By Ben Davies
The media this week has again linked Manchester United with a summer for Valencia’s David Villa.
The story of Villa coming to United or an English Premier League club has been bubbling under the surface all season. Last summer Valencia had financial problems so there was talk of selling one or two of their assets to ease their financial burden. Of course we were linked to Villa a week before we played Valencia in a pre-season friendly.
Other teams linked with a move for Villa are Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City. Liverpool, obviously due to their Spanish connection; Chelsea due to a knee jerk reaction after being knocked out of Champions League by Inter Milan and City… well, who are City not linked with..?
There is no doubting Villa’s quality, arguably he is the best striker in the world and would be a good addition to any squad. He has an International record of 37 goals in 55 games and a club career record of 230 goals in 448 games (a goal every 1.94 games) which any striker or ex-professional in the world will tell you is a phenomenal record.
How will the signing affect the current Man United squad?
With Rooney as the lone striker, United currently play a 4-5-1/4-3-3 formation for the bigger games in the Premier League and Champions League. What will happen to this team set-up with the arrival of Villa? Will United play a 4-4-2 formation for every game? I can’t see Rooney or Villa being happy with a substitute role for the big games. Surely after this season’s goal scoring feats Rooney will not play on the left hand side again.
I don’t see Villa’s arrival a problem for Berbatov. Rightly or wrongly Berbatov seems to accept his substitute role for big games. Will he be happy to slip down the pecking order again? Probably not, but next season I don’t envisage Rooney or Villa playing every game. Both Rooney and Villa will take part in this year’s World Cup. Occasionally, a player competing in a World Cup can struggle to recapture the form and fitness from their previous season. A World Cup can be a mental and physical strain on a player resulting in a lack of freshness throughout the following season. Berbatov’s Bulgaria have failed to qualify for the World Cup, therefore he will have a free summer and should be fully rested for the new season.
Without question there is a place in the squad for Berbatov. In the past we’ve normally had more than the two strikers in the squad and in our most successful season had Cole, Yorke, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Sheringham for example. Berbatov offers something different than Rooney and Villa.
Michael Owen’s situation could be a little dicier. Apparently Owen is interested in extending his current contract to 2012, the question is – are United willing to offer Owen an extension? With a crop of younger strikers knocking at the first team door (Diouf, Macheda and Welbeck), I feel Sir Alex Ferguson will give the opportunity to a younger player to be the fourth choice striker in squad.
What do you think? Yes, to the arrival of Villa or is there no value in signing a 28 year old for £35m+?