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YOU are the manager

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We all come on here and all have a sense of what each other thinks the Mighty Boys in Red should do going forward. But what would you do if you were given the reins of another club? Within the bounds of likely plausibility and with targets already mooted (for instance we all know that United have had an eye on Benzema for a while) what would you do this summer to reshape that side?


I've given "established posters" homework at the bottom of this thread (some considered, some random). If your name isn't amongst then apologies and pick a side. Call me a didactic c*** all you like but as far as I'm concerned it's more fun this way. And it's my party and I'll cry if I want to.


However, I'll take Man United as an opening and play along if you like and don't if you don't.


Manchester United


United are in a really interesting position speaking as impartially as it's possible to do. They are champions and made the European Cup Final but there are questions all over the pitch but they've probably got about 100m to spend.


After Quieroz went the shape seemed to change last year and never quite seemed settled. They can go in any direction tactically with the personnel they have and have the money to do it. Apart from, possibly, the formation which the manager always goes back to: 4-4-2. They don't appear, without Hargreaves, to have a centre midfielder able to play that way. Carrick is a good player but can get overrun. Anderson's ability remains under question though his workrate doesn't. Fletcher is another good player, he'd look a world-beater alongside a Keane, but who that Keane is is a massive question. Scholes and Giggs are both ageing. Further to this they don't appear to have the wide players for a 4-4-2. Both Fletcher and Park could offer balance to a Ronaldo on the opposite flank but now he's gone you would be looking for two Valencias, maybe even two Riberys, to replace him. And two very attacking wingers further places pressure on the centre mid which doesn't have a talismanic midfielder who leads.


So 4-3-3. But that begs the question what to do with Rooney and Berbatov who could make a more orthodox front two. Indeed, there's an argument that Berbatov can't work in a 4-3-3 and that a 4-2-3-1 with Rooney in behind Berbatov would be more dangerous. but again, the question returns about the centre and wide midfielder. Further, the 4-3-3 used against Barcelona in the final was too flat and too often after the first goal became a 4-5-1.


Ferguson's side changed after seeing how Roma used Totti as a theoretical centre forward who played more in behind the invisible man. Ferguson has always stolen from his opponents - one of his big strengths. The side I'd look to steal from on this occasion would be Barcelona. The way Barca lined up against United in the final was fluid but more often than not it appeared to be something like:









Essentially Messi in behind no central striker, able to play with the midfield, sit on the deep-lying midfielder or push on into space. Eto'o and Henry spending much of their time hassling and playing in behind their full backs and cutting in between them and their centre halves. Messi's role had similarities with Totti's around 2006, movement around him and beyond him but him as the focal point.


Neither Rooney nor Berbatov are Messi but both would have the physicality to play that role in this league. This shape also puts less onus on the holding midfielder. United are going to struggle to find a Keane to box to box it in a 4-4-2 but they may be able to find a (almost certainly poorer) Mascherano while the role is one Hargreaves could play if fit and that Carrick could play against poorer sides especially at Old Trafford.


So of the front six the tougher question is who plays the roles of Xabi/Iniesta and Eto'o/Henry. Firstly, were I United manager, I'd have Eto'o. Presuming Tevez goes I'd have Benzema. Looking around 45m for the pair there. Rooney could play either flank cutting inside (more advanced than his role often seems at the moment) but I'd start him in behind where possible. Berbatov makes up the role of the fourth forward, arguably though, he's only able to play where Rooney would start. If the temperament within the squad could stand it I'd add a fifth forward but I doubt very much it could do. Were it able to Higuain from Real would be a decent candidate but I'd shy away from an already established superstar like Villa if Eto'o is already captured. Van Persie is another I'd consider.


Looking back into midfield I'd have a look at Sneijder, Arteta and Modric, certainly sign one and let Scholes go but keep Park and Giggs. Nani to go obviously and I'd say goodbye to Anderson as well. Diminishing returns on both. I'd look to sign someone like Toure from Barcelona but I'd have had scouts out for twelve months looking for the next one, not the current one.


Into defence I'd keep Hargreaves but look at using him right back a little as Raphel still looks to need carrying. Wes Brown is a good defensive full back and I'd get O'Shea back rotating in and out of the left as Evra looked shattered at times. O'Shea may not be quite good enough but it's tough to buy a player simply to cover. The goalkeeper situation is tricky, one on the wane and one who may never be there. Thinking long term I'd give Foster a go. Thinking about going ahead of Liverpool I'd probably stick with v/d Saar or look for someone. That's tricky.


So: Ronaldo (80m), Tevez (nowt), Campbell (6m), Nani (5m), Anderson (8m), Scholes (nowt) all to go.

In: Benzema (30m), Eto'o (15m), Modric (15m), Sneijder (15m), Tourealike (15m) all in with maybe Van Persie if it can be done and afforded.


Squad still seems a little full but it seemed the same way this season and they didn't suffer for it.


Also this has gone on a bit. Don't expect everyone to be as ridiculously verbose as this.

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