Fergie strikes the right balance with new-look side
For clubs at the top of the Premier League, loans are more often than not used to ship out players who aren’t wanted, or to blood young stars with a view to giving them league experience. With the very top clubs, who have the funds available to buy in the players they need, it’s often the case that these young players end up leaving the big clubs and moving to other sides slightly lower down the division, or into the Football League, in order to get regular first team football.
But at the very top of the tree, Sir Alex Ferguson has used the full range of recruitment options in order to build the new generation of stars at Manchester United.
He’s spent big, bringing in the likes of Phil Jones from Blackburn and Ashley Young from Aston Villa.
But he’s also brought through young players from United’s youth setup. He’s done it consistently down the years. The most notable graduates in this season’s first team are striker Danny Welbeck and midfielder Tom Cleverley.
Both came through the youth system and were loaned out to Championship clubs before progressing to loan spells with Premier League sides.
Before impressing everybody at Sunderland, Welbeck had a short stint at Preston North End, while Cleverley had a successful spells with Leicester City and Watford before his Premier League loan stint with Wigan Athletic.
Meanwhile defender Chris Smalling, signed from Fulham, was allowed to remain with the Cottagers for half a season before joining United’s ranks.
The trio of former loanees, along with new boy Jones, form the backbone of a new-look United side this season.
Sure, they’ve spent big, but they’ve also brought players through. When compared with Arsenal (obsessed with bringing young players through, but not signing proven quality) and Man City (signing star names left, right and centre) it’s clear to see Sir Alex has approached this season with a real balance to his team building.
There’s every chance it’ll pay off with title number 20 in May.