Manchester United has signed Danish international goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard on a 3½ year deal for an undisclosed fee after reaching an agreement with the players former club Aalesunds FK, reports the premier league club’s official website ManUtd.com.
According to the official release, “Personal terms have been agreed with the player, who passed a medical in Manchester. Anders will train with United during December, but will be ineligible to play until the transfer window opens in January 2011.”
Sir Alex Ferguson said: “Anders is one of the brightest young keepers in the game. The challenge at Manchester United is always to look to the future and in Anders, we have signed a goalkeeper of great presence and even more promise. Having the time to train with him before he is registered will be an important period for him – almost like a pre season to get him integrated with the other players.”
Anders Lindegaard said: “Joining Manchester United is a dream come true for me. The Club is such an institution in Denmark, it’s an honour to come here. I’m looking forward to playing and training alongside some of the great players in football today. I can’t wait to be part of this team and to make my contribution to keeping the team at the top of the game.”
I hope Sir Alex has made a right call this time as the Red Devils desperately need a perfect replacement for the Dutch star Edwin Van der Sar. Experts believe United has to have one of the best goalkeepers around if they are to win more trophies and titles in the future.
Assistant managers can fade into the background. They are the men cut out of the close-up and ignored in song, rarely eulogised or vilified. Ultimate accountability lies elsewhere. And yet Manchester’s footballing community has recently received a reminder of the impact they can have.
The death of Malcolm Allison, half of Manchester City’s greatest management team, brought a deluge of tributes. Along with Brian Clough’s invaluable ally, Peter Taylor, Allison ranks among English football’s greatest sidekicks. But so, arguably, does a more recent second-in-command to grace the city’s dugouts.
And perhaps the recent outbreak of nostalgia among his rivals will prompt Sir Alex Ferguson to revisit his own history. As the ongoing excellence of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes illustrates, Ferguson has looked to the past for renewal before and, following his sacking by Portugal, Carlos Queiroz is available again. Like Allison and Taylor, he appears doomed to be deemed a far greater coach than manager, but Ferguson’s esteem for his old ally remains high.
The Scot served as a character witness for his former assistant when Queiroz was accused of disrupting an anti-doping test. He is serving a six-month suspension in his homeland, but, while it represents a black mark on his CV, that would not preclude him from working in England.
Moreover, should his two previous spells at Old Trafford provide an accurate guide, there are reasons to believe that he could provide a rather cheaper tonic than some of the many mooted transfer targets. As the move for Bebe shows, Ferguson has continued to tap into Queiroz’s knowledge of the Portuguese and Brazilian markets.
While his judgment is not impeccable, as those who remember Manucho’s inglorious spell at Old Trafford can testify, his advice has brought two notable coups: Cristiano Ronaldo, United’s outstanding signing of the last decade and a man who produced a £68 million profit, and Nani, who is starting to deliver the blend of fancy-footed flair and fine finishing that became his compatriot’s hallmark.
It is a sign that Ferguson heeds Queiroz’s counsel. Mike Phelan and Rene Meulenstein, his current subordinates, are not men of the same stature and, given the pedigree of some of the 68-year-old’s other adjutants – Walter Smith, Steve McClaren, Brian Kidd and Archie Knox – it is hard not to view the current crop as their inferiors.
Bouncing ideas off a former Real Madrid manager, who has led three different national teams, is a more attractive option than sharing them with a coach who comes across as a serial yes-man. Given Ferguson’s enormous achievements and tradition of intimidation, does Phelan have the credibility to question his decisions?
In contrast, Ferguson and Queiroz were even described as co-managers, though it is hard to imagine the former sharing top billing with anyone. That United’s sometimes erratic squad rotation tended to operate rather more smoothly during Queiroz’s four-year second spell at Old Trafford is an indication that some of the stranger ideas were never implemented.
Queiroz may not have the same incendiary willpower that Ferguson possesses – few do – but there are indications they complemented one another well. The Portuguese has the linguistic skills to communicate with those who find Glaswegian an unintelligible dialect. He is also more of a hands-on coach than Ferguson and, as a tactician, is credited with persuading the older man that United required an evolution from their traditional 4-4-2 to a three-man central midfield to triumph in Europe. It rendered the 2008 Champions League victory possible (even if the final was a match United began by reverting to 4-4-2).
A further appeal for a club who have been uncharacteristically ragged at the back this season is a reputation as a defensive strategist. The partnership of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic was united and drilled in his time in Manchester and his final season coincided with the best defensive record in the club’s history, when a mere 22 goals were conceded.
While his time with his homeland included one or two embarrassing displays – notably the 6-2 defeat to Brazil – they were separated by a run of 26 games that included 22 clean sheets. Portugal’s may well have been the best defence in the World Cup and a cash-conscious club should be aware it is often cheaper to construct the most resilient rearguard than the most potent attack.
So, with Ferdinand’s body creaking and Edwin van der Sar’s career (logically) in its final furlong, it could be an apposite time to enlist a coach who could fashion a new-look defence. Because while Queiroz’s influence appeared to irritate Roy Keane, among others, in the traumatic autumn of 2005, the consensus is that it was hugely beneficial.
And now, in the wake of the reassurances about the club’s ambition that Wayne Rooney has received and the supposedly sizeable budget Ferguson has at his disposal, speculation rages about supposed signings next summer. Another superstar would be a welcome addition, yet the most significant could be reuniting Ferguson with his favoured right-hand man.
In light of English football’s most stunning transfer story since Kevin Keegan was on the steps at St James’ Park explaining his decision to sell Andy Cole to Manchester United, Alex Dunn reflects on who Sir Alex Ferguson might have his eye on if indeed Wayne Rooney quits the club he was swearing his devotion to just months ago.
It’s one of football’s most open secrets that Ferguson is a fan of the mercurial Frenchman having tried to sign him prior to his move from Lyon to Real Madrid in 2009. Benzema may just now be thinking he should have plumped for Old Trafford over the Bernabeu, with his time in Spain seeing him struggle to find anything like his top form as too often he has cut a forlorn figure on the sidelines. A frosty relationship with Jose Mourinho has thawed in recent weeks but with the Portuguese having said earlier in the season ‘If it was just for you I would make training at midday because you arrived at 10 o’clock half asleep and then by 11 you are already sleeping again’, it’s fair to say the Special One has his reservations. It is expected that Real will attempt to use Benzema as a makeweight in any potential deal for Rooney, with another long-term Ferguson target Lassana Diarra another Madrid misfit who could be used as bait. On his day, as 43 goals in 112 appearances for Lyon attests, Benzema can be a force of nature. At 22 he also fits in with United’s long-term recruitment strategy and while he may not be quite the finished product, he’s certainly further into his development than the likes of Javier Hernandez and Bebe.
Just yesterday Roy Hodgson conceded he fears losing his talisman, with Torres’ body language all season suggesting his Anfield love affair could be drawing to a close. Upon his appointment Hodgson’s first job was to convince the Spaniard that the future is rosy on Merseyside. Doing his best Pinocchio impression Uncle Woy did just that but the proof is in the pudding as Liverpool sit second from bottom in the table. Unless new owner John W Henry spends outlandishly in January, which seems highly unlikely, Torres would be loath to acquiesce to another season devoid of UEFA Champions League football. Chelsea has always been mooted as his likely next port of call but if Roman Abramovich opens the coffers for Rooney it could be that United nip in for Torres, who might just fancy the idea of staying in the North West where he’s settled. The prospect of Torres in a United shirt would turn the stomach of any Liverpool supporter. Probably about as much as Rooney wearing sky blue would for United fans.
If Rooney goes in January it could be that Ferguson decides it’s a case of ‘better the devil you know’ and turns to old boy Forlan. The Uruguayan wasn’t quite Garry Birtles during his two-year sojourn in Manchester but just ten goals from 63 appearances is testimony to his struggles. He was always a popular figure though and given what he has achieved since leaving United any return would not be based on sentiment. His goalscoring figures at subsequent spells with Villarreal (54 in 106) and Atletico Madrid (69 in 106) are phenomenal, while his performances in South Africa over the summer saw him crowned the World Cup’s outstanding individual. The likeable South American has made no secret of his desire to have another crack at the Premier League and has previously been linked to Tottenham. However, if Fergie came calling he’d probably walk barefoot from the Spanish capital for a second chance with the dethroned champions.
Forlan’s Uruguay team-mate Suarez is another reportedly on Ferguson’s radar. The 23-year-old had a bright if unspectacular World Cup but his form for Ajax since joining them in 2007 for €7.5million from Groningen has been nothing short of spectacular. His first two seasons in Amsterdam yielded goal returns of 22 and 28 respectively, before last term he went on the rampage in plundering 49 goals from 48 appearances. It’s fair to say this kid knows where the back of the net is. Playing off the shoulder he would complement Dimitar Berbatov’s predilection to meander wherever he fancies, but Ferguson may feel he is too similar to Hernandez. The Eredivisie is not the strongest of leagues either, with Chelsea still haunted by the ghost of Mateja Kezman, who had a similar goalscoring record to Suarez while at PSV Eindhoven before flopping miserably in West London.
If the Glazers wanted to pull off the ultimate PR stunt and push those gold and green scarves to the back of supporters’ wardrobes then they could do worse than weigh up a move for Kaka. The Brazilian has endured a miserable time since becoming a Galactico at Real Madrid, with Mourinho unconvinced as to where he fits into his master plan. The talk is that Real are willing to listen to offers for the 28-year-old who cost them a cool £56million in 2009. Manchester City failed in an ill-fated bid to sign him prior to that but if a return to Italy is ruled out due to monetary restraints at Serie A’s top clubs, then a switch to the Premier League could appeal. It seems unlikely the money men at Old Trafford would sanction a move for the one-time World and European Player of the Year but if United are to prove wrong Rooney’s view that the club lacks ambition, then a bid for Kaka would be just the ticket.
Atletico Madrid’s Aguero is another who would capture the imagination of the supporters if United were to land him. The son-in-law of Diego Maradona has a buy-out clause of around £55million but with Atletico in a perilous financial position, it’s unlikely United would have to pay quite that much for a player who contrary to speculation has not signed a new deal at Vicente Calderon. At just 22 and in the mould of a pugnacious conjurer, a la Rooney, Aguero certainly ticks all the right boxes. Aguero’s agent Jose Segui admits there is interest from Premier League clubs but he claims ‘Kun’ wants to stay in the Spanish capital, insisting the player is ‘happy in Madrid and happy in Spain’.
Other possible candidates…..Edin Dzeko, Alexandre Pato, Gonzalo Higuain, Darren Bent, Wesley Sneijder.
Who would you like to see lining up at Old Trafford if Rooney leaves? Have we got the right names on our list or is there an obvious candidate we’ve missed out?
The latest development to shock Manchester United fans: Wayne Rooney is contemplating a move to hated rivals Manchester City!
The England star has been the subject of transfer rumours recently after reports revealed that he had not signed a deal to extend his current contract at Old Trafford yet.
Rooney’s life has been in turmoil since revelations about his sexual indiscretions came to light. In addition, the striker’s relationship with United boss Sir Alex Ferguson had grown frosty since August this year, when the striker was caught in public smoking and urinating with little care for decorum.
Most recently, it was revealed that the player had informed his current employers that he was not going to sign a new contract to extend his stay with the Red Devils.
According to reports from the Guardian, however, what started out as a bad week for Manchester United fans could turn out to be even worse as Rooney is planning a even greater betrayal- crossing over to the Blue side of Manchester to turn out for hated rivals Manchester City!
The England star is looking at following ex-United star Carlos Tevez in crossing one of the biggest tribal divides in world football, despite the potential brickbats and criticisms that are certain to come his way.
Carlos Ancelotti has already publicly declared his interest in Rooney if the striker was keen to don the colours of Chelsea.
Ancelotti said: “We’d have to wait to see if Wayne Rooney really wants to leave Manchester United.
“Secondly, whether United would really want to sell him.
“And thirdly, if Rooney’s on the market it would not just be Chelsea interested, but a lot of teams.”
However, the 24-year-old is acutely aware that this could be the last chance to wrangle the biggest salary package he will ever command, and given the comparable wealth of the oil-sheik owners of the Citizens, Rooney is aware that in an austure transfer market, they could be the biggest player on the scene.
Rooney has reportedly told team-mates that City, not Real Madrid or Barcelona, is a more realistic move for him, given his current family issues. His wife, Colleen, has a 12-year-old sister who is suffering from a brain disorder, Retts syndrome, and will not be keen for a move abroad that will keep them apart.
What could make this move happen is the fact that Brain Marwood, the Citizen’s football administrator, is well-acquainted with Rooney’s adviser, Paul Stretford, as well as the player himself, as Marwood used to work for Nike, one of the player’s major sponsors.
Although previous reports have indicated that UEFA’s new financial fair-play rules could stifle any move for Rooney by the Citizens, the club believe that there are loopholes to be used, as well as players that could be sold, like Roque Santa Cruz and Craig Bellamy, to make space for the England star.
“We (The Manchester City hierarchy) hadn’t discussed signing Rooney until the last week because we never thought he would be available, just like we have never discussed signing Lionel Messi from Barcelona,” according to a quote from the Guardian.
“Now we know he wants to leave United we’re obviously going to monitor it closely.”
However, according to reports from the Sun, Real are also keen to get the England star.
Real’s Director-General Jorge Valdano said : “Our problem is who to get rid of if Wayne Rooney comes here”, a clear indicator that the club would certainly make a strong move to get their man.
What could be a telling sign of the player’s determination to leave are reports that David Gill, United’s chief executive, has been caught cold by the latest developments, and unable to even make contact with Rooney’s representatives to try to placate the player from a move.
All Rooney has indicated is that his decison is firm, as a result of the financial aspects of a move, as well as the fracture of his relationship with Ferguson.
A mistake from Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar handed West Bromwich Albion a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford. For the second time this season, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men threw away a two-goal lead as they were forced to settle for their fifth draw of the season.
Patrice Evra scored an own goal to take West Brom back into the game at Old Trafford
With Wayne Rooney left on the bench, Ferguson’s decision to leave his star striker out was justified almost immediately when Javier Hernandez scored his first Premier League goal to put the home side ahead after five minutes.
Hernandez responded quickest after Scott Carson could only push away Nani’s free-kick, and it was Nani who got his name on the scoresheet 20 minutes later as United looked to be on course for a comfortable victory. The Portuguese winger pounced when Nicky Shorey slipped on the ball, and after a slick one-two with Dimitar Berbatov, fired to ball into the net to double United’s lead.
With Ferguson’s men cruising at half-time, the Baggies refused to lie down and grabbed one back after the United defence failed to clear their lines from a cross, and Patrice Evra got the last touch under pressure from Somen Tchoyi.
And Tchoyi scored the equaliser after Van der Sar failed to hold on to a simple catch and Tchoyi was on call to tap the ball home from close range. Ferguson turned to Rooney as United desperately searched for a winner, but Roberto Martinez’s side held firm and had a number of chances to steal a three points on the break.
Nicolas Anelka was denied a dramatic late winner by the woodwork as Aston Villa maintained their impressive home record against Chelsea.
Anelka could have earned the Blues only their second league win in the last 12 visits to Villa Park but his downward header from Ashley Cole’s header bounced up and against the crossbar.
It would have been rough justice for Villa who had done enough to earn at least a share of the spoils – and should themselves have won the game in injury time as Nigel Reo-Coker shot wide when one-on-one with keeper Petr Cech.
Arsenal avoided a third straight defeat after coming from behind to beat Birmingham City 2-1 at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners went behind from a Nikola Zigic header, but Samir Nasri converted from the spot after Scott Dann was deemed to have fouled Marouane Chamakh, who scored his third goal of the season to seal three points for Arsene Wenger’s men, who had Jack Wilshere sent off in the final minute for a wild challenge.
Tom Huddlestone scored a controversial winner as Tottenham Hotspur clinched a 2-1 away win at Fulham. Huddlestone’s long range effort found its way into Mark Schwarzer’s net, but although defender William Gallas failed to get a touch, the assistant referee signalled the defender had been offside position. However, referee Mike Dean overruled the linesman and awarded the goal.
Fabricio Coloccini grabs a last-gasp equaliser for Newcastle
Fulham had enjoyed much of the possession at Craven Cottage and went ahead through Diomansy Kamara on the half-hour mark. But the lead was short-lived as Roman Pavlyuchenko netted just a minute later after Rafael van der Vaart’s delicate chip over the Schwarzer struck the crossbar.
Newcastle United left it late to snatch a 2-2 draw at home to Wigan Athletic. The Magpies looked to be on course for their third home defeat of the season after striker Charles N’Zogbia struck twice in as many minutes to sink his old club, but Fabricio Coloccini’s header sealed a point after Shola Ameobi’s header pulled one back for the home side.
Ivan Klasnic scored a last-gasp winner to clinch a 2-1 win for Bolton Wanderers against Stoke City before seeing red. Rory Delap looked to have salvaged a point for the Potters after scoring his first goal since January 2009 to cancel out Chung-Yong Lee’s opener, but Klasnic came off the bench to snatch all three points before being shown two yellow cards in the space of a minute as Bolton ended the game with ten-men.
In the clash of the bottom two, Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at Molineux. Matt Jarvis fired Wolves ahead after ten minutes when Rob Green failed to clear the ball, but Mark Noble equalised from the penalty spot after Kevin Foley had brought down Victor Obinna.
The Ajax academy graduate has flourished into one of Europe's finest.
Inter Milan playmaker Wesley Sneijder admits he would be tempted by the prospect of a move to Manchester United at some point in his career.
Sneijder, who helped Inter secure the Treble last season, was linked with a move to Old Trafford during Netherlands’ World Cup campaign before pledging his future to the Nerazzurri.
But his position at San Siro has been called into question once again after talks over a new contract collapsed. While Sneijder has ruled out a return to former club Real Madrid, he does appear more open to a move to United.
“If somebody asks me if I will ever play for Manchester United, it’s impossible for me to say no,” Sneijder told the Daily Star Sunday. “How can you say that if the chance came you would not play for one of the biggest clubs in the world?
“I don’t think there is any player in the world who could publicly rule out ever playing for Manchester United, and if they did I would doubt they were telling the truth.
“The Premier League, in terms of top clubs, is the strongest in the world, and it would be nice to finish my career saying I have played at the very top in Spain, Italy, and England.
“‘There is not many who can say they have done that, and if that does happen for me I would only want it to be with Manchester United.”
Manchester United’s Hat-trick hero against Liverpool, Dimitar Berbatov has pleaded with his team-mates to stop making things so complicated.
Berbatov came to United’s rescue at Old Trafford yesterday, scoring the dramatic late winner – and becoming the first man to score a hat-trick against their old rivals since 1946 – to seal a 3-2 win over Liverpool.
Yet the heroics would not have been necessary if United had retained the two-goal cushion Berbatov had presented them with before the interval.
Instead, Steven Gerrard scored twice to pull the Merseyside outfit level. Given United threw away a two-goal advantage at Everton in injury-time last week and contrived to draw a game they thought was won at Fulham last month, Berbatov believes it is time his team-mates started to learn a few lessons.
“Let us hope in the future we won’t complicate it so much,” he said.
“We have to keep working and improving on that.
“There is a long way ahead of us but hopefully in the end we will be on top.”
Liverpool might look back on World Cup final referee Howard Webb’s decision not to send John O’Shea off for his foul on Fernando Torres that provided Gerrard with the free-kick from which he equalised as the pivotal moment.
Yet Sir Alex Ferguson felt the final scoreline was “a farce” as it did scant justice to his side’s dominance.
Certainly there was no disputing Berbatov’s right to finish on the winning side, particularly after his brilliant second when he controlled Nani’s cross, then beat a static Pepe Reina with a perfect overhead kick that crashed in off the underside of the bar.
“I never saw the ball go in the back of the net,” he admitted.
“But when I heard the crowd scream it was easy to guess what had happened.
“It was a good goal but as long as the ball hits the back of the net it doesn’t matter.”
Not that Berbatov was hitting the town in celebration. Never one to hog the headlines, even though his tally for the season now stands at an impressive seven, he preferred to head straight home.
“It was probably my best day in a United shirt,” said Berbatov.
“Obviously I am happy. I am going home with a smile on my face.
“But I am nothing special. I am going home to play with my kids.”