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A Learning Period Awaits For New Boy Buttner

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Unexpectedly this week Manchester United signed Dutch left-back Alexander Buttner from Eredivise side Vitesse Arnhem. Whilst there was no doubting that United needed another left-back to support Patrice Evra, it’s fair to say before last month nobody bar fans in Holland were aware of the new £3.9 million man.

So why is that before last month when it was rumoured Southampton were close to be signing Buttner had nobody heard of him?

Well straight-up Buttner played for Vitesse Arnhem. Vitessse are a proud Eredivise side but they are not one of the ‘big 3’ in Holland which consists of reigning champions Ajax, PSV Eindhoeven and Feyenoord, so as a result do not gather that much attention. The casual fan of European football may know about them, but it’s highly unlikely that they know more than 2-3 of their players, if that.

Secondly Buttner hasn’t been capped at senior level by Holland and has only appeared once for their Under-21 side. Bert van Marwijk did include him in Holland’s 36-man preliminary squad for Euro 2012 but he wasn’t selected for the tournament.

Despite making 119 appearances for Vitesse over the last five seasons, he has still had a low profile and is still very much an un-known.

This doesn’t mean that he will be a bad signing. Very far from it, who had heard of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or Nemanja Vidic before they signed for United? Nobody and they’ve turned out to become great signings. Of course it doesn’t mean that long-term Buttner will become the first-choice left-back once Patrice Evra leaves the club. It doesn’t necessarily stop Everton’s Leighton Baines joining in the future either or signal the end for Fabio (who is on loan at QPR) either.

Undoubtedly the next couple of months will be a learning period for Buttner and a key-stage in his development at the club. Of course alike any new signing he will be under pressure to perform right away but we will probably only see the best of the club’s new no.28 next season as by then it will be hoped that with a year’s experience under his belt, he will have become a better and more confident player…

..Though judging by how the club’s defenders are being struck down with injury after injury, the club’s latest Dutchman may well have to step up and become an instant-hero. Rather him than me!

By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87