Will Man Utd let Park go?
By Jung Min-ho
Manchester United agreed to sign Benfica midfielder Nicolas Gaitan Monday, which would provide even more competition for Park Ji-sung to find a regular spot in the team’s lineup.
United will hand over 20 million pounds ($32 million) plus Fabio da Silva and Federico Macheda for the 24-year-old Argentine, according to Britain’s Daily Telegraph. The size of the deal clearly shows how much the team wants him to retain its top position amid a fierce battle for the Premier League.
Concerns have spread over the Korean’s future as the club already has several star players capable of playing on the wing including Antonio Valencia, Nani, Ashley Young and even Ryan Giggs.
Park has been left sitting on the bench for the past six games. The 31-year-old has not appeared for the Red Devils since March 5.
Gaitan has been impressive for Benfica throughout the season. United manager Alex Ferguson observed the wingers ability first-hand when his team met the Portuguese outfit in the UEFA Champions League this season. The 24-year-old Argentine is known as a well-rounded player who is best suited as a left winger or attacking midfield position. The aggressive deal seems to guarantee Gaitan a prime position next season, stirring up the competition for places in the starting 11.
To compound Park’s situation, his contract with United will expire in June next year, which may result in his leaving Old Trafford this summer.
United has accelerated bringing in young faces such as Tom Cleverly and Phil Jones, allowing old campaigners like John O’Shea and Wes Brown to move on, which is more bad news for Park.
It seems that United’ poor performances in the Champions League and Europa League this season have prompted Ferguson to add to his squad.
The writer is an intern for The Korea Times.