United Invest in the Future

As other Premiership clubs throw around silly money for players whose prices have been highly inflated, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been more canny, buying three young players.

This sees Ferguson investing in the future, a future which will not involve him forever.

The first two of Ferguson’s new young guns are the Serbian pair Zoran Tosic and Adam Ljajic, both from Partizan Belgrade.

Tosic has gone straight into the first team squad, as he is the more experience of the pair. Tosic, 21, has made 12 international appearances for Serbia and has been described by United’s scouting staff as ‘a stylish player consistent with the traditions and legacy of wide players at the club.’

A bold statement indeed, considering the calibre of wide players who have put on the United shirt over the years. One comparison includes Ryan Giggs. Interestingly, Giggs has hinted at retirement in a recent interview - perhaps Tosic’s arrival does spell the end of Giggs’ United career. At the very least it seems as if Ferguson has signed Tosic as a long-term replacement for the Welshman, despite Ji Sung Park’s energetic recent performances on the wing for United.

What this means for Nani is another interesting issue, as he was hailed as a replacement for Giggs when he arrived at Old Trafford in 2007. However Nani has struggled to work his way into the starting 11 for most of his tenure, but played an important part in United’s 2-0 FA Cup Third Round victory against Southampton last weekend.

The starlet is expected to make his first team bow in the coming weeks as United try to cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Barclays Premiership.

Even younger though is the second of the Serbian twosome, Adam Ljajic.

Ljajic, just 17, has been sent back to Belgrade on loan for the rest of the season.

The third, and most recent, signing is 20-year-old Belgian defender Richie De Laet from Stoke.

De Laet joined the Premiership strugglers in 2007 from Manchester United’s feeder club, Royal Antwerp. However, he never played for the Potters, only being named on the substitutes’ bench a handful of times.

Last October he was sent on loan to Blue Square Premier side Wrexham, only for his time with the Welsh club to be cut short by a hernia operation.

The Belgian, known to this writer only after having signed him on Football Manager, De Laet has gone straight into the Reserves squad under the tutelage of Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and his assistant Warren Joyce, himself a former Antwerp manager.

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