The pre season tournament in Munich was going to be highly significant for me. Not because of the debut of Antonio Valencia. But because we would finally get to see Owen Hargreaves, back training with United. For me, he may well have been our most important player next season..but not now.
Doubts and rumours about fitness now dictate that Hargreaves may be out until Christmas. This would be a silent disaster for United. We know that the club have plenty of bodies in the midfield department to cover until Santa rides his slay. However, I felt and still do, that our Number 4 was the key to another title success this season. This is not only because of his stopping power a la Keane. But also because of his drive forward and his progressive nature.
So this all poses the question: "What do we do next?"
Sir Alex could always hedge his bets and rely on what he has. Lets face it, its still a formidable midfield..maybe not Iniesta/Xavi formidable, but right up there with most. Darron Gibson is improving fast and there are great signs that he is nearly ready to play a walk on part in this season's show. Fletcher will give us consistency. Carrick will give us vision. Anderson will give us flair. And I haven't even mentioned Giggs or Scholes. But I still get a pang of the jitters when i think of Hargreaves missing..that we need something MORE. Fergie will probably wait for him, but as the transfer window loomingly starts to close, I would go for one specific player. A player not on the radar of Madrid.
That player is Luka Modric.
Now i know that he does not have the physical fight that Hargreaves has. But I'm more than comfortable that Fletcher will provide that. What he does have is the sort of BRAIN we need. The brain that Paul Scholes brought to us (and still does occasionally) The eye to spring an attack. To arrive late into the box. The sort of player that defines the word 'elusive'. Last season proved to me that Modric can hack the Premier League. When he joined Spurs, I questioned his strength and size. English midfields are unforgiving. There is no space to be carried. However, he proved me wrong. His displays were both exciting and intelligent..equally happy playing wide, central, or in the hole. He is a combination of elements we do not currently have in one single, solitary player.....when you take Hargreaves out of the picture.
I think Modric would be a raging success at United. He plays the game the right way...The United Way! He would slip into any of the systems that we play. The huge catch point as ever is money. Now did any of us, hand on heart, think Michael Carrick was worth £18 million? No. But his contribution to the cause has been excellent. He has continued to improve. His transfer fee now means nothing. Its been paid back with success. Modric would probabaly cost over the £20 million mark. As ever, a filthy amount of money...but, is it in the grand scheme of things? I'm not one of those that believe that just because we have a Ronaldo size amount of money in the bank that we should just throw it about, like a Salford wideboy. But if they can get the fee right (and Spurs ALWAYS sell when you get the fee right) then Modric would be ours.
I sincerely hope that Hargreaves makes it back. I truly do. But as i consider my own fantasy league options as i study English football's pre seasons, the boss must be considering his own.
The option of Modric versus the cash we would pay for him is a most attractive one.
Luka Modric's value: equivalent in Pounds Stirling to Ronaldo's arse...