Following a rare trophy-less campaign last season, many fans and pundits alike expected Sir Alex Ferguson to raid the transfer market this summer in order to bolster his squad, and ensure that his side would pick up more silverware come the end of their 2012/13 season.
And whilst United have certainly done some shrewd business in the summer window, there have not been as many ‘big name’ signings coming through the doors of Old Trafford as were expected. Of course, Robin Van Persie and Shinji Kagawa have already made their mark on the team, the former scoring his first hat-trick in a United shirt against Southampton last weekend, but there are still some key areas in the squad that need addressing, if United are to add more trophies to the already brimming cabinets at Old Trafford.
1. Maarten Stekelenburg
Identified by a report by the Guardian, the Dutchman was named as the favourite to succeed Edwin Van Der Sar in guarding the United goal when he announced his retirement in the 2010-11 season, with even Van Der Sar himself recommending his international team mate as his replacement. Standing at 6ft5, Stekelenberg is an imposing figure when between the sticks, and his athleticism is impressive for a big man. A natural shot-stopper, he has established himself as the first-choice keeper for The Netherlands, and helped guide his side to the final of the 2010 World Cup, conceding only 6 goals in the whole tournament (2 of them being penalty kicks.)
The 29-year-old would add some much needed stability and confidence to the United goal, something which has been lacking in their first 3 games of the season. Whilst David De Gea has pulled off some impressive saves, he is prone to a blunder or two when he plays; his most recent coming in the 3-2 victory over Fulham after a collision with Nemanja Vidic. That mistake cost him his place in goal for United’s next match away to Southampton, a game in which they again conceded two goals.
5 goals conceded in three games is very uncharacteristic of Manchester United, and if they are going to challenge for trophies this season, they will need a cool, confident, experienced keeper between the posts. I have no doubt that De Gea or Lindegaard will be successful in years to come, but if United do not want to suffer another trophy-less season, they require a dominating and presence in goal.
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This article was first posted on September 13, 2012