Between the Lines

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

Archive for May, 2010

The Unofficial Summer Shopping List

Posted by hakanrylander on May 19, 2010

You don’t need to be an expert in neither football nor finance to read between the lines this morning. In “unrelated”(!?) developments the Glazers face an interest rate hike on the already costly PIK-loans, while Sir Alex claims that he’s happy with the balance of the squad and that there may be only one signing this summer. The rate hike increases the pressure on the Glazers to take even more money out of United to pay off the loans. This in turn means that the transfer budget for this summer will be even tighter than most of us anticipated. I expected Ferguson to make two important signings, but my summer shopping list has now been revised to include just one name.

Goalkeeper. There’s no question that we soon need a long-term replacement for Edwin van der Sar, but this won’t happen this summer and I think we’re allright for next season with VDS, Kuszczak and Amos. My only concern is that my prefered choice to replace VDS, Manuel Neuer, will move to Bayern Munich if we don’t snap him up this summer.

Defence. No desperate need for new signings even if I would love a world-class right-back (Lahm, Maicon) and some doubts remain about the fitness of Ferdinand and Vidic’s (wife’s) attitude to life in Manchester.

Midfield. Scholes and Giggs surely enter their last season and there are plenty of questionmarks over Hargreaves, Anderson and Carrick. This means that if money was available we should go for Jack Rodwell. I believe he will be a key player for England in the next decade. A perfect long-term signing, but if the owners only allow one new player it will have to be someone who will offer more immediate support for Rooney.

Attack. Ideally, the player we look for should be able to play alongside Rooney, just behind him as well as wide. And also be able to play up front when Rooney is missing. He also needs to be both goalscorer and playmaker, and be good enough to really make a difference, in short world-class. This, of course, limits the choice somewhat and takes us into a price-bracket where the Glazers might not be at all comfortable. I believe that the player who best fits this description, and might be available, is Sergio Aguero of Atletico Madrid. You have an opportunity to scout him in the Spanish Cup Final tonight.

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Negotiations have started

Posted by hakanrylander on May 7, 2010

Yesterday all three of my favourite newspapers (Guardian, Telegraph and The Times) were contacted by “a source close to the Glazers” and told that the family have rejected numerous offers for the club. One of those offers amounted to £1.5 billion from a Middle Eastern bidder. The source also insisted that the family is not interested in selling “at any price”.

This is of course rubbish. In the world of business all assets are for sale at a price. The only exceptions are cases where there is a strong emotional bond between owners and asset. I don’t believe for a minute that such a bond exists between the Glazers and Manchester United. If anything, the coordinated leak proves that the Glazers are indeed prepared to sell and have started public negotiations by indicating that they will want a lot more that £1.5 billion.

The rejection of a seemingly generous offer of £1.5 billion has been interpreted as stubborness. I think it’s got more to do with business logic. The family seem convinced, rightly in my view, that the club’s income could soar in the next decade by developments such as individual TV-deals for the big clubs, a European Super League, new broadband-based ways of selling the “product” etc.

My estimate (well, “guess” is probably a more appropriate word tbh) is that it will take a bid in excess of £2 billion to convince the Glazers to sell. I don’t think the Red Knights are prepared to pay that much. But someone in the Middle East or China might be. I look upon today’s stories in the Guardian, the Telegraph and The Times as the Glazers’ opening gambit to those potential buyers.

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