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United are in transition, should we be worried?

Siddarth Sunday, October 10, 2010
Manchester United is clearly a team in transition, as one golden generation retires, a new one gets ready to take over, but should the fans be worried? As the team shifts from one period to another, will we be able cope?

These days most of us would associate the terms “transition” and “football” with Arsenal, who were supposed to be in transition over the last few seasons and still are. Though I don’t think they are a team in transistion, since Arsene Wenger basically rebuilt the team from scratch, I don’t think any player who was a regular during the early half of the decade is still playing for the gunners and most of the players are either new signings or from their academy.

United are also in transition currently, Chelsea will also be in the next few years, as the legends and the key players start to retire or move on, the younger generation start to replace them, but what makes United’s case different from Arsenal?

Well, for one United have experienced players who are still in their mid to late 20’s and early 30’s like Fletcher, Rooney, Carrick, Berbatov, O’Shea, Vidic, Evra, Owen, etc. who will be there to help the younger generation settle in at the club, something Arsenal sorely missed as Wenger basically injected the team with youth and very few veterans, none of who were at the club for a significant period of time.

With Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Edwin Van Der Sar sure to retire within the next few seasons, also Rio Ferdinand injury prone and in his 30’s,the team will lose some of its best players soon.
We have youngsters such as Rafael, Fabio, Gibson, Cleverley, Macheda, Hernandez, Obertan, Bebe and Smalling trying their best to prove that they are capable of fulfilling the void left by the departure of these legends, but Sir Alex knows that he can’t expect the youngsters to suddenly burst onto the scene and adjust to the first team, and when they do play, they require guidance and advice form the experienced guys both on and off the pitch. So he’s smart to aloow them to gradually adjust to the first team squad over a season or two.

Sir Alex’s toughest task will be to replace Edwin Van Der Sar, the fact that it took United, almost 6-7 years to replace Peter Schmeichel, during which we saw some of the worst Goalkeepers ever to play at Old Trafford, is worrying, Hopefully this time we can avoid such turmoil at the back. With United already being linked to David De Gea, Manuel Neuer and others, it seems that we won’t make the same mistake that we did last time.

Another player who will need to be replaced is Paul Scholes, though possibly irreplaceable, a player like Scholes is very rare to find, his nearest comparison would be to Xavi. The best we can expect is that Sir Alex can find someone who can do a good job. Thankfully, the emergence of Rafael and resurgence of Nani has meant that Neville and Giggs have capable deputies and have the positions covered.

The next few seasons could be a tough time for the club and a huge test for the players, but if anyone thinks we might become Arsenal then they can rest assured that we won’t be going down that path anytime soon. We have a solid foundation in players who have sufficient experience and can be depended to help the younger generation bed in. So I wouldn’t waste any sleep over us in transition, etc. It’s a phase every club has to go through and it seems we will pass this phase without much problems.

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