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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dutch Migration to Manchester?

           Perhaps the two biggest headlines of this summer’s transfer window so far are Real Madrid’s revival of Los Galacticos and Manchester United’s inability to sign a big name to fill the voids left in their squad by the departures of Christiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez.  Interestingly enough, though, Real’s ridiculous spending spree leaves them with a handful of players who can only figure that their spots at the Bernabéu have been taken by new signings Kaka, Christiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema.  With the exception of Raul and Gonzalo Higuain, both of whom are unlikely to leave Spain, in the 2008-2009 campaign Real fielded nearly an all-Dutch attacking unit consisting of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Rafael van der Vaart, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wesley Sneijder, and Arjen Robben.  Coincidentally, Manchester United needs attackers and at least a few of these five Dutchmen need new homes.

            Most notably among this list are Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben.  With Ronaldo gone, the United line up is lacking creativity on the wings, something Sneijder and Robben could very well provide.  Wingers currently on the Manchester United roster include Park Ji-Sung, Nani, Ryan Giggs, and new signing Antonio Valencia.  However, with Giggs taking on more of a central role as of late and Nani having been offered to Atlético Madrid in attempt to lure Sergio Aguero to Old Trafford, Sir Alex cannot think that Valencia and Park will be the ones to will his side to another EPL championship.  It also seems unclear at this point whether United will line up in a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3 this upcoming season.  If the Red Devils were to sign one of these Dutchmen, Sneijder or Robben, each player’s flexibility would allow him to flourish in either system.

            It appears that United are also looking to sign another striker.  (Wait, I though Michael Owen was the savior?)  Yet, it seems unlikely that Aguero would leave Spain and if reports that link Inter Milan front man Zlatan Ibrahimovic prove false, as they most likely will, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar could certainly be a viable option.  After transferring from Ajax to Real Madrid just last January, Huntelaar has proven he can not only succeed at the highest level, but also that he can quickly adapt to a new league, scoring eight goals in just half a season with Real.

            At this point with no Ronaldo, no Tevez, and no big summer signings, Manchester United supporters have reason to be concerned.  Yet, should they sign one of Real’s Dutch outcasts, things at Old Trafford might just be alright.

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