Legendary United defender Arthur Albiston, now an MUTV pundit, is like any other supporter at this time of the year - excited by the summer signings and intrigued by the prospect of more new players at Old Trafford...
Like all fans, I get excited about new signings, just as we’re all sad when time catches up with some of the older lads who’ve had to retire this year – Edwin van der Sar, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville.
We’ve got some great memories of those three in a United shirt and they are almost irreplaceable. But the club moves on and we have another generation of players coming through now. The three new signings so far are all at a good age, they have all got the best years ahead of them and hopefully many of those years are going to be at United.
I’ve seen a lot more of Ashley Young and Phil Jones than I have of David de Gea. I've only seen de Gea on television, playing for Atletico Madrid in La Liga and for Spain in the recent Under-21 Championships. But I'm sure the manager will have done as much homework as he can on the young goalkeeper. I expect the scouts will have checked him out not only recently but over the past year or so, probably from when he first got into the senior team at Atletico. After all, we've known for a while that van der Sar was coming to the end of his great career.
I’m sure the manager’s always on the lookout for players in every position but if he could get another midfielder in this summer, I think that would help him because we’ve lost not only Scholes but Owen Hargreaves as well. So Sir Alex might be trying to get another body in that department to take the weight off Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Anderson.
Not that the manager ever signs players willy-nilly, just to make up numbers in the squad. He will always want to find players who are good enough to force their way into his first team and a lot of groundwork goes into the search. He covers everything and knows exactly what the situation is with different prospects. He has pulled some rabbits out of the hat over the past 15 to 20 years – nobody expected Eric Cantona to come here, for example.