With goals by Wayne Rooney, far left, and Nani, second from the right, all seems right for Manchester United again. But that will not stop the rumours that Sir Alex Ferguson may make a big move to rejunvenate the club during the January transfer window.
With goals by Wayne Rooney, far left, and Nani, second from the right, all seems right for Manchester United again. But that will not stop the rumours that Sir Alex Ferguson may make a big move to rejShow more

The January dilemma to be tackled by Manchester United

When the phone call came in from Italy, Sir Alex Ferguson's response was quick and unequivocal.

It made no difference that Manchester United had just been eliminated from the Champions League before Christmas for the first time in six years, or that Manchester City had opened up a painful Premier League lead; he still would not be buying Wesley Sneijder.

Inter Milan have an incentive of their own - Sneijder is richly paid and eager to move elsewhere. Yet their hope was that they might exploit an enforced urgency at Old Trafford.

They knew Ferguson had spent much of the summer transfer window looking for a player with the creativity to replace Paul Scholes in the centre of his midfield.

The Scot considered Luka Modric before Chelsea began bidding and Tottenham Hotspur's chairman vowed not to sell the Croatian playmaker.

Talks were held with Sneijder to see if a compromise was possible on wages that would have seriously unbalanced the club's pay structure.

The Dutchman refused to budge, so Ferguson moved on to other targets. Alexis Sanchez was cheaper and younger, but there turned out to be too much competition from Barcelona.

Samir Nasri said he was prepared to leave Arsenal for Old Trafford only for Manchester City to bluster in with an unmatchable offer and change the Frenchman's mind. Angered by the behaviour of player and club, Ferguson halted his search and concentrated attentions on returning youth.

So impressive was Tom Cleverley's pre-season that United's manager entrusted the centre of midfield to a 22 year old who had spent the previous campaign on loan at Wigan Athletic. With Ashley Young, Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck also installed in the first team, this remodelled United started with a flourish of victories; their new boys lauded as the future of England.

Then the problems began.

First, Cleverley succumbed to injury and points were unnecessarily lost. Next, Nemanja Vidic fell out badly with Ferguson ahead of a baleful home derby with City. Vidic watched from the stands, United were sucked into a counter-attacking evisceration, and the tone of the season changed.

The Serb was soon restored to central defence, but in the background United were seeking end-of-season buyers for him. On Wednesday night, Vidic's campaign finished early with a triple knee ligament injury that will require at least nine months rehabilitation and may now preclude that sale.

For now, Ferguson faces some hard decisions over buys. He is instinctively cautious about winter transfer window shopping and in recent seasons has attempted to spend as early in the summer as possible.

"It is not a consistent route for us to buy in January simply because of all the disadvantages," says Ferguson, who signed Vidic and Patrice Evra in the aftermath of United's last early European exit, yet did not see the best of them for months.

Saturday the Scot applied traditional remedy. With the squad shuffled and instructed "to get a taste for goals again", they fed on a Wolverhampton Wanderers side.

Nani and Wayne Rooney shared four goals - the England striker scoring from open play for the first time since his red card for England against Montenegro in October -and netting more than a single goal for the first time in eight league outings.

After a week in which many questions have been asked, suddenly, the champions have plenty of answers.

The specs: 2018 Nissan Patrol Nismo

Price: base / as tested: Dh382,000

Engine: 5.6-litre V8

Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic

Power: 428hp @ 5,800rpm

Torque: 560Nm @ 3,600rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 12.7L / 100km

About Tenderd

Started: May 2018

Founder: Arjun Mohan

Based: Dubai

Size: 23 employees 

Funding: Raised $5.8m in a seed fund round in December 2018. Backers include Y Combinator, Beco Capital, Venturesouq, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Paul Buchheit, Justin Mateen, Matt Mickiewicz, SOMA, Dynamo and Global Founders Capital


Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

How to avoid getting scammed
  • Never click on links provided via app or SMS, even if they seem to come from authorised senders at first glance
  • Always double-check the authenticity of websites
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your working and personal services
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  • Double-check the web addresses to reduce exposure to fake sites created with domain names containing spelling errors
The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat


Barcelona 2
Suarez (10'), Messi (52')

Real Madrid 2
Ronaldo (14'), Bale (72')


Company name: CarbonSifr
Started: 2022
Based: Dubai
Founders: Onur Elgun, Mustafa Bosca and Muhammed Yildirim
Sector: Climate tech
Investment stage: $1 million raised in seed funding


Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

'The Lost Daughter'

Director: Maggie Gyllenhaal

Starring: Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson

Rating: 4/5

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE


Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Central Bank's push for a robust financial infrastructure
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  • Preparing buy now, pay later regulations
  • Preparing for the 2023 launch of the domestic card initiative
  • Phase one of the Financial Infrastructure Transformation (FiT) completed

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★


Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
Rating: 4/5

Like a Fading Shadow

Antonio Muñoz Molina

Translated from the Spanish by Camilo A. Ramirez

Tuskar Rock Press (pp. 310)

Four scenarios for Ukraine war

1. Protracted but less intense war (60% likelihood)

2. Negotiated end to the conflict (30%)

3. Russia seizes more territory (20%)

4. Ukraine pushes Russia back (10%)

Forecast by Economist Intelligence Unit


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Visit Abu Dhabi culinary team's top Emirati restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Yadoo’s House Restaurant+& Cafe

For the karak and Yoodo's house platter with includes eggs, balaleet, khamir and chebab bread.

Golden Dallah

For the cappuccino, luqaimat and aseeda.

Al Mrzab Restaurant

For the shrimp murabian and Kuwaiti options including Kuwaiti machboos with kebab and spicy sauce.

Al Derwaza

For the fish hubul, regag bread, biryani and special seafood soup. 


2pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 40,000 (Dirt) 1,200m, Winner: AF Thayer, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Ernst Oertel (trainer).

2.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 1,200m, Winner: AF Sahwa, Nathan Crosse, Mohamed Ramadan.

3pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 1,000m, Winner: AF Thobor, Szczepan Mazur, Ernst Oertel.

3.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 2,000m, Winner: AF Mezmar, Szczepan Mazur, Ernst Oertel.

4pm: Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup presented by Longines (TB) Dh 200,000 (D) 1,700m, Winner: Galvanize, Nathan Cross, Doug Watson.

4.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 1,700m, Winner: Ajaj, Bernardo Pinheiro, Mohamed Daggash.


Keep up with all the Middle East and North Africa athletes at the 2024 Paris Olympics

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