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Written by Amer Salman | 06 July 2011

That's right, Velez's midfield playmaker Ricardo Alvarez has completed his move to Inter Milan for a fee of roughly £10.6 million. That's big news to us United fans. Why? Not because it means Arsenal have failed yet again to and a transfer target, but because of what it means for this guy:

Yup, with Inter signing a central attacking midfielder, some would say they are preparing for the departure of Wesley Sneijder. Now this idea's been floating around the internet for the past day or so and before that I wouldn't have thought that Inter would even consider selling Sneijder. But with this revelation, I felt it would be apropos if I launched into another edition of "Fire Up that Midfield".

Follow me after the jump for more!

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Written by Amer Salman | 05 July 2011

Apparently Sunderland are "inches" away from signing Wes Brown and John O'Shea.

 
YEAHHH!!!! 

Not to say I don't like these two guys. They given most of their lives to the United cause and it's only fair that we honor everything they've done for us. But let's be honest, Brown has sucked balls after that 08-09 season and John O'Shea is looking likehe's h it his peak (or about to) and there's not much else in the tank for our favorite leftback/centerback/rightback/defensive midfielder/right winger/left midfielder/goalie. 

With Fabael, Jevans, Jones, and our favorite beast, Chris Smalling, waiting in the wings for a chance to play in United's first team, we're pretty stacked at the back. There is no room for any mistakes (which is coincidentally Wes Brown's middle name by the way), and it looks like our numbers 6 and 22 must go. 

Also, Phil Jones for number 6 anyone? 

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Written by Amer Salman | 03 July 2011

So with "silly season" in full swing, we're hearing all sorts of stories about incoming players. The common theme here is that we're on the lookout for a goalkeeper and most likely, two midfielders. With our defense and attack stacked, we need to concentrate on replacing Edwin van der Sar and bringing in a spark to our midfield. With a series that I'll update sporadically, I'll assess the main candidates for our new midfield playmaker in the wake of Paul Scholes' retirement.

Alright, the Samir Nasri bandwagon is in full swing, and Manchester United are sitting firmly in it. It's been rumored for a long time, and it's finally picked up some real momentum as both United and City will do battle to earn his signature.

What can I say, the kid's got spark - and that's what we need. He's quick, agile, skillful, and has got quite the shot. I'll be the first to admit, the center of our midfield has lost some of its flair. Of what we have in the middle of the park - Fletcher, Carrick, Anderson, Gibson, and Cleverley - there isn't too much proven creativity. In Nasri, we'll have a player who can add some attacking power to the centermen. The defensive aspect to his game isn't something that's been spoken much of however. It's not like the guy can't help defend, it's just that he's not as dynamic as say, Roy Keane would be in both attack and defence. That shouldn't stop us from pursuing him though. He's a quality player who will definitely help rather than hinder our team.

Can we get him? Maybe. It looks like we're going to enter a bidding war with City and we'll see if Samir prioritizes money or trophies. We also have to remember that Arsenal don't want to let him go and it'll take a hefty sum to get him away from the Emirates. Personally, seeing as Arsenal have lowered their guard on Fabregas, they'll want to hold on to Nasri as best they can. It'll be tough, but I reckon it's worth it.

Previous editions of "Fire up that midfield":

 

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Written by Amer Salman | 27 June 2011

Update: Wednesday, June 29. 8.42 am AEDT: David de Gea is officially a Manchester United player.

That's right folks, the story is breaking out of all news fronts from Manutd.com to ESPN. We've got our replacement for Big E.

So as the Euro u-21 tournament winds down, I'm expecting a bit of news on David de Gea seeing he has nothing else to worry about this summer. I was proved right when I logged on to the ESPN soccer site to see news that he's having a medical over in Manchester. So here's to a post that should span the next few days (or maybe even hours) as we await confirmation of Señor de Gea's transfer to Old Trafford.

Tuesday, June 28. 12.29 am AEDT: David de Gea is reportedly in Manchester for a medical. The excitement meter is rising.

Tuesday, June 28. 1.05 am AEDT: Not much new news other than the deal being reported to go through for £17.8 million.

Tuesday, June 28. 1.08 am AEDT: Great stuff from the Daily Mail as they snap pictures of de Gea arriving at Bridgewater Hospital, Manchester for the medical. Pretty high tech covert operations happening there.

Tuesday, June 28. 1.15 am AEDT: I reckon David de Gea is having his medical right now and I'm really tired. So I'm gonna head to bed but I'm guessing by the time I get up, his transfer will be announced.

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Written by Ikmal Salim | 26 June 2011

Remember this picture?


He came to us for £6m last summer. No one had heard of him, except maybe those who faithfully follow the comings and goings of Mexican football. The signing came as a surprise, cloaked under a heavy veil of backroom secrecy. Hardly anyone, bar probably the scouting team and Sir Alex, had seen him play this side of the Atlantic. Then came the World Cup.

When he came on off the bench to score against France, and anecdotes about emulating his grandfather who did the same in the 1954 World Cup began to circulate around on the scripts of every commentator and pundit, people began to register his name into the backs of their mind.

And when he started against Argentina and scored Mexico's consolation goal in the second half, he had cemented himself into the consciousness(es) of United fans all over the world. This guy was going to be our new striker.



But I'll admit that though, yes I was excited after seeing him play in the World Cup, I was also of the opinion that his chances to play regularly would be limited. If you considered the strikers we already had at the club – Rooney, Berbatov, Owen, Macheda, Welbeck – surely they would have preference over someone who had "no experience playing in England." Psh, like it mattered.

Javier Hernández, as commentators preferred to call him throughout the season, made 45 appearances by seasons' end, netting 20 goals. For the first season of an international player who, at 22, had only collectively played in 80 matches over 4 years for his previous team Guadalajara, his achievements are staggering. Like, so very staggering. I don't think people give enough credit when they do talk about it.

They talk about Ruud van Nistelrooy who scored thirty-six goals in his debut season, from 49 appearances, but he'd already been a prolific goalscorer for PSV Eindhoven in seasons previous. Also, he was 25-26 when he did it. Throw in his experience playing European football, and compare that to someone who'd probably only played in Europe on Pro-Evo or FIFA, and you can probably begin to see where my argument is coming from.

Now, throw in a 7-goal haul on his Gold Cup victory with Mexico, and you've got yourself an annus mirabilis for Chicharito. He hauled Mexico through to the latter stages of the competition, and played a major assisting role in the final against the United States. His quality shows no sign of waning.



World Cup, winning the Premier League, getting to the final of the Champions League. All in his first season at the top. And if it wasn't for one man, his talent may never have reached the hallowed turf at Old Trafford.

Sir Alex Ferguson, you are undoubtedly a genius.

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Written by Amer Salman | 22 June 2011

Wow, it's been 5 days since a post. Sorry guys, we're enjoying the freedom of not having to do anything. But anyway, back to more important things. So continuing with our long, drawn-out awards,  we now go to the Kleberson Award for Ineptitude. That's right, this award recognizes excellence in the field of sucking balls on the soccer field.

Kleberson was never the best player on the field. In fact, sometimes it didn't even look like he was even a player. Anywho, we felt that the only person deserving of this award was Gary Neville, who played so bad that he was forced into retirement in the middle of the season.

Now let me get this straight, I'm not hating on Gary Neville whatsoever. He's a legend in every sense of the word and definitely the best right back we've had for a long time at this club. But we thought it was pretty funny that he couldn't quite keep up with the rest of the team so for his troubles, we'll hand him an award. Good onya Gary!

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Written by Amer Salman | 18 June 2011

So with "silly season" in full swing, we're hearing all sorts of stories about incoming players. The common theme here is that we're on the lookout for a goalkeeper and most likely, two midfielders. With our defense and attack stacked, we need to concentrate on replacing Edwin van der Sar and bringing in a spark to our midfield. With a series that I'll update sporadically, I'll assess the main candidates for our new midfield playmaker in the wake of Paul Scholes' retirement.

I'll be honest with you guys, I don't think we'll make a move for Scott Parker. But, there have been reports that we've agreed terms with Ashley Young and that he'll sign for us the minute he gets back from his trip to America. To be honest, these reports came around about 10 days ago, but since we've been busy there hasn't really been any official TSR word on it... until now.

Although he won't really be a midfielder in the mold of Paul Scholes, he'll add another dimension to our wings. He's a lot like Valencia, but with the ability to play on both wings. Fast, tricky, and clever with the ball, Young'll be a solid addition to the team. I've watched some videos of his 2010/2011 season and he's scored and assisted quite a few goals for Villa.

Despite Nani winning players' player of the year, I can't see him staying at Old Trafford for the foreseeable future. In my opinion he'll be out of here soon - if not this summer, then the next. It's just his consistency that bothers me, but I guess the same could be said of Cristiano Ronaldo a couple of years ago. What I'm trying to say is that I see the Ashley Young signing as a catalyst for something to happen to Nani. Either he bucks up his game and stays on or he is overshadowed by all the other wingers we have and is shown the door. Either way, it's not a bad situation to have, either we get rid of an underachieving winger or we gain two excellent ones.

So all that's left for us to do is wait for an official confirmation of this move and watch videos of Young in action when United head on their pre-season tour of America. Excited? I sure am.

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Written by Ikmal Salim | 13 June 2011

The renowned "Alan Shearer" Award: For the most consistent performer this season. And the award goes to:

 

Owen Hargreaves


Now, we at TSR love (or should we say loved) Owen Hargreaves. He was the personification of dogged determination and hard-work, almost rivalling our Korean sensation Park Ji-Sung. But since September 2008, Owen Hargreaves' true 'quality' kicked in.

For more than two years, Owen Hargreaves was consistently on the sidelines.

Hargreaves did have two scary moments which almost forced us to present this award to another player - He made a 30 second cameo against Sunderland and enjoyed 4 minutes of action (followed by 1 minute of excruciating pain and general depression) at Old Trafford against Wolves. Luckily for Hargreaves, he soon found himself back on the sidelines. We here at TSR are nice guys. We're willing to overlook his time on the pitch (a grand total of 5 minutes and 30 seconds) over the past two seasons to name him our most consistent performer. 

I'm sorry Owen, we really did sincerely value your qualities – and we do remember how you were deployed at right-back against Barcelona in the 2008 Champions League semi-final, in both legs, and as a the defensive midfield general against Chelsea in the resultant final; and your free-kick which sunk Arsenal in the league that year at Old Trafford was particularly memorable... but your time came and the consistency which you showed in being injured for so long did deserve a mention.

We wish you well. 

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Written by Amer Salman | 08 June 2011

According to ESPNSoccernet, Phil Jones is at Old Trafford completing a medical which would confirm a £16 million deal.

After seeing him play in a very Vidic style against us, I can safely say that we've made a solid signing for the future. This is a guy that's 19 years old and is only getting better. And judging by that picture, I'd say he's really intense as well. I know he can play at right-back and center-back. In fact, he'll probably partner Chris "Beast" Smalling in the next England under-21 game.

Anywho, if this story turns out to be true and not some made up hullaballoo, I can imagine Brown, O'Shea, or maybe even Jevans being pointed in the direction of the beautiful glass doors of Old Trafford. Personally, I'd like O'Shea and Jevans to stick around, but Brown's time is probably up. So yeah, I'm calling it - it's a Brown for Jones switch in the better half of Manchester this summer.

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Written by Ikmal Salim | 06 June 2011

The prestigious "Djemba-Djemba" Award: For the worst signing of the season, is named after Eric Djemba-Djemba, the Cameroonian midfielder who was a part of United's midfield for 18 months between 2003-2004. Who am I talking about? Exactly. I don't remember a single thing he did on the pitch. There probably have been stranger signings, but for his ridiculous name alone, this award is named after him.

...and the award goes to:

 
That's right. Tiago Manuel Dias Correia, better known as "Bébé", has sucked. Let's be honest with ourselves. We forked out £7m for a player whose claim to fame was playing in the Street World Cup, or as Amer likes to think of it, "The Homeless World Cup". The game where he came on as a substitute for Owen Hargreaves, I think it was Wolves, was his last. Do you remember why? Yeah. I do.

Everytime he got the ball in that game, he tried to cross it. I use the word "cross" very loosely. I think he more kicked it in the rough direction of the goal, hoping it would either hit someone or go in. Unfortunately for him, who hasn't played a senior game since then, neither happened.

So sorry, Bébé, you're the TSR's vote for the worst signing of the season. 

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