Date: 25th July 2007 at 11:39am
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Sir Alex has confirmed that Manchester United have agreed a deal with Middlesbrough for the transfer of Alan Smith, and the player given permission to speak to the club.

Yet it is still unknown whether or not “Smudge” will leave, and the United front man will most probably be mulling over two main points, does he require constant first team football, boosting him chances with England, or does he wish to stay at a club seen around the world as one of the best and try and fight it out for a place, accepting that he will not be first choice.

It`s a strange one, and though Alan Smith is one of my favourite United players, I`m left not too bothered about his impending departure, whether it be the (likely?) arrival of Carlos Tevez, or that I just don`t think Smith can offer us anything extra, I don`t know.

When looking at it from a neutral perspective you can see how this deal may benefit all parties involved. Middlesbrough, fresh from the departure of their main source of goals, Mark Viduka will get a player who will thrive at that level, and will be an instant hit, with his “never-say-die” attitude and hunger for the game. Smith, will get regular first team action, boosting his chances with England, as he is still young enough to break into the team. United will gain a reasonable fee I`m sure, as he will not go cheap (£6-7 million I presume) thus enabling us to recoup some of the money we splashed out this summer.

This need for money grows after Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed, contrary to earlier comments that he will keep both Gerard Pique and Giuseppe Rossi at the club next season after their loan spells.

Speaking to www.manutd.com Ferguson said,

‘The lads going away proved themselves. Giuseppe scored nine goals in 16 matches for Parma and the consensus is that he kept them up. Everyone says that. Gerard played 24 games for Zaragoza and did exceptionally well. We got all the videos of the players and watched what they did in training. They will certainly come back.”

Ferguson went on to say that with these two players Man Utd have a good, strong squad, something we lacked in the latter stages of last season, stating that it was always his intention to reclaim both the players after their loan spells ended.

‘Hopefully now we have a strong enough pool of players. That’s one of the reasons I was keen to get the young lads who were away on loan last year back at the club. They will develop better with us. They may play more regularly away on loan, but training with us and being part of the squad brings them on immeasurably.”

Well, keeping these two players will be a major coo for our club, with many fans, especially you Zae, thinking Pique and Rossi can still be a hit at Old Trafford. And despite the news of Smith is a negative, this acts as two positives, and I can really see us doing well next year with a strong squad to choose from, with nearly two players in each position capable of performing at the highest level.

Bring on the start of next season!