Obertan Joins Newcastle

Au Revoir Gabby

Just two years after coming to Manchester United from Bordeaux, Gabriel Obertan has been sold to Newcastle for a fee believed to be around the same as we paid for him (around £3million).

I must admit, I had a soft spot for Obertan and I thought there was some potential there, unfortunately, it did appear to be the case that the step-up to full “United standard” was just beyond the young Frenchman although he did put in some impressive shifts for the Reserves on occasion.

Also, I suspect his age has just gone against him as he is now 22 and clearly his slot in the squad which already features wide players like Nani, Valencia and Young (and throw in Park and Welbeck, too, I suppose) could not be justified with the squad limits imposed on players over 21 years of age.

Still, I think he’ll do well at Newcastle and I’ll be looking forward to seeing plenty more of him as he’ll clearly get more first team opportunities there and I’d like to wish him all the very best – just sorry it didn’t work out for him at United.

Bye Bye Brown

I suppose it was inevitable that with all the signings coming in, there would be some departures this summer and the first one to be confirmed is Wes Brown.

Wes has been with the club for almost twenty years and it must have been with a heavy heart that he finally accepted that it was time to move on having made just fifteen appearances for us last season.

I’ve always been a big fan of Brown’s and I remember when he first burst into the senior side and how everyone was calling him “The Iceman” because he seemed so cool and composed in defence but then I seem to remember him knocking in a couple of own goals in, I think, successive matches and this seemed to knock him back a bit.

A string of injuries at one stage also disrupted his career somewhat but he always seemed to bounce back as good as ever.

I think his best season was the 2007/08 season when an injury to Gary Neville meant that Brown was almost ever-present at right-back. That was, of course, the season where Ronaldo was getting all the spotlight but had it not been for Ronaldo’s stunning goalscoring that season, Brown may well have been named player of the season.

Anyway, I hope that Brown goes on to have a good few years at his new club, Sunderland. It looks very much like John O’Shea will be joining him and so it is going to be very strange when we play them this coming season if they’re picked against us.

All the best Wes, thanks for the memories!

UPDATE: Shortly after completing this post, it was announced that John O’Shea has also signed a four year deal with Sunderland. Same applies – all the best John and good luck for the future. O’Shea’s best moment? Nutmegging Figo has to be up there!

Diouf to Blackburn

As mentioned the other day, Diouf has gone out on loan to Blackburn with Alex Ferguson also confirming that Danny Welbeck will also be loaned out.

Tom Cleverley was the other name mentioned but Fergie has confirmed that he will be staying at United this season and is clearly a part of the first team plans for the coming season.

I think this pretty much puts a lid on the subject of further purchases being made this summer.

United, of course, take on Chelsea tomorrow in the Community Shield and I’ll be doing my usual preview of the match tomorrow morning.

Tosic Joins CSKA Moscow

Zoran Tosic

One of the strangest United careers in history was finally brought to an end today as it was revealed that Zoran Tosic has joined CSKA Moscow for a reported £8million.

I could never understand why we signed Tosic in the first place because Fergie has continually overlooked him since he arrived (I think he only made two appearances for the first team and I don’t think either of those were starts).

He played several times for the reserves though and looked more than good enough to have been given more of a chance in the first team than he was ever given. When you consider the amount of chances the likes of Nani and Berbatov have been given to “come good”, it’s all the more baffling.

Oh well. He’s gone now and it seems like a good move for the lad. I just hope it doesn’t come back to haunt us at some point in the future because I think he’s got great potential.

Another case of the face not fitting, it seems.

Watch Foster Go

Ben Foster

It looks like the first bit of transfer news coming from Old Trafford is going to be the outgoing Ben Foster to Birmingham.

We were, of course, hoping for a bit more exciting news of incoming transfers but all we have had so far is the usual gossipy rumoury stuff in the tabloids.

The news of Ben Foster’s imminent departure (even when it was little more than speculation) has brought out a mixed response from the United supporters.

Some feel that he was a good keeper who should have been given a bit more time. Perhaps a loan move to get him more experience.

Personally, I don’t think either of these would have made much difference to Ben Foster as a Manchester United player.

He is 27 years old and whilst that isn’t old by goalkeeper standards, he isn’t exactly spring chicken material either – time is not something neither he nor we can offer any more.

As for the loan suggestion, well, Ben Foster has almost exclusively spent his entire professional career on loan at one club or another and has tended to do well. We could have sent him on loan again, he would have done well and then we bring him back and the same old rookie mistakes would still be made.

And this is why I believe a move to Birmingham is a win-win for all concerned. Ben will get plenty of action, Birmingham get a very good goalkeeper and we get a decent return on the investment we made in Foster five years ago.

I believe that Foster’s problems are not his goalkeeping ability but that he is not mentally strong enough to hold such an important role at Manchester United. United’s record with goalkeepers over the years suggests that this is not something unique to Ben Foster. More experienced goalkeepers than Foster have wilted under the pressure the role brings with it.

The one mistake Foster made this season that proved to me more than any other that he goes to pieces playing in the “big” United games came during our first match against City. The ball was rolling roughly towards his area but it was rolling very slowly. Everybody could see that it wasn’t going to make it and Tevez gave chase. Foster still waited and waited and then when he realised he wasn’t going to be able to pick it up, he tried to take Tevez on but Tevez won the ball and passed to Gareth Barry to pass into an open net.

On his MUTV show, Paddy Crerand (who will never say a bad word against any United player) said that it was all part of the learning process and that he would “learn from that”. Well, I’m sorry but that kind of thing would have had an Under 12 team coach shaking his head in despair. Ben Foster should have kicked the ball downfield or out for a throw-in and he had plenty of time to do so.

He didn’t do that because of a lack of experience or goalkeeping knowledge, he did it because his brain turns to jelly under the intense pressure of playing at OT in a massive Manchester Derby in front of 70,000 people. If that was a Reserve game, he would have blasted the ball downfield no problem.

I think Ben Foster removed from this cauldron of high pressure will be a completely different keeper. If not exactly a Big Fish, Small Pond scenario he will certainly find that he fits his new environment more comfortably.

What this will probably lead to is some very good performances from Ben Foster and just for the record, I am going to get my defence of Alex Ferguson’s decision to sell him in before the inevitable attacks.

Twelve months from now, some people will be saying that it was a mistake to sell Foster and how he has “proved Fergie’s decision to sell him wrong” and it has been “another case of bad judgement from Fergie”.

When these comments inevitably arise they will all have missed the point.

Manchester United goalkeeper was too big a job for Ben Foster and whenever he was given the chance to prove otherwise he only made the truth even more obvious.

Youngsters Out On Loan

Two young United players made loan moves today.

19 year old Midfielder, Danny Drinkwater has been at United since he was 9 or 10 but has yet to make his first-team debut and has today moved to Huddersfield on a season-long loan.

Meanwhile, 22 year old defender Danny Simpson has moved to Newcastle on loan until the end of the year and could well feature in their League game against Reading tomorrow.

Campbell Signs for Sunderland

Fraizer Campbell Joins Sunderland

Fraizer Campbell Joins Sunderland

Fraizer Campbell has joined Steve Bruce’s Sunderland on a four year contract.

United will receive an initial £3.5 Million which could rise to £6 Million should various criteria be met, details of which are a little hard to find but I hope they don’t include Sunderland qualifying for the Champions League!

Campbell is Bruce’s first signing for Sunderland and it looks like a decent one to me.

Fraizer himself had this to say, “Sunderland are a massive club with great ambition and I have a really good gut feeling about this move.

All the best Fraizer.

United Accept £80 Million Bid for Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

The most tedious and long-running transfer saga of the 21st Century finally looks set to be concluded in the next couple of weeks as Manchester United have given Real Madrid permission to speak to Cristiano Ronaldo following an £80 Million offer for the player.

The Manchester United website contained the following statement this morning:-

Manchester United have received a world-record, unconditional offer of £80million for Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid.”

At Cristiano’s request – who has again expressed his desire to leave – and after discussion with the player’s representatives, United have agreed to give Real Madrid permission to talk to the player.”

Matters are expected to be concluded by 30 June. The club will not comment until further notice.”

Transfer activity at Manchester United has been virtually non-existent since the end of the season but perhaps that is all about to change – things are getting interesting!