It was so near yet so far. No other statement could more aptly summarise the Red Devils’ plight last season. The title-decider went to the very last day. Going into their respective final games, City and United were level on points. City was drawn against QPR while Man. United faced Sunderland. At the 90th minute, City were trailing the Rangers by a goal while United were comfortably ahead of Sunderland. However, come extra-time, City scored two goals- just enough to win the game and also the title on goal difference. I cannot remember the last time the title was decided on goal difference. One can only sympathise with the players and the fans.However, every time they missed out, Sir Alex and his boys came back with a vengeance to recapture lost glory. Do the events that are happening on and off the pitch indicate the possibility of such a fairy tale happening again? Read on.
United have been quite subdued in the transfer market. With the exception of Shinji Kagawa, who moved from Borussia Dortmund for a fee of 13 million pounds, no major player has arrived at Old Trafford. Meanwhile, 19-year old Paul Pogba has made a permanent move to Italian giants Juventus. Berbatov, who is reportedly unhappy with the lack of first-team opportunities, is also expected to leave. Moreover, speculations about a move for the Gunners hit-man Robin van Persie are rife and it seems that United have already seen a bid for the Dutchmen rejected by the Arsenal board. It is rumoured that the North London club are not willing to listen to any offer less than 20 million pounds. It is unlikely that the Old Trafford outfit would match Arsenal’s valuation, given that the 29-year old striker has only a year left in his contract and has had an injury-hit career.
The team’s financial arm looks to ease its debt and monetary obligations by taking the IPO route. The English club is going to list its shares on the New York Stock exchange and each share is priced between $16 and $20. The IPO would help the club raise as much as $350 million, making it the largest ever IPO by a sports club.
Meanwhile, in a bid to consolidate their global brand name, Sir Alex’s team embarked on a world-wide pre-season tour and played against clubs from various countries. They kick-started their pre-season friendlies with a 1-0 win against the South African club AmaZulu and followed it up with a 1-1 draw against Ajax CapeTown. They next travelled to China and were involved in a 1-0 victory over Shanghai Shenhua, new-boy Kagawa scoring his first goal for the club. They conclude their tour in Europe with games against Valeregna, Barcelona and Hannover-96.
For time immemorial, The Red Devils have been in contention for the league title and will continue to do so. The only trouble is, the standard of football in the EPL has increased by a couple of notches and opposition has become stronger and more in number. With as many as four to six clubs in contention this season, United cannot afford any blip or same old story of 2011-12 would repeat itself.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Gokul is a software professional from Chennai, India. An avid sports fan, he is a keen follower of Cricket, Football, Hockey, Tennis and Formula One. He styles his articles as razor-edge analyses of all the hot and happening events in the field of sports.