rumours | Losing Another Young Talent

Hello readers – Red Ranter is away (something about a Page 3 photo-shoot), so I’ll be filling in today. Be nice and leave a lot of comments πŸ™‚

Transfer Gossip

Let’s pick the thread up with the transfer rumours surrounding Manchester United. So far, there’s been talk about the usual raft of ‘young kids’ that Manchester United might pick up, and to be honest I’m pretty sure we don’t need any more young kids at the moment at Old Trafford – if anything, with the old guard phasing out there’s more need of someone experienced (and by ‘experience’ I don’t mean Silvestre).

Let’s see now – we’ve been linked with Sporting Lisbon’s Miguel Veloso, a defender that Arsenal are also after (and possibly need way more than we do, unless he’s like, another Vida or something – can’t have enough Vidas in the team). SL (That’s Sporting Lisbon, not Soccerlens) are adamant that Manchester United don’t own their asses have first option on their asses players, but even then, those ‘sporting’ ties do count for something, don’t they?

Defensively United are rock-solid and well-prepared for the future. The left-back berth is something I’m a ‘bit’ worried about (no reliable backup – yet – to Evra) but with Pique and O’Shea covering and Simpson able to play both flanks (plus Silvestre and those two brothers joining next summer or even in January), that’s not something we need to be worried about right now.

So the Veloso bit is just speculation, I’m afraid.

We’ve also been linked with a couple of strikers (the fact that a team who didn’t win it’s first 3 matches and is still in #2 place in the Premier League and is considered to be ‘struggling’ with goals is a compliment for most teams, par for the course where United is concerned) – Jeremy Menez (20, Monaco) and Macauley Chrisantus (17, Nigeria) are the targets, the former also under Liverpool’s scrutiny (what, they haven’t loaned out enough players?) and the later a part of Nigeria’s Under-17 squad. Not convinced how either could be better than Giuseppe Rossi?

Best Defenders In Europe

What is the strongest defensive pairing in Europe currently? Go ahead – find me a two-some as reliable and defiant as Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. I’m biased, I admit, but as an exercise, let’s list other central defensive pairings who might be able to do better. Not Gallas and Toure, not on current form. Terry and Carvalho are too injured and without Makelele’s covering they’re more vulnerable (and even fit, I wouldn’t rate them above this pair – equal perhaps). Agger and Carragher are helped way too much by their defensive midfield. United’s midfield have been a complete mess, but they still boast a fantastic defensive record (so far, I probably shouldn’t push it too much, eh?).

What about elsewhere in Europe?

Gibson off to Wolves till January

Carrick’s injured. Hargreaves is injured. Fletcher is injured. Park is injured.

United have Scholes and Anderson as their only fit central midfielders – and while this pairing might have worked against Wigan at Old Trafford, it won’t work elsewhere. O’Shea is an able deputy but not someone I want playing regularly. That leaves us with promoting someone from within the ranks, the first name on the list is Darron Gibson.

Sure, he has a toe injury (or something), but hopefully he should be fit before the end of the month and at the very least, he could be eased into the squad the way Pique is being eased in at the moment. No Carling Cup probably means that a lot of the kids are going to go out, but somehow I feel we could have used some young legs in midfield, especially seeing how long Hargo has been out with injury.

However, Gibson is off to Wolves – hopefully he won’t go the way of David Jones.

Lee Martin has already left, Evans is on the radar for several clubs and Chris Eagles, like Simpson and Pique, looks like he’s going to stay.

I wonder what they’ll do with Dong?

Neville to play for Reserves today

The skipper is supposed to take part in a reserves game today to get some match practice under his belt. Don’t see how he’ll improve the team at the moment to be honest (in playing terms) because Brown is an able deputy and Rio has grown as a leader on the pitch. Nev is still a top player and professional and it would be good to have him back in the squad.

Fifa World Player Of The Year Awards

Tevez, Rooney and Ronaldo have been nominated from the Manchester United camp. Ronaldo has the best chance of them all, although I think Kaka will probably pip him to it (just because of the CL and the whole ‘diving’ thing). Some big names aren’t in the list, although from United’s ranks the only other person I would’ve nominated would’ve been Rio.

Want to write about Manchester United?

Just a heads up for potential bloggers here – if you’d like to write about Manchester United on a semi-regular basis, please head over to ‘this page‘ and send in your entry. There are four days left and if anyone from here does well, then they might get a shot at a regular (non-paying) gig either on Soccerlens or here on Red Rants.

Besides…what else are you going to do during the international break?