For all the success during his spell at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson wasn’t without his flaws. Whether it was deflecting blame from his players, picking on referees or not talking to journalists who questioned his ways, the Scot wasn’t completely a saint at all. Whilst the aforementioned flaws were mostly due to his competitive spirit, another main flaw emerged during the latter part of his reign.Fabregas
While David Moyes was partly at fault for Manchester United’s disastrous season, part of the blame should also be attributed to his predecessor. After all, it was Sir Alex who left Moyes with a squad that was threadbare in central midfield. And whilst most of it was Moyes’ fault, Sir Alex’s insistence of not signing adequate replacements in central midfield is what cost United dear.
Since the departure of Roy Keane, Sir Alex signed just three central midfielders, of which only one has been able to hold down a regular berth in the starting XI. Anderson and Hargreaves, who were the other two midfielders signed during that period, flattered to deceive and it was only Carrick who really stood. And last season, even he looked like he was getting on.
So, as it stands, United go into a new season, with plenty of excitement, a new manager, but with a central midfield that just one world class player, but even he is moving towards the end of the career. So rumors that Cesc Fabregas might be on his way to Old Trafford is something that is sure to please most United fans.
So, where does he fit in? Is he right choice? And, is it worth to splash huge cash on him? Before we get into the first two questions, let us look at the last one. Having signed Mata, for about the same price in January, United know all too well, the cost of world class midfielders in their prime. And at 27, Fabregas is well and truly in his prime and with a buyout clause in his contract for the aforementioned amount and the club wanting him out, it certainly seems like a no-brainer.
Especially so, since the Spaniard will bring something to the table that United have lacked for so long. Goals from central midfield. In Rooney and Van Persie, United certainly have two of the League’s best forwards, but goals have been hard to come by, especially from midfield. Not since Paul Scholes in his prime, have the Red Devils had a goal scoring central midfielder and Fabregas will bring along with him that goal scoring touch that has been sorely lacking in United’s midfield. Even in what some perceive to be a disappointing season, the Spaniard managed 13 goals and 16 assists, more than the entire United midfield combined.
Another reason why Barcelona star would be perfect is his tactical flexibility. Given Van Gaal’s penchant for a 4-3-3 and United’s tradition of playing 4-4-2, the club are in dire need of a midfielder who can play just as easily in both systems. There are very few players who can do that and Fabregas is one of them. He is equally capable of playing as an attacking midfielder or as a central midfielder, who bombs forward to attack.
Not only that, as he proved with Arsenal early in his career, the Spaniard is capable of leading the charge from midfield and providing the impetus going forward. One thing United have sorely lacked is leaders in midfield and as good as Carrick is, the Englishman is, was and never will be a strong and charismatic leader. But, the World Cup and European Champion Fabregas can certainly do that provide the spark that United have been desperately lacking, from central midfield.
Fabregas’ intelligence on the ball, eye for a pass and ability to be at the right place at the right time will prove to be integral to United’s chances as the club look to get back to where they rightfully belong. With the news emerging that Arsenal don’t really have the first option on him, the door is certainly wide open for Manchester United.
With the promise of regular first-team football in his favorite position and a new manager at the helm, United certainly hold all the cards. If they match Fabregas’ buyout clause then United will finally plug a gaping hole in central midfield that has been looming large since the departure of Keane and the retirement of Scholes.