If there's something we know, it's that United's front office thinks ahead. They kept tabs on Luciano Emilio for years before bringing him into the fold. No sooner had Piotr Nowak left the head coaching position than Tom Soehn was promoted. They replaced Freddy with Fred seamlessly, and things moved on.
Now, the off-season tends to make me depressed and gloomy, but I should also acknowledge that this team generally makes efforts to get better. So it's worth speculating what the plans are. We know of the pursuit of Veron in Argentina, and while he wouldn't be my first choice for a designated player from that part of the world (that would still be Riquelme... look, I can dream, right?) I've come to accept he's a good option. The conventional wisdom is that Veron, in addition to being a talented midfielder, is insurance against a possible Christian Gomez departure. That makes sense, but I want to throw another idea out there: Veron also helps the succession planning for Jaime Moreno if Gomez stays around.
In 2007, we saw Tom Soehn move Christian forward more frequently then Piotr Nowak would. And there's a certain logic to using Christian in a withdrawn forward type position. He can still create chances, he can still track back for the ball (although perhaps not as deep, but with Veron he theoretically would not need to), he has a decent shot from 20 yards out, and he's elusive in tight corners. The one downgrade is that I don't think he plays quite as well holding the ball at the top of the box than Jaime does (Christian can hold the bell well around the center circle, but the dynamics of midfielders trying to knock you off the ball and those of defenders are different). If Jamie were to go somewhere else (sad, but it must be considered) or see his playing time reduced (we know that must be considered) then it seems to me that Gomez would have to be considered a top candidate to move into that position -- moreso than Addlery, Kpene, Dyachenko, or any of the other reserve forward options.
Now, this premise sort of implies a few things: United would have to find a way to keep Gomez and Veron without Gomez getting Designated Player type money. That could be a difficult sell, but it is still possible. Getting Gomez to $300K is not impossible, and would be a 20% increase over his current yearly salary. Would Gomez be willing to take that? I don't know. Veron's going to count as $400K against the cap at least (and a salary around the $2M mark would not surprise me). But I can see uses for Veron beyond the obvious one-for-one substitution for Gomez, and that's intriguing.