Former United winger Jules Maiorana believes that his old club have got a great deal in signing Matteo Darmian and reveals his memories of former teammate Ralph Milne, who has recently passed away.
Jules thinks that United haven’t been the most convincing so far this season and lack firepower up front: “They’ve got some points without playing too well, they’ve got rid of a lot of centre forwards like Hernandez and Van Persie and not replaced them. They don’t seem to be creating that much even with Memphis Depay in there and I think his end product could sometimes be better.
“He scored a cracking goal in the Champions League qualifiers but as good as it was, it was against Brugge and he’s got to do it week in week out in the league. It’s early doors but in my eyes they can only get better.”
Louis Van Gaal made six major signings this summer and Jules highlights his fellow Italian Matteo Darmian as the pick of the bunch: “The biggest shock for me was United spending the amount of money they did on a 19-year-old striker, Anthony Martial. I’d never really heard of him before so that’s a massive gamble.
“I thought Schweinsteiger was a good signing, but at 31-years-old he’s on a lot of money and he’s past his best. He could still do a job but a few years ago he was definitely world-class. It makes you wonder why Bayern Munich let him go because I’m pretty sure if he was still at the top of his game he’d still be there.
“I rate Schneiderlin and I think he’s a better footballer than Michael Carrick. Carrick’s done well, he looks up and makes great passes but I’d rather watch Schneiderlin all day. He’s done really well at Southampton but now he has to notch it up a couple of levels because he’s at United and time will tell as to whether he can do that.
“Darmian is one of just a few top players in the Italian national team at the moment. He’s great at going forward and a great defender. Whenever I’ve seen him play he’s impressed me and with the amount of money they paid I think United have got a hell of a deal.”
Jules is saddened to hear of the recent death of former teammate Ralph Milne, a player who became a cult hero among fans and was branded by Sir Alex Ferguson as his worst ever signing. Jules thinks that his old manager was wrong to say that about a player who was regarded as a legend at his first club Dundee United: “Ferguson said that Ralph was his worst ever signing and I think for a former manager to say that is very disrespectful.
“Ralph had to retire when he was 30 and he didn’t play for another club in England after leaving United. He had the ‘worst signing’ tag over his head until the day he died and had to live with the fact that the so-called best manager in Britain had said that about him when he spent millions on the likes of Anderson, Bebe and Djemba-Djemba. Ralph was bought for £170,000.
“I remember training at Old Trafford before a game, he was older than me but we were both left wingers. I remember him telling me that for a laugh when we crossed the ball we should smack it and put a lot of spin on it so it would rip the attacker’s hair out when they went to head the ball.
“He was a nice guy, when MUTV did the programme about me a few years ago it was Ralph who told them to get in touch with me. I asked for his number and phoned him up. I hadn’t spoken to or seen him for 20 years and asked if he remembered me. He said, ‘Of course I remember you, you’re the guy who nicked my number eleven shirt’ but in a joking way. He was a nice lad and it’s a shame what has happened to him at the age of only 54.”