Ever since the transfer window has been introduced in Football, and the option of signing a player as and when you would need them throughout the length of the season, was scrapped, long running sagas have been played out over the years, Ronaldo, Fabregas to name but a few of the most obvious ones.  This summer, there was another epic episode of a tale to add onto the list, with the Holland and Inter Milan player Wesley Sneijder, fulfilling this role this time about.

The continuing saga of will He, wont He sign for Manchester United, being even more dramatic by the retirement of  United midfield legend Paul Scholes, which meant that a direct replacement in the Scholes mold needed to be found by Ferguson so as to ease the costly loss of what would be a highly missed player.

In the end the saga ended with Sneijder staying with Inter and Manchester United without a player to step into the Scholes role for the forthcoming season, but, was this the case that they missed out on their man or was Ferguson always the cunning fox that He has always been and knew exactly that his team were always well equipped in this area and that finally maybe it was just gossip from the chatterboxes in the English press?

For me Sneijder was always the perfect replacement for Scholes.  As a massive United fan, Scholes was my favorite player and for me one of the most technically gifted players to ever play football, anyone who saw his first touch and his technical ability to hit a ball will be able to testify to this.  To receive compliments from players like Henry, Xavi and Zidane, that He was the best player they have ever played against, considering the career these players had in the game, and the amount of high profile professionals they come up against throughout their illustrious careers, means that there is no need to give any more glowing reports and words in relation to Scholes, only in being that he was world class.

It is always going to be a difficult task trying to replace a player of Scholes quality, and if this is to be taken into account, Ferguson himself said that “Only Xavi and Iniesta are comparable to Scholes” and giving that these two were voted among the three best players of the world this year, then it seems even more of a daunting task.

There was though undoubted interest in Sneijder from United, and there is no doubt that He would have been a great acquisition to their squad, as the need for a playmaker in the Premier League seems like the quintessential part of any team, or indeed in any league in the world, so as to vary from the English style of crossing balls into the box and the high intensity game that United plays.  He would have given this option, of threading passes through defense’s and creating shooting opportunities, but Ferguson deemed it to be that in the end He was not needed and clarified this by saying ” He’s a fantastic player but he was not who we were looking for to replace Scholes”.  Who is to argue with someone who has the track record of Ferguson and who obviously knows the club and football inside out, and therefore knows what United needed this season.

So, the thing that I always thought, and have always said, that Sneijder was the perfect replacement for Scholes, seems now to be extinguished and been laid to rest, with my attention now turned to what United now have.  A central midfield of players who can be drawn upon such as Anderson, Carrick, Cleverly, Fletcher with Giggsy able to play in there too, might not have the same ring to it, if Sneijder was there for example, but there is no doubt that from United´s more than impressive start to the season, Ferguson has to be handed it again, as someone who knows more about football than most, and who sticks to his philosophy of bringing young players through and giving them chances and more importantly doing the job they are expected to do at Manchester United.  This is to live up to the increasingly high standards that the club demands.  You could say then that Mr. Ferguson was the cunning fox that He has always been!


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Rodney is 29 years old from Northern Ireland, is a qualified Sports Scientist graduate at the University of Wales, Cardiff and qualified UEFA Football Coach from the Irish Football Association. At the moment he lives with his girlfriend in Barcelona-Spain and works there as a football coach at the Hristo Stoichkov football school and also as an English teacher. He loves Manchester United, and was very happy to break Liverpool’s record of League wins. He loves to travel and has seen most of the world but always wants to see more. In his spare time, he likes to improve his Spanish and catalan, play football, go to the gym, play guitar, watch films, read and have the odd game of pro evolution and pool. He likes to write about something he loves, and has a blog where he writes about all things current, including footy and travel: http://thedrawertailor.blogspot.com/ . You can also follow him on twitter @Rodneyball

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