Date: 25th February 2010 at 7:26pm
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Well, guess what, Rio Ferdinand’s back problem is… back. Yeah, I know, he missed two whole months so that the club would get to the bottom of the problem and he was said to be fine, training perfectly.

Yet he pulled out of the game against West Ham with a twinge in his back and is set to miss the Carling Cup final on Sunday as well. As Ferdinand is 31 now, a persistent problem surely means that his best days are now over and we can no longer rely upon him.

It is possible that he’s saving himself for the World Cup, as I suggested in the case of Vidic – who, incidentally, was absolutely magnificent against West Ham – and if that’s the case, shame on him even though it’s partly understandable: it’s likely to be his last World Cup and he’s done nothing of note on the international stage yet while he’s won everything at club level.

And this would be the better scenario. The worse case is that Ferdinand’s back can no longer cope with the demands of professional football. Age’s got to him – even though at 31 he should have 3-4 more years at the top – and we should top counting on him as a key player.

Which would mean that we have an awful lot of rebuilding to do. Chris Smalling arrives in the summer but he’s far from being the finished article and if Vidic leaves we’ll be in real trouble. Plus Scholes and Giggs surely have to replaced sooner rather than later, we need another striker as well and it seems that Anderson won’t fulfil his potential at Old Trafford. Worst case scenario is that we will need about 7-8 new players in the summmer – which we can’t afford if we’re talking about players of Manchester United’s quality.

It will be a tough summer ahead if misfortune keeps piling up like debt does…