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Does Tevez Need Replacing? Did Kanchelskis?

Like the opinion on whether we should sign Carlos Tevez permanently is split amongst United fans, I also imagine our thoughts on who we should sign to replace him will vary massively as well.

There’s been talk of Karim Benzema coming in for Tevez for Franck Ribery replacing Cristiano Ronaldo, which has been exciting news for some reds, yet bad news for others. We all have different ideas on what would be the best move for our team.

But how about a move that would keep within the traditions of our great club?

Andrei Kanchelskis left United in the summer of 1995 on the back of disappointing season which saw us miss out on the title by one point (our goal difference was superior to Blackburn’s) and lose 1-0 in the FA Cup final to Everton. We were painfully close to achieving the Double for the second year running.

The fact that Paul Ince and Mark Hughes also left meant that surely United had to spend and replenish the team. Ferguson opted to put his faith in the youngsters though and we are all very familiar with this story.

Before the 1995/1996 season, David Beckham had only made four league appearances and played a total of eleven games in all competitions (mostly League Cup) for Manchester United, but he was seen as the man (or boy) to replace Kanchelskis. Darren Anderton and Marc Overmars (who was still at Ajax) had been linked with the club but their deals never materialised.

United lost the opening game of that season 3-1, which sparked the wise Alan YSB Hansen’s comments about what you will or won’t win with kids. Whilst the scoreline and media reaction are well famed, it’s not that often that our goalscorer’s name that day is mentioned. It was of course David Beckham who grabbed our only goal of the game, with Paul Scholes, who used to play up front back then, and Brian McClair unable to find the back of the net. Beckham had just turned 20 a few months earlier and it was probably fairly disappointing that it would have been inappropriate of him to celebrate his first league goal for his boyhood club with much enthusiasm. It was a consolation goal on a day they all knew they were going to get ripped apart; first by the manager, then by the media.

From what I recall, and my memory is pretty sketchy, Beckham went on to have an alright career after that, no? I believe United went on to win the Double that season, with Becks making 40 appearances for us. The season after that we won the league and he played in 49 games. The season after he played in 50 games. The season after we won the Treble and he played in 55 games, having just turned 24-years-old days before lifting the European Cup in Barcelona.

Now, I’m not for one moment saying we’ll have a repeat of the ‘Fergie Fledgings’, where players of the quality those young lads had all manage to break through in to the first team once. It was fucking fantastic when it happened and they had a great leader in Cantona, as well as the experience of Bruce, Pallister, Irwin etc. to guide them through. Everything was timed to perfection and I don’t imagine those kind of things can happen twice in one lifetime.

However, I am saying it’s time for us to really give our youth a crack at things again. Football has moved on from 1995 and you can’t afford to throw in a load of young kids and hope they prove themselves to be up to it. You simply cannot afford the time we had back then, when we lost 6 matches, only won 25, but still went on to win the league by 4 points. But you can afford to have one or two young lads on the sidelines, ready to take their opportunity when it is given to them.

I’m talking about Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck who should be more than capable of filling the gap Tevez’s possible departure might leave us with.

Had these lads only been doing the business with the Reserves, I think we would be right to be cautious. However, these lads have done it on the big stage, playing with the first team, which means I think they’re certainly ready to be tested more this season.

Welbeck scored 3 goals in 8 starts for United last season, and very few of those starts were for the full 90 minutes. Macheda scored just two goals for United, although both of them were winning goals in the Premiership, earning United four points more than we would have done had he not scored. Given that we won the Premiership by four points with a worse goal difference than the second placed team, I don’t need to go much further in explaining how much of an impact he had on our season!

They probably won’t be good enough to start with, they might not even be good enough at the end of the season, or maybe even ever, but how will we know unless we give them a proper go?

Beckham went from being loaned out to Preston NE one season, to playing 40 games for United’s first team the next. It’s a big jump and players with the right quality are capable of making it. We’ve seen plenty of youngsters come through the ranks, had a go, failed, and be sold off. But Welbeck and Macheda have already given us reason to think they’re worth backing. They’re not just talented players from the youth team, rather players who’ve managed to show how capable they are during the fleeting opportunities they’ve been given to impress.

Berbatov and Rooney would obviously be our starting players and if Ronaldo is around next season I imagine he will be playing a more central role like we saw towards the end of last season in particular. That gives us three options. If they’re injured/suspended, then time to bring on the youth.

If they’re not good enough, then not buying a replacement for Tevez, and therefore back-up for the starting two strikers, could mean we don’t win the league. That would be bitterly disappointing, particularly if Liverpool are the ones to get their grubby mits on our trophy. However, I strongly believe sometimes you have to take risks like that. Our club has taken risks on young players for decades and after struggling to produce top quality talent for some time, surely we should be grabbing the opportunity to allow Macheda and/or Welbeck to make it with both hands.

There aren’t too many 19-year-olds scoring goals like this on their debut. Let alone for Manchester United in front of the Stretford End. There aren’t too many 17-year-olds marking their debut with a goal like this, particularly in front of the Stretford End, playing for United.

So, it’s time to be brave. “If they’re good enough, they’re old enough” said the great Sir Matt. It’s time to give Welbeck and Macheda the chance to prove that is the case for them.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. jcolas says:

    I agree, while Tevez has experience NOW. Kiko and Welbeck have great potential, work hard, and of course want to be here. Also, they will not complain about not starting because they will be happy just to be dressing for most games. Oh yeah and no ‘mystery’ fees to their agents.

  2. corea says:

    let’s hope not only SAF will go for it but it will pay off eventually.
    we all would hope it to be true. everyone of us who have a little bit of romanticism in them.

  3. Hughsie88 says:

    Would be nice. I rate Welbeck, Macheda needs a lot more time, especially to get his head in order, as opposed to trying too hard. Petrucci is meant to be shaping up quite nicely as well. Morrison is apparently lighting up in the U-18s.

    Welbeck is most promising for next season, as Fergie says, once he fills out he could be a 6″3, strong, pacey finishing machine – who’s a united fan!

  4. Hughsie88 says:

    also, the Club could do with saving a bit of cash at the minute, as I am worried about the Glazer tinted future.

  5. Kings says:

    Both have looked comfortable integrating into our style of play and system. I say give them a chance next season.

  6. Costas says:

    I want to see Danny and Kiko succeed as much as every United fan,but it is a different game than what it was in 95.Back then,money wasn’t that big a deal in football.From what i recall,Arsenal bought Bergkamp,Chelsea bought Hughes and Liverpool bought Collymore but other than that,they didn’t make any other significant signings.Alan Hansen’s comments about not winning anything with kids might have been ludicrous in 95, but today they make sense.If Rooney or Berbatov get injured,we will have to depend on these youngsters.It would be a risk and if we do go through with it,i hope it works.

  7. montanaaa says:

    i admire tevez work rate but lets be honest overall he is a poor mans wayne rooney….i would love us to give the two young lads a chance next year

  8. Gazza says:

    Ye good article

  9. Tre says:

    I would love to see them get more of a chance. Truth is, it’s incredibly difficult to keep 3 top-class strikers happy. That’s one reason 1999 was such a success, we had four! But you really can’t expect that to happen. If Tevez leaves it would be the perfect opportunity for Welbeck and Macheda (I rate Welbeck higher, personally) to play the role of the third striker, coming on mostly as subs, filling in for midweek games or when there’s an injury. We shall see.

  10. montanaaa says:

    one more thing whoever writes these articles…i know this is irrelevant….i would love to know your opinion on the recent news about how utd have links with this organisation called ‘traffic’. apparently utd will have 1st choice on the best players in south america

  11. King Eric says:

    Good article Scott, my response of sorts was done prior to seeing this. It is on the Benzema one I think. Keep it in the United family I say.

  12. cat-alan says:

    tick tick tick gose the clock. nothing good lasts forever!

  13. Sketch says:

    I really hope Fergie gives both players a chance. I dont think we need to sign any top striker this summer. Lets just wait and see how they cope until January if they dont perform then we should try to sign Huntelaar.

  14. Besher says:

    If we had lots of money and no debts i’d opt to buy him ;kiko and danny can still have the chance to play they r still too young .beckham was 20 they r 18.but because of our finance proplems i want us to pay our debts as soon as possible . Lets save the money we would pay carlos and his salary and the benefits we would pay to the banks . I love him and will always love him and i dont think he would sign for citeh coz he knows how much we love him.

  15. Saha ha ha says:

    Macheda reminds me of Totti which isn’t a bad thing at all. He can prove to be better than that, but I think he has all the makings to be a big target man that we are crying out for, Tevez, Rooney, Berbatov all very talented players, but Mecheda even at 17 looks like he will become a powerhouse upfront. Wellbeck, I think is so skillfull and runs with the ball so well, I think we’ll see him, Nani (if he stays) Tosic and Park fighting it out for a place on the wing.

  16. spriter says:

    I really have the feeling that Welbeck is ready to step up, but not Macheda yet.. Welbeck is 19 next season, and i think he fits the bill.. he is a different player than Rooney and Berba.. Would not be wise to buy Benzema.. then Welbecks chance will be heavily reduced.. Hmm! wished Welbeck was 20 by now..

  17. confoundedbridge says:

    Totti and Macheda are pretty different. Totti is a classic number 10 playmaker, Macheda is a straight forward striker, although who knows how he may develop.

  18. stretford972 says:

    just think need to be careful, if throw em in too early, you can ruin a player’s confidence for the rest of his career. Also, in my opinion, the premier league is a lot stronger now than it was when scholes, et al broke through and you can’t afford to drop as many points and there’s also likely to be more games. personally, i’d bring in dzeko from wolfsburg, you’ll get him for 12-15mil, is young, 6 foot 3, strong,scores goals for fun, is an out and out striker and is available after gettin pissed off coz the coach left for bayern munich. just reckon when you pay a bit less, your not under pressure to play him

  19. corea says:

    ” after gettin pissed off coz the coach left for bayern munich”

    Schalke ) just shows how you know the player ;)

  20. cat-alan says:

    you couldn’t get dzeko because city will out bid you and pay more wages, they’re gonna put a noose on the prem by putting up the wage barrier even beyond the likes of chelsea. with utd’s debt there will come a time in the future where even the might of man utd cannot cope with the financial muscle of the blues and then the glory will be where you would not expect it. tick tick tick you cannot stop the clock. nothing good lasts forever and its a long way to fall from the top, like wise its a long way to go before you reach the top! don’t bury your head in the sand what is happening across the road is more construtive than the planning that went into chelsea.

  21. AlexOfMancunia says:

    I would say Petrucci is more of the Totti type player. Classic number 10.

    I only want us to go for Benzema if Ronaldo goes, as Ronnie can add as extra cover up front if we need him. I would be more comfortable with us playing Welbeck out wide and Ronaldo up top in the more crucial games than giving Kiko or Danny the responsibility of leading the line if Rooney and Berba aren’t available.

  22. MKL says:

    I would say that don’t buy Tevez, but get Valencia (or of course in the Fantasy Manager, Ribery). His work rate is as good and he does have probably even more potential at the moment.

    Plus, this would sometimes free Ronaldo to be used more centrally where he is as lethal as he is on the wing. (Rooney and Valencia on the wings and Ronaldo-Berbatov up front – bring on the magic stuff :)

    In any case, Fergie knows best. I just don’t like Tevez attitude towards the manager and team anymore. If he really respects, he would have dealt things differently.

    Cheerio Carlitos.

  23. toby says:

    whats goin on with manuncho?

  24. gotta hate tiny tears says:

    oh my busby i forgot thats scholes played up front when he started
    great vision from sir alex again to see the greatest place for a player
    trust when he tinkers with where rooney starts
    sir alex knows

  25. FusilliJerry says:

    Of course we’d all love to see another 95-96 ie winning everything with kids, but there’s an importance difference from then to now.

    Then: if we hadn’t won the league, the barcodes would have. Wouldn’t have been nice but wouldn’t have been the end of the world.

    Now: if we don’t win the league, Cesspool might.

    That must never, ever, ever, be allowed to happen again, we cannot afford to risk a few Arsenal-like years of transition waiting for boys to become men if the meantime pure evil is allowed to assume power.

    We need players at the peak of their powers NOW and ready to do the business from Day 1. We need the guy from Valencia to realise there’s life beyond Spain. We need David Villa.

  26. JackenDasGrock says:

    I dont think we need to buy a winger especially with the signings of tosic and ljajic and the sheer number of players who are wingers and can fit in well out of position on the wing. However i think benzema would be a great addition, fitting him into the rotation system would be a lot more difficult than with tevez even.

  27. King Eric says:

    MKL – “Rooney and Valencia on the wings” I have to disagree, I hate seeing Wayne playing on the wing, he is not made for that. He is a fuckin powerhouse who can grab a game by the scruff and he should be playing where he is best, centrally in the hole. As for Valencia I just don’t see the hype with him. Not at all. Its one thing doing ok at Wigan than playing for the best club in the World. He will be no better than Nani. Also there is not a chance we will go for him if Ronnie is up top as you suggested mate.

  28. stretford972 says:

    shalke even! Klinsmann got sacked not 2 long ago.i get confused.i like the david villa shout as well,will cost you more but he’s proven and can plan either side of a front 3,reckon he’ll end up in madrid with david silva.another who would love to see in a united shirt

  29. Drew Vader says:

    I’m surprised to find that my opinion on here differs from most, I actually rate Kiko a lot higher than Danny… Oh well, who the F knows.

  30. Anon says:

    my views precisely Scot!
    I think our sub-18 players are probably the most talented bunch going around in the premiership, maybe even Europe. We have to give them the time in the first eleven to get the best out of them and take complete advantage of our stunningly aggressive youth policy.
    The future in my opinion, belongs to clubs who can spot the right talent at a young age and manage to keep hold of it for long. With the Kaka’s and Ronaldo’s of the world costing as much as they are, and the plethora of clubs who can afford them, the competition is too hot for everyone to keep delving into the transfer market.
    In the 90s only 3 or 4 clubs could have afforded spending 30-40 million pounds on a single player! Madrid, Barcelona and Milan could hence afford to stay at the top even if they didn’t produce great players from their backyard everytime.
    But now apart from just those three, we have added ourselves, Chelsea, ManCity to the mix, and more clubs could join, for example Portsmouth.
    If we are to stay ahead of the competition we have to take risks like giving Welbeck, Macheda and the Da Silva twins a go.
    I guess Fergie is thinking along these very lines, which is why we are the only top European club who are yet to be linked with a mega money move for a huge star.
    Neither the manager or the CEO have even hinted at anything, unlike at Chelsea, Citeh, Madrid or Milan.
    I think all signs point toward this, and if things continue like this, in terms of pricing of football talent, there is going to be a seismic shift of power in the footballing world

  31. the Count says:

    @stretford @corea – I live in germany and Dzeko has been one of the surprises of the season- I wouldn´t call him an out and out striker though he played more of a roaming role just in front of the midfield (as Berba did at Leverkusen). He is a good player though and worth 10 million of anybodys money… The only prob with players from the bundesliga is their fitness, they only play about 40-45 games a year and have a 5-6 weeks break over Christmas and the new year…

  32. ROJO RED ROT ROUGE says:

    In these times of ludicrous money being discussed for so-called established talent I can only echo the sentiment of this excellent article.
    United have a tradition in playing the youthfully exuberent ranks. Fergies fledglings proved that age is absolutely no barrier to the ability to win. A great team is more than the sum of its parts and that is why Citeh will have an assembly of mercenaries who have no affiliation of any worth other than the weekly paycheck that lured them to wastelands in the first place. It is HEART that wins the big prize and if your heart aint in it….
    Welbeck for one has all the Heart in the world when it comes to Manchester United – a true Red from Salford who would be living the dream and fighting every time he put on the shirt to keep his and our dream alive.
    Lets do it, lets use this season to give the likes of Danny Wellbeck and Kiko lots of opportunity to prove they are not the future but the present United greats.
    Bank the Ronaldo money, save the Tevez fee and put it all to use in developing the youth project – imagine what an investment of 100million pounds now would reap in 5 years time, 10 years time , 15years time and beyond……
    Arm Giggs, Neville , Solskjaer and Scholes with full backing and financing to set up the future of our great club. They have all been brought through the ranks and have the sort of expeerience that is unique to Manchester United and not available to any other club in the world, They have done everything possible within a Football club from boyhood through manhood and now beyond.
    The chinese have what they call 1000 year old stock. Each time they cook up a new batch of stock they put in a little of the last pot so that there is always something from the original stock pot recipe going back a thousand years. This should be Uniteds strategy to continue the best of our stock being the flavour of our future for ever and ever.
    We will never tire of the sweet taste of victory and will always hate the bitter taste of defeat. Now is the time to dwarf everyones spending. Not on overpriced players like they value Ribery and others, they are good but they are nowhere near value for money. Lets not spend a fortune lets invest one.

  33. Red_Ruth says:

    Facists are just tying to save face now because they know that the Ronaldo deal is not gonna happen. Fucking Pricks…. go tap up Wenger and leave Ronnie alone

  34. RedHarry4Life says:

    Good morning world.

    I agree and I disagree. Yes I think we have some wondewrful talent coming through at the minute. Not quite ready.

    Lets fast forward to say CL Semi final against madrid/Barca/Milan/the Shits..whoever. Tevez let go and no replacement in the summer. Ronnie suspended. We go into that game with KIKO and Danny up front? Who would we have on the bench as back up? Huge risk.

    I think next season should be a learning season for Kiko and Danny with more games and told that they are the starting League cup forwards, told that they are to go and win it again for us. Before Christmas I would have said that Danny was the better of the two. But since then Kiko has really come along. They are both going to get bigger physically and I think in a couple of seasons could be regular 1st choices up front.

    Haven’t we signed some 16yrs old Brazlian and nicked a French “wonderkid” from under Arshole’s nose recently. We have the serbian boy Lljanic coming next season and he does look good, put these along with the youngsters coming through like Petrucci, Morrison, Josh King,
    James, Cleverly etc. The futurte looks great.

    English by birth UNITED by the GRACE of GOD!!!!!!!

  35. Anon says:

    RedHarry: its Ljajic mate.

  36. mo says:

    I agree! Spot on Scott

  37. cat-alan says:

    and tick gose the clock. time is the thing you fear!


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