Micheal Carrick Described by many a football journo as a mundane, ineffective passer of the ball, Carrick was seen as a luxury buy at the time of his acquisition, but true to form, he was the final piece required for Sir Alex's 3rd title winning squad.His accurate short and long range passing was exactly what was needed to feed the attacking skills of Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez, as he acted as the conduit between defense and attack. His decision making skills, vision and accuracy of passing were of special use to the counterattacking style United favoured in the Champions League, and alongside Hargreaves and Scholes, formed the basis for the 07/08 Champions League victory. He played an instrumental midfield role in United's hat-trick of domestic titles, even chipping in with some vital goals that secured narrow wins.
The last lad from the academy to successfully break into the first team squad, Gibson is without doubt a talented footballer. As most fans remember, he possess a power packed right boot, and is not afraid of shooting from upwards of 20 yards. His passing game is seen by many as a weakness, but is constantly improving. When deployed alongside two other central midfielders, Gibson has shown flashes of inspiration, vision and technical brilliance, a role that he has grown into as he gained experience. Although he is only 23, (central midfielders really only mature and reach the peak of their powers at 25/26) the extent of his potential may not be deemed high enough to warrant a place in next seasons squad.
Having completed 5 trophy laden years at United, rumours surround the world's number 1 left back's future at the club, with stories appearing in both the broadsheets and the tabloids that he may yet seek pastures new in search of a fresh start and a different challenge. Having won a hat-trick of Premier League titles, two Carling Cups, and a Champions League medal, he may have already decided upon moving to Spain, where Real Madrid are looking to strengthen their defense. Getting anything upwards of 10million, in my opinion, would represent good business for the club.
The talismanic striker of last season was seemingly replaced by a troubled twenty something lad over the summer, and although he has broken an 8 month barren streak with a brace against Aston Villa, he has been well below his world beating best for most of that time. Given his transfer tantrum back in October, which resulted in a new contract with greatly improved terms, questions can seriously be raised as to his long term commitment to the sides fortunes. Being deployed on the left side of midfield so as to make space for Berbatov cannot be good for his confidence, nor his rediscovery of form. Given the need for squad rebuilding, it may even be deemed prudent to do as Liverpool have done and sell off the highest value asset to use the funds to re build the squad. In my opinion, any offer of over 60mil is well worth considering seriously.
Positions to Strengthen
GK- at least two required, esp if TK leaves, because having Lindegaard and Amos isn't enough back-up. and we don't know when/if Anders is first choice material. Neuer, Adler, Lloris, Rui Patricio, Stekelenburg, Akinfeev, De Gea, & Reina are all possible targets.
Left back - Fábio Coentrão is widely tipped to join Fabio da Silva at Carrington, while Sir Alex has even watched Emilio Izaguirre in the flesh.
Centre back-If Brown is sold/released, it may be time to buyback Shawcross &/or look for another continental based underpriced diamond in the rough ala Vidic. Subotic & Hummels look good, but Dortmund may only be willing to sell for top ( read inflated) dollar.
Central Midfield- given United needed at least 1 more player at the start of the season, Carrick, Hargreaves, Gibson and Scholes would leave a massive whole in the squad, which would require significant financial outlay. The only name even remotely linked, has been Steven Defour who would would still represent a gamble. Players of the ilk of Pastore, Hamsik ( who's recently gone off the boil) Hernanes, Paulo Henrique- Ganso, would be great to see, but it would be interesting to see how they adapt to the rigours of the English game. YoungstersTunnicliffe, Norwood and Pogba may get some game time if deemed up to scratch, though that eventuality is slightly worrying.
Left Wing- Ferguson may be willing to persist with the combination of Obertan/Bebe/Nani/Park and Giggs,but if it were possible, a player like Edin Hazard or Alexis Sanchez may tempt the manager into unlocking the bank vault. He may also, however, simply promote Ravel Morrison, move Fabio further up field, or use Cleverley on/from the left.
Striker - undoubtedly the hardest position to buy for, Rooney leaving would be massive news around the world ( not just in footballing circles), and would require the acquisition of both a creative force, and a goal scoring finisher. Having Hernandez on the books and developing magnificently is a great consolation, but we'd require at least two strikers to replace Owen, Macheda, Welbeck and Diouf regardless of Wayne's future.