July 31, 2006

Carrick: The £18.6m peg for a Roy Keane shaped hole?

So has Fergie finally lost it? He spends months moaning about a lack of cash and then blows the best part of £20m on a player who has virtually no track record. Okay, so maybe that is a bit harsh. Carrick is a very good player. He was a consistent performer for Tottenham last season, however for £20m surely you want more than 'very good'? Before last season Carrick had hardly been a star performer. Indeed two years ago Tottenham were the only side willing to risk £2.75m on him.

Obviously he has improved immeasurably since joining Spurs, however it has to be said that nobody really seems to know what sort of player he is. Fergie has seemingly bought Carrick to fill the void left by Roy Keane and as such must surely view him as a defensive midfielder. However I've seen him described as a playermaker, a midfield anchor, an attacking midfielder, a sitter and more besides. And the reason for this is relatively simple – he does all these things, which is why he is a good player. But does he do anyone of these roles well enough to help United?

Fergie is constantly harping on about a lack of midfield balance in his side. After all Park and Giggs (as he used on some occasions last season) is hardly ideal an ideal centre mid combo. However with Carrick he may have bought himself a £20m headache. How will he play him?

In my opinion to get the best out of their investment United will have to buy another defensive midfielder (like Davids at Spurs) to play alongside Carrick and encourage him to be generally more offensive. Certainly not the most direct way to replace the great Irishman, but then Fergie is the man who built the legendary Beckham/Keane/Scholes/Giggs midfield of the late 1990s so he, of anyone, should know what he is doing.

I hope it works out, I'm just not too sure it will.

- 12 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. I'll probably be proved horrifically wrong, but I'm smelling another Veron. Complete waste of money.

    31 Jul 2006, 21:33

  2. I think a bit too much is being made of the fee - only Spurs have publicly commented on it up to now, and they have every right to try to maximise it. The “total consideration” of the fee could rise to £18.6m – but United have paid that no more than, say, Arsenal paid £17.5m for Reyes or £12m for Theo Walcott [or indeed, Real Madrid £25m for Beckham]. It’s meant to be more like £13m up front and £5+ in add-ons—they’ve still paid way over the odds [they’re desperate] but the fee isn’t so jaw-dropping as it’s been made to sound by those who’re doing the selling.

    01 Aug 2006, 08:36

  3. Allan Smith

    What I don’t get is that Spurs have successfully offloaded a player after buying Didier Zokora for less than half the price – Zokora being far more suited to the ‘new Keane’ role. Why Utd didn’t go for him more is beyond me.

    Carrick’s good, but I don’t think you’ll ever see him do anything like Keane against Juventus in 1999.

    01 Aug 2006, 10:06

  4. I’m not too sure whether this will come off for United.. might well do if they sign Patrick Vieira as well, as that would be a solid signing and would easily shore up the midfield.

    I’ve got a feeling that selling Ruud van will come back and kick Fergie in the teeth. Much as I hate Horseface, his goalscoring rate is incredible.

    I tell you what United should do this season – play Alan Smith (ex-Leeds, not the above) up front and stop trying to turn him into the next Keane.

    01 Aug 2006, 15:45

  5. Allan Smith

    Although I wouldn’t mind trying to be the next Keane if needed. Criticising Utd fans and team-mates, and attacking Norwegians? I could try, at least.

    01 Aug 2006, 15:48

  6. Dave Sheffield

    Maybe they could get the ex-Arsenal striker Alan Smith to play?
    Or the ex-Palace and Wycombe (I think) manager Alan Smith?
    Or the short old man from my old church who used to sing in the choir?
    Or Robbie Savage.

    01 Aug 2006, 16:24

  7. Fergie has apparently told Alan Smith he’ll be back up front when he returns.

    01 Aug 2006, 21:07

  8. Good, there’s a big bunch of us been trying to convey that message to SAF for a while. And the £18m isn’t as bad as it appears – initially £11m to Spurs and £2m to West Ham and the rest depending on stuff like wins. Plus we’ve got several million sloshing around from Mikel who never even played for us*. Still, it’s nice to see the press writing Man Utd off again. When we finish second again we can feel smug like last year.

    *Have a nice time on Chelsea’s bench you mercenary.

    01 Aug 2006, 23:12

  9. Allan Smith

    I’ll be pleasantly surprised if Mikel even gets to sit on the subs bench, to be honest.

    Can’t see Kalou getting much of a run out either.

    02 Aug 2006, 10:00

  10. I think since there were 2 gaping holes in midfield at the start of this summer, there’s every chance there’s another one coming, although all I’ve seen of this Senna lad is one decent shot and a foul on Ronaldo from last season…

    02 Aug 2006, 12:28

  11. I wouldnt say that 12 million is too much to pay for Carrick – given that arsenal recently paid the same price for a 17 year old England international who is yet to start a game for either club or country. Carrick impressed me for Spurs last season, and I felt ENgland should have used him more in the World Cup. If we win lots of trophies, then I’m happy to pay the extra (as the price will then rise to 18 million), since you don’t mind paying when you’re winning things. If we have a similar league season to last year, with better Cup runs (especially in Europe), then I think paying 12 million is perfectly reasonable.

    02 Aug 2006, 18:43

  12. Also in response to the very first comment here, Veron didn’t work out because he was actually surplus to requirements – Keane and Scholes were forming the best midfield pairing and it was difficult to fit Veron in. Carrick is different because another midfielder is needed at the moment – United seemed to be lacking in that area last year, often relying on O’Shea and Giggs, and will be lacking even more so if Alan Smith moves back up front.

    Veron was a way better player than Carrick will ever be, but Carrick will fit the team better.

    02 Aug 2006, 18:46

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