Manchester United Transfers Uncovered
Shy of the arrival of a relatively unknown South American wing back and the somewhat confirmed price-tag to be placed above long-time underachiever, Luis Nani, things have been relatively quiet at Old Trafford on the transfer front. As 3 of last seasons’ top 4 sides prepare to begin the new Premier League campaign with a fresh managerial face, there is no doubt that transfer dealings will be scrutinised more than ever. Manchester City seem determined to avoid the same mistakes which lead to the demise of Roberto Mancini, and have already wrapped up two of their major summer targets. Chelsea, on the other hand, continue to be linked with everyone from Luka Modric to Wayne Rooney, while Arsenal’s transfer promises continue to flatter to deceive.
Mega-money signings, such as Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Cavani may continue to sensationalise back pages around the country, but there is no doubt that any real Manchester United transfer dealings are likely to be more muted (or, at least, as muted as they can be in a world where Andy Carrol was once deemed worthy of a £30 million price-tag). With this in mind, let’s take a look at the players likely to pique the interest of new United boss, David Moyes, in the coming weeks.
Robert Lewandowski – With the ever changing status of one Wayne Roone, there may be a position opening for a new striking partner to Robin Van Persie during the 2013/14 season. In the form of Lewandowski, United could acquire a player capable of matching the standards set by Ruud Van Nistelrooy during his 6 years at the club; someone who represents the ‘complete package’ as an out-and-out striker.
With strength, clinical finishing and a threatening ability to break the offside trap, the Polish international seems readymade for the challenges the Premier League has to offer. Add to that a work ethic which sees him pushing hard for the team, linking effectively with surrounding players and providing constant movement off of the ball, and you are left with a striker capable of intimidating any defence in the world; Just ask Real Madrid.
Following his European antics, Borussia Dortmund seemed set to lose another star player to their arch rivals, as Lewandowski became constantly linked with a move to Bayern Munich. However, with Dortmund Chief Executive officer, Hans-Joachim Watzke, declaring that they would not sanction such a move in the summer, Manchester United seems as likely a destination as any, especially given their longstanding history tracking the player.
As of now, if a truly big name were likely to arrive in the summer, it seems that Lewandowski is set to be it. He may not be a marquee signing comparable with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale, but would certainly add a new threat in the march for title number 21.
Kevin Strootman – Considered by many to be a certain addition once the current U21 European Championships draw to a close, Kevin Strootman is, without doubt, exactly what Manchester United have been lacking in recent years; a true old school midfield player. With a taste for beating the defender, making the quick pass, moving into space, defending hard and generally being an all-round general in the centre of the pitch, Kevin Strootman is what United have needed since the departure of Roy Keane.
A dying breed in today’s game, Strootman is a true hybrid of the attacking and defensive midfielder, whilst comparisons with the likes of Stephen Gerrard are less of a stretch than they may first appear, despite the Dutch midfielder’s relatively young age. With such a dmeand placed upon the central midfielder in the English game, Strootman would not only be able to achieve the standards set by the Liverpool legend, but possibly even surpass them.
Though the Eredivisie may not be the competition it has been in the past, Strootman clearly has all that it takes to thrive in the English Premier League. If David Moyes has highlighted the midfield as the place to make Manchester United Transfers happen, then this is certainly a solid place to start.
Thiago Alcantara – Ever since scoring an incredible strike passed David De Gea during the 2011/12 pre-season, United fans have known of the talents of Thiago Alcantara, and seemingly, David Moyes is equally impressed. With the 22-year-old seeking to leave the Nou Camp in pursuit of regular first team football, Old Trafford seems readymade for the arrival of a player capable of adding pace, skill and attacking flair to any midfield.
Whilst not being the strongest player in the world, Thiago certainly is one of the most inventive. In addition to a lethal shot, he also brings a great deal of vision and technical ability to the table, whilst his movement will add a dynamic edge to what has become a stagnant United midfield. Almost as poor a tackler as Paul Scholes, he may not be awarded the same time on the ball as the ginger prince; so the Premier League could prove a tough transition at first, with his strength the only other noticeable chink in Thiago’s mighty armour.
Despite the best efforts of Sir Alex Ferguson, Thiago remained a Barcelona player in 2011 when the former United boss was keen to improve his attacking options. However, since then, the arrivals of Fabregas and Neymar will have only limited the former Flamengo youth star’s chances further and with clear room for a creative spark, Manchester United seem the perfect match for the young Spaniard.
Cesc Fabregas – I may have named him amongst my list of unlikely Manchester United transfers, but that’s not to say that Cesc Fabregas hasn’t been highly courted at Old Trafford. Since the high profile capture of Brazilian striker Neymar, many have highlighted the former Arsenal midfielder as the most likely Barca star to be surplus to requirements in the coming season.
We all know what Cesc brings to a team. Commitment, vision, pace, uncanny strength and the ability to bag goals makes him one of the most well-rounded and consistent midfield performers in world football. He has continued to develop whilst at Barcelona, adding more goals to his game, whilst also adapting to play at the head of the table, in their striker-less starting 11.
With strong connections to Barcelona and Arsenal, it seems hard to imagine Fabregas returning to the Premier League and ending up as part of the Manchester United squad. But that hasn’t stopped it being known around Old Trafford that he is very much part of David Moyes plans for success in the 2013/14 season.
Ángel di María – Heavily scouted by United before completing a €25 million move to the Bernabéu, di María is certainly one of few world players capable of bringing a Ronaldo-esque level of creativity to Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson clearly had a thing for wing play during his final years in charge of the club. The signings of Nani, Young, Valencia, Zaha, Bebe and Obertan all demonstrated a desire to relive the Ronaldo days. With United having already enquired about Di Maria earlier in the summer, it seems that David Moyes may be cut from the same cloth.
Of course, the tit-for-tat transfer policy of our noisy neighbours has seen di Maria heavily linked with a £30 million move to Manchester City, with Pelligrini seemingly intent on having the title bought for him before he even walks through the door. But, it makes sense. With Jose Mourinho leaving Spain just last week, and the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti likely to be drawn out over the summer months, a clear-out at Real Madrid looks more than tangible. When you start to scan the candidates, di Maria seems likely for the chop.
Ironically, in di Maria, United could be signing another Nani. Despite his undeniable skill, pace and ability to bag goals, the Argentinean international has had an all too inconsistent run during his time at the Bernabéu. However, he is the type of player readymade for Premier League success and, if his more recent displays for Argentina have been anything to go by, the former Benfica starlet looks ready to push on and make a name for himself on the world stage. If only he could arrive with a better footballing brain than his Portuguese counterpart…
A potential signing blamed for United’s brief stock crash over the last 48 hours, Ezequiel Garay has been a long time Manchester United transfer target. And, if rumours are to be believed, it seems that the Argentinean defender is already on his way to Old Trafford. Having followed him for a number of years, Sir Alex will be delighted to see United get their man, even if it is David Moyes who is set to reap the rewards.
When you look at the solid condition of United’s defence over the years, it would make perfect sense for the new boss to move now in securing a player who has been one of the most consistent performers in the Portuguese league for a number of years. With great positional awareness, strength, fantastic control and a great mentality for the game, Garay seems readymade to replace Rio when he rides off into the sun (likely in a years’ time).
Of course, with the presence of Vidic and the continued development of Smalling and Evans, one is left to ask what such a transfer could mean for Phil Jones. Clearly intent upon earmarking the centre back position, Jones has often been preferred in a holding midfield role, both at club and international levels. In fact, many fans and pundits have suggested that to use him anywhere else would be a waste. Rio Ferdinand could have been England’s Marcel Desailly. Instead, he was pigeonholed as an out-and-out central defender. Perhaps in Phil Jones, we have a player who is simply too good to be wasted at the back.
Garay could be the ideal signing to unleash Jones, whilst ensuring that the Manchester United backline continues to be comparable with, or arguably better than any other in the world.
Manchester United Transfers: Your Say
So, there you have it; Manchester United Transfer Targets have been given the once over and, if David Moyes can demonstrate the same shrewd transfer dealings seen by his fellow Scottish predecessor, next season could be one of the most exciting Premier League campaigns in recent memory.
Have a Manchester united transfer rumour? Got an opinion on who we should sign next? Let us know your thoughts…