There is media which one can have some faith in and then there are the rags. Rightly or wrongly, the Guardian is one outlet which has built up more credibility than most so when the following article appeared in their weekend edition it was difficult to ignore completely. The comment which must have raised most eyebrows was the one that Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was “particularly ambiguous when he was asked directly, on four occasions, whether it was true the deposed Premier League champions were after the man who helped to eliminate England from the World Cup.”
The report was obviously referring to 21 year old Mesut Ozil who so many United fans see as the perfect answer to Ferguson’s midfield problems. If such a report had appeared in one of the many rumour mongering tabloids it would have been dismissed out of hand but the Guardian story somehow had a touch of authenticity. When Sir Alex was reported to have “deflected questions” by simply saying “a lot of clubs are interested in Ozil” followed by his often repeated lines that he is “happy with the squad” and “did not need to add to it”, one could sense a hint of double speak.
Ferguson’s explanation that his visit to Craven Cottage were Ozil made an appearance in a pre season friendly was for no other reason than to check on United’s opponents later this month may have been plausible enough if it was not for the fact that “it is rare these days for Ferguson to watch United’s opponents” as the report correctly pointed out “he usually leaves it to his scouts to compile reports for him and when he was asked to clarify if the club would make a bid, there was another oblique answer “I didn’t say that” was his first response, followed by “I don’t know.”
Nobody can be critical of Sir Alex if he’s simply being cautious about revealing whatever plans he may have to his rivals, he has been around long enough to know precisely how the transfer game is played. Irrespective of the final outcome, all should be revealed within a matter of days with Werder Bremen scheduled to face Sampdoria in a Champions League qualifying tie next week. If Ozil is omitted from the Bremen squad it will be a clear indication that the player is on the verge of a move elsewhere. The only question remaining will be that of his destination.
Ferguson is concerned about Chelsea moving in for the German and hijacking any deal that he may be considering which might explain his reluctance to be drawn further on the issue. Ozil was one of the outstanding performers in the recent World Cup and is available for a fraction of his true valuation because he is in the last year of his contract with Bremen meaning that the Bundesliga club risk losing him on a free transfer next summer.
Even though the highly rated midfielder is available on the cheap, Ferguson still needs to convince the Glazer family of the player’s worth at a time when United are beset by financial issues. Both Sir Alex and club CEO David Gill have repeated time and again that funds are available for any major signing the manager sees fit to make and to be fair to the Glazers, there has never been any suggestion that they have ever stood in the way of allowing him to follow his judgement.
It has to be admitted that the longer the summer goes without Ferguson bringing anyone to Old Trafford, the stronger the feeling becomes that no signings will be made. This report however goes a long way towards reigniting the possibility that at least one new face could be on the way.
Have you given up all hope of Ferguson making a new signing this summer?