Between the Lines

"Of all unimportant subjects, football is the most important" – Pope John Paul II

The Ljajic Deal: Penny Pinching or Smart Allocation of Resources?

Posted by hakanrylander on December 3, 2009

United today backed out of the agreement to sign 18-year-old Serbia Under-21 international Adem Ljajic, otherwise known as “Little Kaka”. The official explanation is that “having closely monitored his development over the past 12 months” the club has chosen not to pursue the transfer.

I have no first hand opinion on Ljajic’s development over the past 12 months and would welcome any input from Serbian readers. But the collapsed deal of course raises questions whether the Glazers have told Ferguson that there is little or no money to spend, and if this in turn indicates that the club and its owners are heading towards a financial crisis.

I do, however, believe that the main reason for opting out of the deal is that Ferguson has other major plans in the transfer market. Over the last few months it might have dawned on him that the he needs to sign a world-class goalscorer (Dzeko?) a goalkeeper (Neuer?) and, considering the different kind of question marks over Ferdinand and Vidic, a central defender (Rodwell?). This would add up to a very substantial outlay. In parallell the development of some of the youngsters already at the club might have made it seem less urgent to bring in another promising teenager (apart from Rodwell, that is…).

The Glazers, by all accounts, can pinch pennies with the best of them, but I don´t believe the Ljajic deal is an example of this. I think it looks more like a smart allocation of resources, having identified more pressing needs.

I hope Ljajic has a successful career ahead of him. But I will probably be disappointed if he does indeed become the next Kaka.

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One Response to “The Ljajic Deal: Penny Pinching or Smart Allocation of Resources?”

  1. The Brain said

    Hi. Good post. I’m always intrigued by United’s transfer dealings as most of the time to strike me as very confused. What do they want exactly as a lot of times, they already have similar players in that position.

    It reminds me of an interview with Arsenal’s Spanish scout Francis Cagigao in El Pais who said United like to buy functional players that fit in to their side in the organisational and tactical aspect. Physicality plays a bigger part nowadays. They missed out on Zidane as Sir Alex wanted him to play left mid but didn’t think he could. The talent lay in him playing with individual expression. He’s a fan of Modric now but I bet his scouts never saw him adapt to left midfield as he has for Spurs now.

    It doesn’t look like they’ve missed much with Ljajic although there’s time on his hands. But what is obvious is that they need some sort of creative difference such as against Chelsea; but would that have fitted in to what Fergie wants?

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