Kaka to Manchester United? Why Loan Deal for Faded Star Would Make Sense

Will Tidey@willtideySenior Manager, GlobalAugust 20, 2012

LISBON, PORTUGAL - JULY 27: Kaka of Real Madrid looks on prior to the start of the Eusebio Cup match between Benfica and Real Madrid at Estadio da Luz on July 27, 2012 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

What's going on at Manchester United? First Robin van Persie, and now we're hearing reports that Kaka could be on his way to Old Trafford.

Real Madrid have offered United a one-year loan deal for the Brazilian (according to the Daily Mail), presumably as they seek to limit their quota of flouncy midfield types ahead of the looming arrival of Luka Modric at the Bernabeu .

What's more, they claim Sir Alex Ferguson is "seriously considering" the opportunity.

Manchester United and Real Madrid will continue negotiating over Kaka tomorrow.

— Football Agent (@FootballAgent49) August 20, 2012

That's Kaka, the man Real Madrid signed for around £60 million in 2009 and are now paying £250,000 per week to be a squad player. He's 30, prone to injuries and has spent the last three years struggling to justify his fabulous wages and one-time status as the world's best.

Does that sound like a Ferguson signing to you?

Not when you consider United have focused on bringing in mostly young, up-and-coming players in recent seasons, it doesn't. 

But the Van Persie deal proved Ferguson and United are prepared to break such convention, as they chase down a Manchester City team who took their title with a star-studded collective of the best players money could buy.

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Time is running out for Ferguson to build a team that can serve as his lasting monument to success. It appears he's ready to go big or go home, and you don't get much bigger—in terms of profile at least—than Kaka.

But would it really make sense to sign a player many consider to be a faded force? A player Jose Mourinho can't find a regular place for and would allow to walk away from Madrid without a fight?

The rather unsatisfactory answer to that is "maybe."

Though he only managed 17 starts for Madrid in La Liga last season, Kaka still provided seven assists, which is only one fewer than Cesc Fabregas and two behind Xabi Alonso and Andres Iniesta.

He enjoyed some fine individual performances—scoring one and laying on two more against Espanyol and leading a Champions League romp against CSKA Moscow mark the two most obvious examples.

The latter drew barbed praise from his manager.

“Kaka gave a spectacular performance," Mourinho said, as per RealMadrid.com. "He had his best years in Italy, but he’s never worked as hard as he does now."

Perhaps in that quote can be found both the frustrated nature of Kaka's predicament at Madrid and reason enough for Ferguson to be tempted.

In Mourinho's eyes, Kaka will always be a disappointment. No matter how well he performs, he'll never match up to the player who was crowned the world's best in 2007. To that end, Kaka has always been fighting a losing battle for his manager's affections.

Maybe Ferguson, with perspective, can separate the Kaka of old with the Kaka we have before us today. If he gets a player who really is working as hard as Mourinho says he is—not to mention one with obvious talent, a point to prove and a spot on the Brazil team for a home World Cup in 2014 to play for—it could prove a masterstroke.

We should also consider the players who are keeping him out at Madrid—the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alonso, Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo. These are world-class creative talents at their peak of their powers.

United's midfield contingent suffers by comparison. Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs are veterans in their final throes, while Tom Cleverley and new signing Nick Powell are works in progress. Meanwhile, Darren Fletcher is walking a long road to recovery.

Anderson remains a frustrating proposition yet to fulfill his potential, and we won't really know what to expect of Shinji Kagawa in the Premier League until he's dipped his talented feet in.

United were too often short on inspiration in midfield last season. There were times Ferguson dropped Rooney into a more central role out of desperation, but most would agree Rooney is best served in an advanced position, carrying a goal threat.

Kaka might not get into Ferguson's first-choice XI and probably isn't the long-term solution to their midfield shortcomings, but even if he plays 10 to 15 games, he'll have served his purpose to United this season.

It probably won't happen, but if Ferguson does bring Kaka to Old Trafford this season, don't be surprised if he plays a defining role somewhere along the way.

A faded force is still a force.

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