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Don’t Go To The Middle East, Come To United

Schalke have today confirmed that legend Raul will be leaving the club on a free at the end of the season after two years in Germany. He was offered a contract from them but decided it was time to move on.

After an incredible career with Real Madrid, spending sixteen years in the first team, Raul was no longer first choice so decided it was time to leave. He has done brilliantly well with Schalke, scoring 19 goals last season and 20 goals this. According to Opta, during his time in Germany, Raúl has started more matches (95) and played more minutes (8287) than any other Schalke player, which indicates there’s still plenty of life left in him yet.

This morning, the papers have linked him with a move to Qatar, where he would likely receive a £7.5million four-year deal but I would love him to come to United.

Last summer, Ferguson admitted he thought about trying to sign Raul when he left Spain but felt it was unnecessary because we brought in Michael Owen.

“We do prefer to sign young players as a rule but when you get an opportunity to sign experience like that you’ve got to have a look at it,” Ferguson said. “You can make exceptions for certain players, because experience is so valuable. We thought the same when we signed Michael Owen, who has been a terrific professional for us, and bringing in Raúl would have been similar to when we managed to get Henrik Larsson for a short time a few years ago. It was obvious his time at Real Madrid had come to an end, and he certainly wasn’t too old to be effective, as he has been showing in Germany. We spoke to his agent about a possible move but we already had Javier Hernández by then and, with Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen available, we thought we could afford to let the chance pass. If we hadn’t had Michael at the club at the time I might well have signed him.”

Hopefully Michael Owen will leave this summer, Dimitar Berbatov sadly almost certainly will, and there’s every chance Federico Macheda will too, after yet another unnsuccessful loan. Raul has shown in Germany that he’s still got it and the experience he could provide on the training ground would be incredible.

Wayne Rooney would certainly get the nod ahead of him but he could probably still give Danny Welbeck or Chicharito a run for their money. At his age, he obviously wouldn’t be able to play every game, but if he’s banging the goals in still in Germany, there’s no reason why he couldn’t do it here.

When United played Schalke in the Champions League last season, Raul acknowledged the contact between himself and United, despite never speaking to the manager himself, and claimed he liked the idea of playing in England.

“I love the footballing culture there, the respect for the game, the atmosphere, the intensity,” he said. “I’ve been at Old Trafford, Arsenal, at Liverpool watching Fernando Morientes and it’s special. I fancied the idea. I wanted to try something different.”

If Raul wants to end his career in Qatar or USA to bring in the big money, fine, but at 34-years-old, surely we could get a season or two out of him first. He has a job waiting for him at Real Madrid once his playing career is over but it would be incredible to have a legend like him in our shirt before then.


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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116 Comments

  1. wayne says:

    Cedars that was the point of my first post if he comes knowing apart from injuries his playing time will be ltd would be a good player to have on the bench with no downside as far as I can see. Much rather Berba stay but just don’t see that happening

  2. parryheid says:

    If available,Nab him

  3. United says:

    Raul > Owen

    Please dont dare compare them.

    Love Raul!

  4. dannysoya LOVES SIAN MASSEY says:

    If Michael Owen leaves the club then yeah sure we can get Raul in.

  5. Costas says:

    At 34 I believe Raul would accept being a squad player. That’s not the issue for me though. Would he adjust to the English style of play at his age? At least Larsson had spent years in the Scottish League. Raul has never played in England.

    @denton

    I love how you always explain how you’re a Berbasceptic and how that differentiates you from Berbalovers and Berbahaters. :lol:

    Anyway, I’d agree with you that Berbatov should have featured more, even if it was just on the bench. As much as some want to disguise it as Berbaloving or Berbaweeping, the simple truth is that the other strikers could have benefited more from his presence. For Danny and Javier it would have been more competition to keep them on their toes. And for Rooney it would have been a chance to catch his breath (i.e. there was no reason for him to play against Bilbao).

    Anyway, what’s done is done and hopefully it hasn’t been too costly as far as title #20 is concerned.

  6. Jay says:

    Raul is better than welbeck and Hernandez on current form and I wouldn’t advise him to come if he were made 4th choice he is too good for that.

  7. denton davey says:

    Kanchelskis @ 14:39: “who would have predicted Fletcher’s illness? Hargreaves’s complete physical failure? Anderson’s injury problems? Imagine those three all fit and ready over the last few years … you can sprinkle a couple of FA cups and probably the league we lost by one point into the mix, if not necessarily the Champions Leagues. Is that really not good enough for you?”

    Spot on.

    Samuel @ 15:19: “I have a feeling FERGIE is waiting for the likes of pogba, cleverly, petrucci and many other youths to step into the breach of the midfield.”

    I’d agree – we have no idea of what playerX’s “ceiling” is likely to be. Cases-in-point: DarrenFletcherinho and Jonny Evans. SAF sees these kids develop, monitors their progress, and, most importantly, gets to know them. In that regard, I reckon that Ravel Morrison’s “treachery” (or immaturity !) must have been a real downer for him but, having tried everything else, tough-love was the only recourse.

  8. denton davey says:

    Jay @ 17:08: “Raul is better than welbeck and Hernandez on current form and I wouldn’t advise him to come if he were made 4th choice he is too good for that.”

    The key word is “current” – will he be better than those guys next year or the year after ?

  9. Saad says:

    I completely agree with this article. I was thinking the same thing just a couple of days ago. With Owen and Berbatov likely to not be retained and Kiko not having developed as expected, that leaves us with three full-time strikers: Rooney, Welbeck and Chicharito. We definitely need a fourth striker and I think it must be someone with tremendous experience and proven quality: Raul and Ruud fit that description, as do some other strikers around Europe. In the two years that this “experienced” striker would play for United, Will Keane will have developed into something really special. It’s almost certain that WKeane will go on loan next season and I hope it is to a Premier League club with a shortage of strikers so that Will can get anything above 25 games, with at least 10 of them as starts.

    I really hope Will Keane makes the grade at United. It would be awesome if our future strike-force was made up two lads who came up through the Academy: Welbeck-WKeane

  10. Denton Davey says:

    Saad @ 18:27: “We definitely need a fourth striker”

    Think outside the 4-4-2 box.

    Assuming that you’re right and that Dimmy, LittleMikey and KikoTheKid all are goners – that leaves TheWayneBoy, DannyTheLad, and Chicharito. All three can play “lead-the-line”/”point of the attack” strikers but Chicharito isn’t suited to playing in the hole so there’s some flexibility in that group.

    NOW, getting outside the 4-4-2 box gives other options – SirRyanGiggs, Nani, Ashley Young and even Anderson (!) can play as the withdrawn striker, in the hole, in case of emergencies. Maybe – ??? – this is also relevant in regards to the rumours about Nicolas Gaitan. Maybe SAF is looking to re-organize the way the team attacks.

    In addition, of course, Will Keane looks like he has the right stuff and he might benefit more from training with the big boys and playing in the cup competitions rather than playing for one of the perpetual dead-men-walking like Wigan/Bolton/Blackburn – who knows ?

    The point I want to make is that UTD’s squad is plenty deep enough to get by with just three “recognized strikers”.

    If you’d ask me – and who does ? – I’d probably not be averse to keeping Dimmy around as “insurance” but it seems that SAF doesn’t think like that.

  11. Marq says:

    I think all of us are tired of Berbatov being the topic. Whilst there are haters and supporters, I believe the 1 thing all of us agree, is that he should have had more time, even if its only on the bench.

    To give Pogba a place on the bench just to pacify him, at the expense of Berbatov, is just wrong, very very wrong. If Pogba does decide to go to Juventus, Berbatov of all people should be the first to give him a punch.

  12. kev e says:

    I think if Berbatov was happy not playing much, and took a pay cut they’d bite his hand off for him to stay. But he needs to play, he’s too young to play as little as he is. SAF is ruthless with the team and if he doesn’t think Berbs is brInging anything to the party then he won’t get played. But he is very understanding outside of this, over the years we have let lots of very talented squad players leave because they’re not playing a lot but have got the ability to contribute more elsewhere… P Nev, Butt, Cole, even Sheasy, Wes and Gibbo. I think Berba fits in to that, and that’s why he’s going.

    Raul would be perfect if he accepts that he’s there to push the other strikers on, play a few games, come on a sub and so on…. which to be fair is what Micky hss done when he’s fit. Been a model professional and never once complained about being further down the line. Great impact from the bench too.

  13. Saad says:

    @Denton

    I believe a fourth striker is absolutely necessary not because of the formation we play but simply based on experience. Injuries, drop in form and the inevitable fact that we’ll go deep in all three knock-out competitions means that we’re gonna need four strikers. Three strikers will leave us short-handed.

  14. Snoopy says:

    We want Raul!

  15. enzophonics says:

    Off the Raul topic for a bit, wondering if our other youth players will make the step up; Ollie Norwood,Matty James,Brady,Brown and Wooton?
    Regards the Italians, we have a great young bunch coming along nicely – Fornasier & Massaccci apart from Petrucci.
    On Raul topic, win-win. If United are indeed after some more Spanish players, then he would be a great assest in that aspect as well.
    How good is Porto’s Carrico btw!

  16. @samriley9 says:

    Raul is a Manc.

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