It has been announced that just 18 months after arriving, Frederic Veseli is leaving Old Trafford.
“Manchester United has a long history of young players coming through and hopefully I can follow and do the same.”
Those were the words of Swiss defender Frederic Veseli following his move to Manchester United from rivals City in January 2012. And yet just 18 months later, the 20-year-old is one in a long list of footballers seeking pastures new, having been released by their clubs.
Veseli’s switch from the Etihad to Old Trafford may not have generated the headlines that similar moves have done in the past. But Blues’ officials were said to be shocked at the decision, reportedly made due to the player’s frustration at a lack of first-team opportunities.
And yet now, the player doesn’t have a first-team in which to break into; a fact that will no doubt come as quite a shock to the fans who watched him in United’s Under-21 side last season.
Just two months ago, we ran a piece hailing Veseli’s performance in a 1-0 win over Southampton. Having failed to usurp Michele Fornasier and Tom Thorpe at centre-back, the young Swiss was growing used to playing as a defensive midfielder before he was switched to right-back for the match against the Saints. And he excelled; to such a degree that he was beginning to be hailed as the ultimate utility man.
So what happened? Why was a player who had been a regular in the Under-21 side until his injury against Tottenham back in April suddenly deemed surplus to requirements?
That is a question that may never be answered. United’s Under-21 coach Warren Joyce certainly didn’t seem to have any problems with the player when he commented on his absence through injury.
“It’s frustrating for him as he’s had a good run of form recently,” Joyce said.
And while not overly effusive in his praise, the player’s appearances up to that point had not suggested he was set to leave.
The fact that he was consistently played, regardless of the position, spoke of someone it was hard to leave out; someone who could be relied upon to do a job anywhere on the field.
And the player certainly seemed to be enjoying his spell in midfield, if quotes after a game against Wolves were anything to go by.
“I really enjoy it as I get a lot more of the ball,” he said. “It’s a good learning process because you have a different perspective of the pitch and you can see different things and different angles which will help me as a defender as well.”
But he won’t be defending for United now. He won’t be playing anywhere for them. And there is a sense that he may have been a jack of all trades but a master of none. Or perhaps there is more to the story than we will ever know.
Do you think Veseli was good enough to make it at United, or was it the right decision to release him?
image: © Paolo Camera