When the £80m transfer deal for Cristiano Ronaldo was confirmed United fans were writing out their shopping list of players they wanted Sir Alex Ferguson sign. We could do with another winger, another central midfielder, another striker, maybe a right-back, but our transfer kitty meant we could buy as many players as we wanted.

Then the summer whizzed by, the transfer deadline passed and a lot of United fans were left wanting. Antonio Valencia has had a good start (forgetting his performance against Arsenal), Michael Owen will get your goals and on a free you can hardly complain, and then there’s some French kid, Obertan, who Larry White was very surprised to see us sign. Regardless, when we’d been thinking about the Benzema’s and Ribery’s of the transfer market, you couldn’t help but feel at least a slight pang of disappointment.

Some have claimed it’s because of the debt we haven’t spent, whilst Sir Alex Ferguson says it’s down to a crazy transfer market, with fees massively inflated thanks to the likes of Real Madrid and City. Given that Bayern Munich were asking for €100 million to sign Ribery, then you have to think it’s probably better to bide our time than spend way over the odds on someone we could get cheaper next summer.

Still, whilst you might be disappointed with our dealings in the transfer market, we should thank our lucky stars we’re not stuck in Chelsea’s position!

FIFA have banned Chelsea from registering anyone in the next two transfer windows, meaning they can’t buy anyone until January 2011.

French club Lens made an official complaint over Chelsea’s signing of their young player Gael Kakuta in 2007, just two years after they were fined £300k and given a three point deduction suspended sentence for tapping up Ashley Cole.

Whilst this would be a pretty devastating blow for any club, it will likely effect Chelsea more than any club in top four, given the age of their best and most effective players.

By the time Chelsea can buy again: Frank Lampard will be approaching his 33rd birthday, Michael Ballack will be 33, Drogba will be two months short of his 33rd birthday, Deco will be 33, Anelka will be two months short of his 32rd birthday, John Terry, Ashley Cole and Malouda will be 30, Joe Cole will be 29, Michael Essien, Bosingwa and Petr Cech will be 28 and so on. In fact, of the current (21 man) squad, the only players who will be 27 and younger by the time they can buy again are Sturridge, Kalou, Mikel, Turnball, Ivanovic and Hutchinson!

Of course, Chelsea do have the likes of Michael Mancienne, Franco di Santo, Scott Sinclair and Slobodan Rajkovic to return from loan, but as yet, none of them have proved their worth in the first team. They could be great but equally, they could be shit. The loan period away tends to make or break players and we’ve seen plenty not good enough for United this way, and we have a successful and long established youth system.

Sir Alex Ferguson did question the age of the squad last summer when Chelsea pushed us to the final day of the season. They of course refuted this claim but went on to finish third the following season having never really challenged for the title. Given they haven’t strengthened their squad much at all this summer, it does make you wonder what they are going to be like by the time their transfer bid has been lifted.

The worry, of course, is that they have been dealt with more severely because they are an English club, which tends to be the general theme for our footballing bodies. It speaks volumes that UEFA have just confirmed they will not be reviewing any more cases of diving, following their dishing out of a two match ban to Arsenal’s Eduardo! Clearly they didn’t want to be put in a position where they had to hand out a ban to a Real Madrid or AC Milan player!

No big team in Europe has a totally clean nose where transfers are concerned, but for some reason Chelsea keep getting caught. Keep up on the good Peter Kenyon!




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