Manchester United Confirm Transfer Of Ashley Young

Manchester United have confirmed the purchase of Aston Villa and England forward Ashley Young on a five-year contract.

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Ashley Young's Value Is In His Versatility - The Busby Babe

With Manchester United officially acquiring former Aston Villa Ashley Young for a £16M transfer fee (and almost twice that in wages), now's probably a good time to assess just how he fits into the system. Is he, as Gerard Houllier believed, best suited to be a second striker? Is he a winger, as he was used almost exclusively under Martin O'Neill, when Aston Villa were at their peak. Or is he a 'central winger', starting in the middle before moving out to create.

According to Gene Um at SB Nation's Manchester United blog the Busby Babe, the answer is all of them, and none of them. Young can perform at a high level in any forward role Sir Alex Ferguson might choose to deploy him, making his versatility his key asset. Expect the 25-year-old to be the first man off the bench for most of the attacking positions in the side for United, assuming he doesn't become a starting winger in place of Nani or Antonio Valencia:

Young is a terrific footballer but his value lies in his versatility. If Rooney were to go down with injury, Young would be a suitable replacement in the role behind Chicharito or Dimitar Berbatov. Every winger last season became injured at some point so opportunities will certainly be there this season for Young to stake a claim as a first-choice selection for Fergie on the flanks. It would even be worth experimenting to see how Young might operate as the attacking midfielder in a 3-man central midfield when Fergie uses a 4-3-3/4-5-1 shape. I anticipate this to be a terrific buy and not only for his obvious talent - but also for the tactical versatility he provides.

It'll be interesting to see if Sir Alex Ferguson has the same sort of thing in mind for Young as Gene does. With his high wages, he may be expecting something more than a super-utility player out of his latest purchase - but we'll just have to wait and see.


Ashley Young: Time To Say Goodbye - 7500 To Holte

With another star departing Birmingham for Manchester, one might imagine Aston Villa fans to be up in arms about it. After all, it's hard to deal with losing your best player every year, and it's happened to them again. And, to be fair, there's the usual quota of people describing Ashley Young - bought from Watford in 2007 for £10M - as some sort of traitor to the cause for daring to join Manchester United.

At 7500 to Holte, SB Nation's Aston Villa blog, Kirsten is less inclined to be angry at Young, or indeed United, for the move. It's not difficult to see that the defending champions are on a different level entirely to Villa, who flirted with relegation for much of the season, and therefore not difficult to see the motivation for a player moving onwards and upwards. Kirsten is still sad, however - Young gave the club plenty of good moments over his four years with them, and she writes that he could have helped propel them back towards respectability had he stuck around:

I'm not an Ash hater, really, I'm not. I have his kit and I find him to be an excellent player, fun to watch, exciting both on the wing and behind the striker. But it's been clear for at least half a season that he's had his mind elsewhere. And that's fine, I suppose. Better than having a player that truly doesn't want to be at the club. At the same time, I would have loved to see a Bent and Young partnership that had worked together all season, that had finally figured things out. Things could've got really interesting.

Alas, it was not meant to be. There will be plenty of time over the next few weeks to talk about who might take Ash's place, or if it will be filled at all. We can mock his corners and we can discuss how United might handle his pouts. But for now, let's just say goodbye, shall we? After all, he really did give us a few good years.

Young may not have handled his impending departure with much class, but there are at least some Villa fans who aren't responding in kind.


Manchester United Confirm Purchase Of Ashley Young

For the third time in three summers, Aston Villa have lost their best player. This time it's former Watford winger Ashley Young, who's impressed in the Premier League for three seasons and recently begun to shine for England as well. The destination? Defending champions Manchester United, who have agreed a five-year contract for the versatile attacker. It's obviously a step up for Young, who's still to get a real taste of European competition with the Midlands side, but it's unclear how he'll fit into a United lineup that contains both Antonio Valencia and Nani.

Young's transfer fee has been reported to be in the area of £16M, which isn't too steep a fee for the 25-year-old, wh obviously counts as a home-grown player. With the earlier acquisition of defender Phil Jones from Blackburn rovers, United have taken their summer spending to around £30M, and that doesn't even include the David de Gea deal, which appears to be in some form of limbo at the moment.

For Villa, the key now is not to lose any other attacking talent - and that basically means keeping hold of Stewart Downing, who may be heading off to Liverpool this summer. Much Young's production can be replaced by youngster Marc Albrighton, but losing both of their star wide players in one summer could prove too much for Villa to cope with next year.

For more on Aston Villa and Manchester United, check out 7500 to Holte and the Busby Babe respectively.

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