Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard has been hawking himself around Europe’s top clubs, and a first-half hat-trick in his final game for Lille won’t have made him any cheaper.
Hazard is apparently demanding a £200,000-a-week contract for his services which no doubt the likes of Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City would be happy to pay.
But it seems to scupper any possibility of Manchester United securing their top transfer target as yet another summer passes by when the Red Devils owners, the Glazers, starve the club of any significant summer signings.
Not since Dimitar Berbatov arrived on deadline day in August 2009 have United really made a statement in the transfer market, with underwhelming purchases the norm ever since.
United supporters refer to the spending policy as “Glazernomics” – an insistence on finding supposed value in the market with cheaper signings and smaller wages.
Now, it would be folly to advocate United giving into Hazard and stumping up the obscene amount of cash he’s demanding, but they do need to meet in the middle somewhere.
If United do secure Nick Powell then it could be a real coup given the talented youngster’s potential, but it smacks of last summer all over again when Sir Alex Ferguson brought in David De Gea and Phil Jones instead of Wesley Sneijder.
The Old Trafford club need signings who are world class now, not potentially in four or five years, and Hazard still has a lot to prove – at only 21 he represents a huge gamble.
Speculation seems to have cooled on Shinji Kagawa with Borussia Dortmund apparently asking for £20million now, but his wages and transfer fee would be still be a lot less than Hazard.
It would be unrealistic to think United have the money to take a risk on players like Hazard any more, so it’s Kagawa they should be going for.
United look to have won the race to sign Crewe attacker Powell, and it’s the perfect move for the talented teenager.
Many are of the school of thought that an emerging starlet should spend more time getting first-team experience while they can before making the step up.
But there is no better place than Old Trafford, as a youngster, to learn your trade – it has been proven time and again that if a player develops, regardless of his age, he will be given the chance.
With 15 goals in 44 appearances from an attacking midfield role, as the Railwaymen have surged into the League Two play-off final, Powell is hugely talented and also a provider of many goals.
When he does score they tend to be spectacular, and defences in English football’s bottom tier simply cannot handle him. He is already too good for that level, so why stay there?
Of course, Crewe will be promoted if they beat Cheltenham at Wembley – something they should do with Powell in their ranks – but there is an argument to say he has already outgrown even League One.
He has plenty of first-team experience, but is still at an age where he can develop plenty more, and at United he will learn from the best players and coaches in England to harness his skills.
He is not dissimilar in position to United’s best player Wayne Rooney, a star on the world stage and the 18-year-old can learn straight away from the England striker.
And in Ferguson he will have a manager who will ensure he stays on the right path and fulfils the potential that has him as a future England star.
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