A report emerged on Thursday morning that Manchester United were lining up a move for Carlos Tevez. And while that report probably has even less in its legs than the 35-year-old, plenty of United’s former band members would definitely improve this current team. Here are five of them…
United have been short of a scapegoat this year. It was Fred for a while, but actually he’s been less shit than a lot of them. Last season of course it was Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgium international did not have a particularly good time at Old Trafford and some of the criticism was merited. But he seemed to be tarnished by the United DNA brush more than almost anyone before him. ‘He’s not a Manchester United striker’ was the classic line bandied around as all awareness of where United were and are as a club was completely ignored. He’s not Andy Cole, Ruud van Nistelrooy or Wayne Rooney, but those were title-winning strikers.
“If you’ve been doing your recruitment right you wouldnt have to rely on kids.”
“How have you let Lukaku go and Sanchez go? And not have anyone to replace them…Martial flatters to deceive.”@petercrouch and @rioferdy5 have not been impressed by transfers at Old Trafford 😡 pic.twitter.com/ZoCOEWxFPU
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 22, 2020
But as the board, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the fans are now desperate to remind us, United are no longer chasing a title. Which may have been worth realising six months ago, when they still had the striker that scored a brace against their latest conquerors Burnley on their books.
Allowing Herrera to leave for nothing in the summer is a baffling bit of business, even by United’s standards. Particularly when he started nearly half their Premier League games, and particularly particularly when they made no real effort to replace him.
The Spaniard had the highest pass percentage (95.1%) and made the most tackles (3.7 per 90) of any United player in the Premier League last season. And when Herrera has been fit for his new club, Paris Saint-Germain, he has played, largely because he’s a pretty good midfielder. Often ahead of Leandro Paredes, who has of course been linked with a big-money move to United.
Angel Di Maria
Di Maria started his United career on fire, with three goals and six assists in the opening 12 games of the 2013/14 season. But it wasn’t long before the United virus took over the cells of his being and altered his near-perfect Real Madrid genetic code to the faulty United DNA, crushing his soul and dissolving any confidence he had brought with him from Los Blancos. The Argentinian couldn’t wait to leave after the United fans had completely turned on him by the end of his solitary season at Old Trafford. And Di Maria has gone on to prove, season after season with PSG, that he’s a world-class footballer, just as he did before his one-year blip in Manchester.
Don’t think you’ll need a professional lip reader to decipher what Angel Di María shouted at the United fans during the goal celebrations 🤬 pic.twitter.com/mYLUk0JxSp
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) February 12, 2019
Zaha played 28 minutes of Premier League football for United after Ferguson signed him in January 2013, before they sold him back to Crystal Palace for a third of that price. The suggestion at the time was that he wasn’t ready for such a big club and after a relatively lean loan move to a Solskjaer-managed Cardiff City, the Red Devils gave up on him. Reports earlier this season suggest United are preparing a ‘£70million-plus’ move to bring Zaha back in the summer. Whoops.
Sir Alex Ferguson described Evans as “the best defender in the country” in 2012 and was stunned when Louis van Gaal let him go to West Brom in 2015. Leicester have conceded 24 goals with Evans and Caglar Soyuncu as their centre-backs this season, five less than United, who have former Foxes man Harry Maguire now as their captain. The Foxes made one of the best decisions of the season.
Maguire has had a decent debut season at Old Trafford in very challenging circumstances and must – at least occasionally – look on longingly at his Leicester team-mates playing great football and receiving little more than a shrug of the shoulders if they lose a game. But they don’t lose often, and that is in no small part down to Evans, who consistently plays slightly worse than Maguire at his very best.
Will Ford is on Twitter