The news that Tom Cleverley will be out until after Christmas with an injured ankle should generate disappointment and alarm in and around Old Trafford
Sir Alex Ferguson today confirmed that Cleverley’s injury, sustained at Everton, is much worse than first suspected and the highly promising youngster will be out of action until the new year. It’s a hammer blow to United because, although Cleverley has only played a handful of games, he already looks like the best midfield option that United have. Anderson is currently off form and sporadic at the best of times, while Fletcher and Carrick plod along without offering the sort of dynamic threat that United’s midfield had in their heyday. Other than them, United can only look to Giggs or an untried and colitsh Paul Pogba in the middle. Park could also be described as an emergency option in the centre. But it was hoped that, after failing to sign a big player for that position in the summer, Tom Cleverley would continue his great progress and play many games for United this year. He is more dynamic and progressive than his counterparts at Old Trafford and offers something fresh and different to the side. But, by the time her returns , he will have missed half of the season, by which time United may have dropped more crucial points in the title race.
Ever since Jack Rodwell got into the team at Everton, there has been speculation about his departure to a bigger club. Most of that speculation has suggested that the big club will be Manchester Untied, although their apparent interest seems to have cooled in the last year or so, with Chelsea becoming a more prominent name on the lips of Rodwell speculators.
Rodwell may not be the first pick of most United fans. They would perhaps hope instead to sign a midfield magician – someone who is all about guile and craft, in the mould of Modric, Snejider or Benfica’s Gaitan. However, on further inspection, the case for buying Rodwell is compelling.
Rodwell is a jack of all trades. He is good at pretty much everything expected of a modern midfielder. He is fast, energetic, unselfish and intelligent. He likes to go forward and has already scored some great goals for Everton in his fledgling career. Despite a fluffed header on Tuesday night, which should have been goalbound, Rodwell again impressed for England with his athleticism and technique. He showed real class on the ball and has made a great case for inclsuon in the Euro 2012 squad. Rodwell is also eligible for the Champions League, meaning that United could buy him in January and involve him in all the big games. Furthermore, Rodwell is young and would fit perfectly into United’s purchasing parameters because, even if he fails at Old Trafford, he would still have a decent sell on value due to his age. Indeed, if he does get into the England squad and has a great Euro 2012 his value will rocket. So now seems to be the perfect time to snatch him.
I have always thought that Rodwell is the real deal. Injuries have hindered his momentum in the last year, but now he looks mature enough to play in most sides. He would be an excellent long term addition to a United side with a weak midfield and Sir Alex could do a lot worse than to invest in the Evertonian sooner rather than later if league and European aspirations are to become reality this season.