116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Monday, July 31, 2006

A Win-Win All Around

Manchester United has signed Michael Carrick, and while some United supporters are a bit uptight about the 18 million pound transfer fee (by some accounts, Man U could have had Carrick two years ago, for significantly less), the move is undoubtedly the right one for the Reds. Fact is, Manchester United, due to their status in the football hierarchy, combined with their desperate need for a holding midfielder, were destined all along to pay an unusually high transfer fee for a player of Carrick's caliber.
Had Man U a stand in midfielder even slightly better than Darren Fletcher (or non-midfielders Alan Smith and John O'Shea) their demand for Carrick would have been lower, along with the transfer fee. As it stands now, the signing of the 25-year-old enables Sir Alex to continue to retool his midfield, with Kieran Richardson likely to play a greater role on the left, and a combination of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs providing enough moxie and guile to threaten defenses from the center, for at least one more year. United fans should then expect the arrival of a new left wing and attacking mid after this season (and they should take heart, considering that the club finished second last year with a lesser squad).
For Carrick, this move represents a chance to prove himself. Like most English players, he had a subpar World Cup, but pointing to his play in Germany alone ignores the fact that he was one of the Premiership's top midfielders last season, and a major reason why Spurs nearly made the Champions League. There is a reason Tottenham was so reluctant to let him go, but Spurs fans needn't get to carried away mourning the loss of their midfield engine. Letting Carrick go allows Tottenham a means to work Didier Zokora into the mix, get Jermaine Jenas on the pitch with more regularity, plus the transfer money will allow them to pursue Stewart Downing, a perfect left-wing compliment to Aaron Lennon's blossoming, right-sided genius (Tottenham claims they aren't pursuing Downing, but that sounds like mere posturing to us). Finally, for United, the sale of Ruud van Nistelrooy means the club isn't money-starved at the moment. With Carrick as their first signing, you can be sure they will pursue a few more options before the window closes. Fear not, United faithful; your team is better than you think.


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9:20 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Seems like a ton for Carrick, but my team spent more than that for Shaun Wright-Phillips, so maybe that's just the going rate for English players.

11:04 PM  

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