Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Most Important Portuguese at Old Trafford Isn't Ronaldo

Winning, obviously, has its benefits. There's the extra cash, the added merchandising sales, and the growing allure for top-level players to join the squad and grab a piece of that success. Unfortunately, especially in Manchester United's case, it also brings many drawbacks, namely that everyone wants a piece of you.

It's hard to imagine Sir Alex Ferguson enjoying any moment of his holiday. With Cristiano Ronaldo and his agents using the predictable nature of football media to engineer a move to Spain, it's hard to see how the Man U gaffer got any sleep at all the past few weeks.

While it looks like the Red Devils can't seem to bear the possibility of the most in-form player on the planet leaving, it is perhaps the potential departure of Fergie's right-hand man, Carlos Queiroz, that worries all at Old Trafford the most.

Given that Queiroz pretty much runs the first team and is known as the tactics man for the European and English champions, his temptation to take over the Portuguese side could come at no worse a time. Ferguson can cope without the Mozambique-born assistant, as he did when he left briefly to manage the Real Madrid in 2003, but Queiroz seems to be the jack-of-all-trades at Old Trafford, with a proven knack for scouting.

Hardly given a chance at the Bernabeau, Queiroz found himself a victim of the disaster begun by former president Florentino Perez. He wanted to keep Claude Makelele and buy Pepe for 2M Euro, but was pretty much ignored and one can arguably point to the the loss of Makelele as the downfall of Madrid. And Pepe? He eventually came to los Merengues for 30M a few years later.

Carlos Queiroz knows football and it's no secret that he's waiting to take over the Red Devils when Ferguson calls it quits. The offer from Portugal is undoubtedly a bargaining chip for him to get the club to commit to fingering him as the next man to take charge at Old Trafford. Barring an incredible run by a lucky gaffer (Mark Hughes?), I'm not sure why Man U is so hesitant to commit to Queiroz, unless it's quite unclear as to when Fergie will leave. Unfortunately, what may be Portugal's gain will undoubtedly be United's loss if they fail to appease him.

United losing battle to keep Queiroz despite £500k sweetener [This is London]


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