MARTIN SAMUEL COLUMN: For the elite, Old Trafford is no longer the Theatre of Dreams

Bayern Munich for Ferdinand River for a brutal assessment of the career path of Harry Kane to be delivered.

& # 39; Do you play a man with one club or win trophies? & # 39; he asked for the kick-off. & # 39; Harry Kane is probably thinking about it and those questions need to be answered quickly. He is 26 and you only have a small opportunity window. They come and go very quickly. & # 39;

Ferdinand would know. He made a similar decision to leave a club that promised a lot but just failed. Leeds was title contenders in the Ferdinand team and he also played in the semi-final of the Champions League. But when Manchester United called to the 2002 World Cup, Ferdinand spent nearly six hours in the office of Leeds Chairman Peter Ridsdale, forcing the move.

 Ex-Man United defender Rio Ferdinand provided a brutal assessment of Harry Kane & # 39; s career path "class =" blkBorder img-share "/> </div>
<p> <noscript> <img id= It paid off. Ferdinand won six Premier League titles and the Champions League at Old Trafford. Leeds fell through two divisions.

They remained a large club even in the championship, but Ferdinand knew that Manchester United was even bigger. Just as Wayne Rooney chose them over Everton, and Robin van Persie chose them over Arsenal. In the time of Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United was able to take players from some of the major clubs in the area because their potential was just huge.

& # 39; I thought I had a better chance elsewhere, & # 39; Ferdinand explained. & # 39; I made a very quick decision to win trophies. & # 39; But if Kane thought the same thing, where would he go now? Manchester United

Unlikely. An ambitious player who wants a trophy cupboard like that of Ferdinand would not put his career in the hands of United at the moment.

Times are changing. There have been times in history that Everton, Leeds, Arsenal and even Tottenham were considered the best destination. However, that certainty can be given up quickly, and it is quickly lost by United. Kane would not follow Ferdinand if his ambition was to win trophies in English football. They have no greater chance of success than his current club. Indeed, it seems that players are starting to see United as Ferdinand Leeds did.

Paul Pogba spent most of the summer restless for a way out. And while it is easy to blame his agent, Mino Raiola, would that have happened if United had still taken his position at the height of English football?

 Ferdinand made a similar decision to leave a club that promised much but simply failed "class =" blkBorder img-share "/> </div>
<p> <noscript> <img id= Ferdinand took a Similar decision to leave a club that promised a lot but failed

This summer. United invested in young British players, Daniel James, Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Continue like this, especially if the rebuilding of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the three-year project that many believe, and how long before they feel like Ferdinand in 2002? That best chance to achieve ambition is somewhere else?

Take James. As a Swansea player, how could he resist last summer? He almost signed for Leeds in the championship in January, so Old Trafford represented the chance of his young life.

Maybe it's still. It can be anything he dreams of, if he can be patient and Solskjaer is the manager to restore the greatness of United. But again, how long does he wait? As Ferdinand says, career opportunities are volatile. What if, at the end of all that serenity, United is still just another Everton, Leeds or Arsenal – a big club but not a successful one?

James is 22 next month so, could be argued, has enough time. Yet Raheem Sterling, another player who also showed enormous potential at a young age, was only 20 when he decided that Liverpool would not compete quickly with Manchester City.

 But if Kane thought the same thing, where would he go now? Manchester United? "Class =" blkBorder img-share "/> </div>
<p> <noscript> <img id= But if Kane thought the same thing, where would he go now? Manchester United?

Career movements often take place on hunches. N & # 39; Golo Kante thought Leicester could never replicate their title success and left for Chelsea. Christian Eriksen would have dumped Tottenham this summer if he could.

Almost a quarter of a century before they won their first Premier League title, Manchester United was just another football club. They could always attract players because they had cachet and wealth, and that will never change, but they were not necessarily where players with a burning ambition went.

Kenny Dalglish for example, or John Barnes, or Peter Beardsley

Solskjaer's summer signings fit in well, but James is the outbreaker because many saw him as one for the future, a player which it was hoped would later mature in the Premier League. Instead, he immediately impressed and made comparisons with the teenager Ryan Giggs.

 Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba spent most of the summer agitating for a way out "class =" blkBorder img-share "/> </div>
<p> <noscript> <img id= Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba spent the biggest part of the summer restless for a way out

He may not have had that opportunity in Manchester City or Liverpool, but that also says something about the status of United. And a player younger than James has already won the Champions League with Liverpool. Trent Alexander-Arnold is 20. Ferdinand was 23 when he decided he could no longer wait in Leeds.

Now that we are looking at the United Kingdom, it is hard to see how Solskjaer can reform them to compete for the title even in 12. months time. And what if he is not the one? Then the process starts again, with a different coach and a different philosophy.

There is no guarantee that it will be Mauricio Pochettino. United could throw the dice again.

AC Milan did not think that a title from 2011 would be their last. The same with United in 2013. Large clubs can shrink very quickly in the modern game. James, Maguire and Wan-Bissaka come to Old Trafford for the same reasons as Rooney, Ferdinand and Van Persie, but that journey is no longer guaranteed.

If Kane wants to win trophies, Ferdinand is different from staying where he is.

 James came to United for the same reasons as many, but that journey is no longer guaranteed "class =" blkBorder img-share "/> </div>
<p> <noscript> <img id= James came to United for the same reasons as many, but that journey is no longer guaranteed

Compromised BBC must do better

In the light of the verdict of Alberto Salazar, few are as bad as Barbara Slater, head of BBC Sport .

It was a brilliant BBC Panorama investigation that greatly helped the fall of Salazar, but Slater has consistently given her employees airtime to denounce it as a witch hunt, the sentence used by Steve Cram, hopelessly compromised as ambassador for Nike for Nike.

Paula Radcliffe is sponsored by Nike and her husband, Gary Lough, is the coach of Mo Farah. However, this conflict was not even mentioned, because it stated about the costs and the duration of the investigation by the American anti-doping authority.

Slater should be able to find better, independent voices. And if she can't do that, the BBC has to find someone who can.

 Few have come so badly from the verdict of Alberto Salazar as BBC Sport head Barbara Slater "class =" blkBorder img-share "/> </div>
<p> <noscript> <img id= Few have come so badly from the verdict of Alberto Salazar as BBC Sports Head Barbara Slater

Fabianski blows so expensive

That Lukasz Fabianski could be out until January could cause a roadblock in the West Ham season.

Fabianski is the best they've had since Phil Parkes, who was the most expensive goalkeeper when he signed with QPR in 1979. Fabianski is even better. He has become an exceptionally accomplished and commander figure, and was equally excellent in Swansea, despite relegation in his last season.

Last year he made more saves than any keeper in the league. Adrian was his very capable substitute, but he left for Liverpool this season and the jury is on Roberto, the husband of Manuel Pellegrini. He was poor in Oxford in a 4-0 defeat and unconvincing in Bournemouth when Fabianski went off.

A slow-motion replay of one save – a powerful shot, but straight at him – showed that Roberto had not tried to capture, or even parry, but crossed his hands to protect his face. He will need a clear improvement if he wants to send West Ham to New Year, still in conflict with Europe. The ability to ride injuries to key players is what keeps the elite in place.

 That Lukasz Fabianski could be out until January could cause a roadblock in the West Ham season "class =" blkBorder img-share "/> </div>
<p> <noscript> <img id= That Lukasz Fabianski might come out until January West Ham & # 39; s season

Empty seats in Doha speak the loudest

Qatar has no love for athletics, no sense of athletics and has no interest in using the sport as something that goes beyond a soft power play on the world stage. There is absolutely no reason for the IAAF World Championships to be beyond the obvious. And clearly, great athletes like Dina Asher-Smith more than the echo of footsteps in an empty stadium.

Yet as a metaphor for a sport in crisis, and the reasons why, it's perfect. Indeed, it would be a heart of stone not to laugh at Lord Coe, reduced to choosing a fight with Gabby Logan to justify a decision that is so overly rude and wrong that his foolishness is becoming daily all over the world broadcast.

Currently, commentators no longer have to denounce Coe and his allies about this. A simple panoramic image of the empty seats says more than words.

 The athletics world championships are plagued by a bad atmosphere and presence "class =" blkBorder img-share "/> </div>
<p> <noscript> <img id= The World Athletics Championships are plagued by a bad atmosphere and presence

Emery has no captain , so he had to choose 5!

Granit Xhaka wasted his team on his captaincy skills: a dive under Scott McTominay's shot when Manchester United took the lead on Monday against Arsenal.

But as soon as Unai Emery announced that the club had a captaincy group of five, it was clear that there was a problem. Armor required in the surf of leaders when Tony Adams had the bracelet, or Patrick Vieira. Chelsea didn't need anyone outside of John Terry and Manchester United looked no further than Bryan Robson or Roy Keane.

A long list is not a sign of strength. Emery has no captains; that's why he found it so hard to choose one.

 Unai Emery has announced a group of five captains, but the Arsenal boss has no real leaders "class =" blkBorder img-share "/> </div>
<p> <noscript> <img id= Unai Emery has a group of five captains announced, but the Arsenal boss has no real leaders

Give fans reason to cheer, Pep

A frequently heard complaint from Pep Guardiola is that Manchester City has the support of their fans in Europe. This is not true. City may not be completely sold out at home, but far from alone.

Likewise, resentment against UEFA is part of the identity of the City fans – but that doesn't mean the place won't go wild for a win.

The drama of their last-minute-defused goal against Tottenham last season was the juxtaposition of extremes, elation, and deflation. Precisely because the roof came from the place, the VAR intervention was so amazing. City fans were certainly not muted when they thought Raheem Sterling had won the final kick.

Last year City was played by Liverpool in Anfield, which again is hardly the fault of the fans. The fact that the national anthem of the Champions League gets a footwear does not mean that the locals don't care. There is a difference between a healthy contempt for UEFA and the team selling short.

Group campaigns are a procession for City now UEFA's seeding at final rewards title winners. The actual tournament starts in the knockout phase, where the recent record of Guardiola is eliminated by the first good team he plays. If he gives the fans something to shout about, he finds them anything but non-appreciative.

 A complaint from Pep Guardiola is that Man City does not receive support from his fans in Europe "class =" blkBorder img-share "/> </div>
<p> <noscript> <img id= A complaint from Pep Guardiola is that Man City received no support from their fans in Europe

Cardiff has dressed it up in many ways, from a simple search for clarity to a big ethical crusade, but withholding the transfer fee for Emiliano Room always seemed to be little save more than £ 15 million.

The fact that they were ordered by FIFA to pay Nantes the first installment of £ 5.3 million suggests that Cardiff will be liable for the full amount over time. So now there is a challenge to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and more cool hassle.

FIFA believes the deal was closed and Sala was Cardiff & # 39; s responsibility at the time of his death. That should be the end of this tragic affair, but what will follow next is depressingly predictable. Here is little to constructive, assuming Cardiff will continue to follow the same, sorry path to his bitter end.

World Cup in China? Well, money talks

The World Cup centenary in 2030 should return to South America where it started, but this seems increasingly unlikely.

A British and Irish joint bid is being prepared, as a nod to the origins of the sport – even if these islands were very late for the FIFA party – and yet higher FIFA managers are increasingly open for a World Cup in China.

Would you like to change the rules for tournament rotation, because Asia will act through Qatar in 2022 and face an authoritarian government – but when did that bother them? So China will certainly be.

FIFA will dress this up as bringing the tournament to a new region, you know, for the good of the game, but we understand the true motivation. A friend who keeps a close eye on the TV rights world cup that China predicted years ago. Just follow the money, he says. He is rarely wrong in that regard.

 The centenary World Cup in 2030 must return to South America, but this seems unlikely "class =" blkBorder img-share "/> </div>
<p> <noscript> <img id= The centenary World Cup in 2030 should return to South America , but this seems unlikely

Daley Thompson, who is celebrating the 40th anniversary of his Olympic decathlon gold next year, is one of the most outspoken critics of London's legacy in 2012.

& # 39; We have not made the best of it & # 39 ;, he says. & # 39; Instead of saying we should have the most beautiful stadiums, we should have asked how we could influence the roots. & # 39;

But politicians also want inheritance. No one will remember a thousand valuable but small contributions about the basics of sport when they can watch a beautiful new stadium.

That is why the prime minister is big in building bridges – the literal, not the metaphorical. What remains of London is a monument to the egos of Ken Livingstone, Lord Coe and Tessa Jowell. Enjoy.

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