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United’s Tongue Twisting Duo and What they Mean

It is true. United have signed Serbian duo Zoran Tosic and Adem Ljajic from Partizan Belgrade. Try saying Tosic-Ljajic in quick succession. If you manage to say it right ten times then gift yourself a pint (and think of me while you down said pint) from your local.

Oh — and I am deeply sorry to have forgotten this — a very, very happy, albeit belated, new year to all our readers. I have been too caught up in New Year festivities to find time to post — although I suppose I shouldn’t be wasting space with another long winded excuse for not posting.

Right, so United seem to be among the first movers during the January transfer window. In the current weak economic climate the Glazers have shown that they are willing to back the manager on signings, if they need to be made, even when we have won consecutive premiership titles and are defending European and World club champions. This is a good sign and, while worries persist over the effect of global slowdown on English football, the Glazers have shown that they are willing to spend whenever asked. There is precious little that can be weaned from the goings on in the Manchester United boardroom these days, so we have to take help of signs like these to form our opinions. Therefore my take is this: I am not aware of how strong the Glazers are financially and how much the downturn has affected them, but I don’t think that has affected the way they’ve backed the club in terms of transfers.

We must, at this point, acknowledge that David Gill and co continue to run the club magnificently well and are, in no small part, among the reasons why the Glazers have left the footballing stuff to the footballing people. [Yes, yes, I do say this with my non-typing body parts touching big portions of wood.]

Tosic, is a left winger and 21. Immediately one would think Ryan Giggs. As the man looks to wind down his playing career, the think tank needs to look to the future and this is where Tosic would figure. However, his addition would also interest some other players in the squad — not the least, Nani.

The Portuguese winger has had an underwhelming season by most counts, although his biggest advocates would point to the way he’s been used by Fergie. However, extended game time or not, there has been a clear sign of the Portuguese winger regressing this season. Most of all, his lack of decision making is a big downer, considering his undeniable talent. Tosic’s addition presents the first genuine young threat to his position on the left wing and it will be interesting to see how he handles this new pressure to perform.

He has time, though. It is unlikely that Tosic would be thrown in right away, as would be expected from January signings that are not injury enforced. And if this Serbian lad ends up showing real value for money, the Portuguese lad will have his job cut out for him.

Park, on the other hand, would have to continue doing what he’s already been doing: work hard, impress in training, fill in when needed, and such like. It’s a harsh position to be in, despite his efforts over the years, but while his work rate and energy is unrivalled, his lack of improvement on his attacking attributes will always force people to view him none more than a very good squad player.

Adem Ljajic — about whom I know very little apart from his being hailed as the most promising among the current Serbian crop of youngsters — is an attacking midfielder [presumably of the Kaka mould]. He would naturally attract further attention to the Serbian Premier Division as he’ll join the club next season. It is believed that staying at Partizan for the rest of this season would be to his benefit, considering our packed midfield. Which leads us to another interesting discussion.

If he is, in fact, the next Kaka — which I doubt for no logical reason other than my cynicism over media hyperbole — the manager will be left with a few big decisions to make. But let’s not go there. Let’s just suppose, for sake of realism, that he is more than decent for his age (17). Then how will our midfield look in, say, two years’ time? Will Anderson grow into a very good box-to-box player? Will Possebon become the next Pirlo? Would Hargreaves make a strong return on the pitch? Where will that leave the likes of Carrick? How will emergence of such talent in midfield force whoever’s at the helm to make tactical adjustments so that the team won’t skip a beat? I think it’s too early to be talking about all this, because I think for Ljajic’s age, he will be eased onto the big stage like we’ve nursed other youngsters in the past. For now it’s just idle discussion and dreaming, but nonetheless, there is something to talk about no?

Anyway, that’s your lot for now. Happy debating. Before I sign off though, here’s something to spend money on this festive season. “John Terry Banana Skins