United selection special

28 July 2009 03:32
MANCHESTER United boss Sir Alex Ferguson claims he will not be making any more signings this summer. With Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez gone, it could be argued that he will have a weakened team with which to defend the Premier League title. Ferguson has brought in Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia who will both battle for a first team shirt along with emerging talents Nani and Federico Macheda - but who will he use? Here, wwww.manchestereveningnews.co.uk rates the potential attacking combinations. Combination one Up front: Owen and Rooney On the wing: Nani and Valencia Ferguson raised a few eyebrows when he signed Owen on a free, but the pre-season tour has proven that the former Liverpool man's instincts are as sharp as ever. Ronaldo has left a major hole where goals are concerned and Owen could be the man to fill the gap. He has played with Rooney at international level and the pair have contrasting styles that could pay dividends. The question for Ferguson is does Owen's all-round game contribute enough? Rooney, for his part, is a must in the attack. On the flanks Nani and Valencia would provide pace and trickery. There are still question marks over Nani - needless touches and inconsistency are still part of his game - but there is no doubting his talent, and he has goals in him. Perhaps a steady run in the side would see the Portuguese star fulfil his potential. Valencia cost Fergie a pretty penny at £18m so the manager clearly rates him - and with good reason. Valencia is tailor made for the Premier League with his pace and directness. He is a hard worker too. Verdict: 8/10 - This combination looks to have goals in it, but at what cost? Combination two Up front: Rooney and Berbatov On the wing: Park and Valencia Berbatov had, by his own admission, an average debut season at United. His ability is there for all to see but his perceived attitude has not been a hit with the fans. One thing will silence the critics: goals. On the wing Park ji-sung can always be relied upon for his tireless work rate. Along with Valencia on the other flank, those two would give any opposition a tough time. A possible worry with these wingers is a lack of creativity, but one of Berbatov and Rooney dropping deep would solve this problem. Verdict: 9/10 - Probably Fergie's safest choice with a good blend of creativity and drive.

Combination three Up front: Rooney and Macheda On the wing: Park and Nani 17-year-old striker Macheda announced himself to the football world with his incredible strike against Aston Villa last season - some would say it was reminiscent of Rooney's thunderbolt as a youngster for Everton against Arsenal's David Seaman. Like Rooney, Macheda is physically mature beyond his years and probably would be ready for life in the Premier League, although to play him week in week out would be an ask. On the flanks, Park and Nani provide a good balance of energy and creativity. Any time Nani gets into a shooting position, particularly cutting in from the left, he looks dangerous. Verdict: 7/10 - It might just be a bit too soon for Macheda, while Nani is still an unknown quantity. Agree with the verdict? Have your say.

Source: Manchester_EveningNews