Manchester United Transfer Talk: Why United Must Chase Daniele De Rossi

Josh Martin@@JoshMartinNBANBA Lead WriterJanuary 13, 2012

BOLOGNA, ITALY - DECEMBER 21:  Daniele De Rossi # 16 of AS Roma in action during the Serie A match between Bologna FC and AS Roma at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on December 21, 2011 in Bologna, Italy.  (Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images)
Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images

Daniele De Rossi is used to wearing red. Might he be keen to sport the same hue in Manchester rather than Rome?

That remains a rather difficult question to answer, for Roma and Manchester United alike. De Rossi has already made it clear he intends to remain with the Giallorossi, his hometown club and with whom he's spent his entire career in Serie A.

Even so, there remains some question as to whether De Rossi will ultimately choose club loyalty over  a bigger stage and more money. He's due to be out of contract with Roma come summer, at which point it's likely to be open season on the 28-year-old midfielder, with Manchester City, Inter Milan and Real Madrid joining United in the running.

And if Sir Alex Ferguson knows what's good for his side, he'll at least make a concerted run at De Rossi. The return of Man U legend Paul Scholes from retirement (which would be better characterized as a brief respite from football), as heartwarming as it may be, isn't exactly a vote of confidence for the current situation in the middle at Old Trafford.

Injuries to Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Ashley Young have left United untenably thin in possession, forcing geriatric footballers like Scholes and Ryan Giggs into crucial roles amidst a tight race in the English Premier League.

Unfortunately, De Rossi isn't likely to help alleviate those concerns any time soon, unless Fergie comes forward with a Godfather offer. Which, again, is to say that De Rossi isn't likely to help alleviate those concerns.

Fergie appeared to have Cleverley pegged as Scholes' long-term replacement after the 22-year-old's brilliant start to the 2011-12 season. However, ankle injuries have limited Cleverley, thereby leaving at least some doubt as to whether he'll be the solution over the long run.

The Red Devils certainly hope so, seeing as how they signed him to a new contract in October keeping him in Manchester through 2015.

Still, it wouldn't exactly be imprudent for Fergie to cast a wide net for midfielders, be it now or over the summer. The United boss knows better than anyone the importance of steady play in the middle of the pitch, having tutored greats like Scholes and David Beckham, and can't simply stand by and watch the "noisy neighbors" buy their way to the top.

Even if De Rossi ends up somewhere outside Old Trafford (which seems likely), it would behoove Fergie to put in a call to the Stadio Olimpico before all is said and done.

What's the harm in inquiry? He'll never know if De Rossi would or could be a Red Devil if he doesn't at least ask.