If you can’t beat them, buy them. That has often been Manchester United’s strategy when the club has lost pivotal league games against smaller English clubs and/or have been embarrassed by Premier League players who display incredible raw skill. United has often gone on to purchase many of those footballers.
Examples include Everton (Wayne Rooney), Fulham (Louis Saha – after he scored against United and later joined them, and Edwin van der Sar), Tottenham (Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Carrick) and Wigan (Antonio Valencia). It’s a smart transfer strategy because you make sure the smaller clubs will never break into the Big Four. But it also prevents those players being bought by rival clubs, and makes sure that those players won’t embarrass United again.
Based on his display during Saturday’s early kick off between Everton and Manchester United, don’t be surprised if Manchester United takes another close look at Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell with the hopes of signing him this summer. Sir Alex Ferguson was reported to be interested in signing Rodwell last year, but based on his confidence and composure on the ball today when he scored the third and final goal for Everton to beat Manchester United, Ferguson will surely be even more interested now. Sure, Rodwell only had a limited amount of playing time Saturday after coming off the bench, but the way he took his goal gives you a clear indication of the skill he has.
It’s not just the way that Manchester United plucks raw talent to make sure they stay near the top of the Premier League. It’s what they do to these players after they join. It’s incredible to consider how Wayne Rooney has taken his raw talent when he was at Everton, as well as his violent temper, and turned it into a controlled and magic ability to beat the best players and teams in the world. The same can be said for many players who have moved from smaller English clubs and moved to United.
But it’s not just Manchester United who will be on alert regarding Rodwell’s talent. Rodwell is a versatile player who has also been touted as a center back in the making, and which top teams in the Premier League would pass up a player like that who possesses the ability to score up front, command midfield and has the potential to do a brilliant job in the back? In fact, Rodwell has been called the new Rio Ferdinand.
Don’t be surprised if Manchester City or Arsenal try to capture the signing of Rodwell from under the noses of Manchester United. Whoever gets him, expect Everton to get a hefty transfer fee as much as 20-30 million pounds for the player who joined the Toffees when he was a child.
This is a player who has already broken many records including being the youngest ever Everton player to play in European competition and the youngest Everton scorer in European competition. Plus he has an encouraging England career ahead of him after an impressive display for the under-21 England team in the 2009 European Championships.
Photo credit: BackpageFootball.