Saturday 17 March 2018

Fergie ready for new era

Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson
John Greene

John Greene

The extent of the close-season clear-out at Manchester United is significant on three fronts.

Firstly, it does not seem that retirement for Alex Ferguson is on the cards as he sets about rebuilding the first team squad for at least the fifth time. Secondly, the manner of a second humiliating Champions League final defeat in three years to Barcelona has left scars which Ferguson appears convinced can only be healed by a major squad overhaul. And thirdly, in order to buy, Ferguson must sell to reduce the wage bill.

Back-up goalkeeper Tomas Kuszczak, defender Wes Brown, midfielders Darron Gibson and the injury-plagued Owen Hargreaves are certainties to leave, while Paul Scholes has retired and Bebe's fairytale is over -- he has been shipped to Besiktas.

More departures will follow to make way for -- and pay for -- new arrivals. John O'Shea looks to be on his way with the emergence of Fabio and Chris Smalling and Phil Jones' imminent arrival.

With six first-team strikers following the return from loan of Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck, expect at least one to be shipped off, with Macheda and Dimitar Berbatov the two most vulnerable. And there may well be at least two midfield signings, including Ashley Young, meaning more marquee names could be added to the exodus. It truly is changed times at Old Trafford.

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