The end of Euro 2008 should signal the beginning of the transfer period for most major teams in Europe. In what has thus far been a quiet post and pre seaon, especially in England, some moves should begin to gather momentum over the next few weeks.
The big four in England have not made any significant signings as yet. That was until yesterdays signing of Deco by Chelsea. Chelsea, who signed Bosigwa at the end of last season, should be very active in the transfer window in the coming weeks, with new manager Scolari said to have an unlimited transfer budget to try and over haul Manchester United in the league and in Europe.
United for their part have had to deal with the rumours of Ronaldo jumping ship to Madrid without causing much of a ripple in the back pages of Englands papers. The initial thought was that they would make their moves before Euro 2008, so as to preempt any escalating prices due to prominent Euro 2008 performances. They didn’t and choose to wait. The tournament has come and gone and if anything a few of United’s said be targets, Benzema of Lyon and Veloso of Sporting, should have had their prices cut, due to poor showing, or very little pitch time. Lyon were said to have asked for over 50 million Euro’s for Benzema, a price United balked at, and so they have cast their eyes elsewhere.
Most reports suggest that the number one target for Sir Alex is now Spurs forward Berbatov. While his asking price may still be high, around the 25-35 million mark, it is still considerably lower then that of Benzema. At 27 Berbatov is older than Benzema, 20, and with United looking to youth generally, he is off the recent trend. However at 27 he is reaching his peak and United would be buying a complete player, rather than a promising one they can mould. Another positive is that he has been in the Premier League for 2 years and has a proven record and thus would not need to adapt.
However todays papers have suggested that United are looking at a cheaper option, that would keep with their trend of buying young promising players. They are thought to be after River Plates 15 million pound rated striker Folcao. Folcao is a 23 year old Colombian international who was River’s top scorer last season. In 58 games for River he has netted 38 times. A record that is sure to impress all watching the young hit man.
Falcao spent last season occupying the same sort of role that Tevez does for United but his record playing as a striker is good enough that United will no doubt look to follow up any interest before any others make a move. Bids by Milan and Aston Villa were turned down last season, and Real Madrid are thought to also be considering a move.
With Sir Alex saying that United will only look to bring in one or two players this window a forward seems most likely, with Tevez and Rooney having only the injury prone Saha as back up. Berbatov has the talent and record, but his sulky behaviour may not be what is needed at United, and thus the young Folcao could be the answer to United’s needs.
(Picture from http://www.goal.com)