Manchester United Transfer News: Why Joao Moutinho Is Worth Paying Big for
With the speculated transfer of Croatian and Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric now seemingly put on hold after Spur's asking price of £40 million was deemed too high by Sir Alex, it appears that the Scotsman has turned his attention once again towards the Portuguese league in an attempt to find a replacement transfer target for the centre of his midfield.
At this summer's European Championship, a selection of highly talented players stood out from the crowd and re-affirmed why they are some of the best players in the world right now. Pirlo, Iniesta, Ozil and, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo showed us exactly why they are touted as some of the greatest footballers to have ever kicked a ball.
However, amongst the glitz and glamour of the perhaps more recognisable names, there was one young Portuguese man who unfortunately was almost completely overlooked. Joao Moutinho was perhaps Portugal's best player in the tournament, absolutely dominating almost every midfield that he came up against, and ensuring a tight central line, all the while providing pin point passes for the likes of Nani and Ronaldo going forward.
It is currently rumoured that Moutinho's agent and FC Porto, his current club, are in talks with United over his transfer. And an initial bid of around £25 million may be enough to convince the Portuguese side to sell straight off the bat. Porto are heavy in debt right now, and cannot afford to scare United away like Spurs have done with Modric. As such, it might be possible for United to secure the transfer of Moutinho for relative peanuts in today's inflated market.
However, should Porto demand more for one their star players, then Sir Alex has to make a big decision, and splash the cash for the 25-year-old. The centre of United's midfield is an area that has been crying out for a new, world class player to come in and fill the void that has seen United struggling for the past half-decade in that area of the pitch.
Last season, Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick both put in legendary performances (especially considering the age of both players) to produce a level of football in the centre of the park that the Red Devils had not seen for a very long while. However, with Scholes on the brink of retirement, and Carrick also beginning to slowly approach the end of his United career, fresh blood is required to come in and replace them.
Tom Cleverly will no doubt find himself playing at Old Trafford for many seasons to come. The youth academy has done a brilliant job at training up Scholes' effective replacement, and the hard work from both the academy and Cleverly was shown to have paid off at the start of last season, when he was one of the stand out United players, before picking up a nasty injury.
The real issue comes in regards to Carrick's role in the United side. There are currently no players who any honest United fan would consider good enough to make regular first team football in the position, barring a miraculous improvement over the summer months. This is where Moutinho comes in. No matter what price Porto ask for him (up to and including £50 million) Manchester United need Joao in the centre of their midfield.
The idea of two ball winning, and perhaps more importantly possession keeping, midfielders in United's centre of operations is a mouth watering prospect. Both men have a supreme eye for a pass, and with the likes of Shinji Kagawa, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia their targets to feed, with Wayne Rooney upfront to finish chances, the goals should realistically pour in for the Devils.
On top of this, Moutinho is perhaps one of the most versatile players currently out there. Able to play as a central holding midfielder isn't his only talent. On top of this, Moutinho has been known to play an attacking role more in kin with that of Kagawa's, and even at times has played out on the wings. It's always brilliant to have a player who has the ability to do this, as it means positions and players can be swapped round in a game with relative ease if things aren't going well. It also provides fantastic cover for injuries.
Joao Moutinho is one of the hottest prospects in world football right now, and United need to use his signing as a symbol to the world, and more importantly Manchester City, that they are still the giants of football that they once were. He may not be a player that all United fans are that aware of right now, but that was also the case with Patrice Evra, Javier Hernadez, and Nemanja Vidic—some of United's most influential players of recent times. If Moutinho does end up coming to Old Trafford, then United will have a more than decent chance of regaining the Premier League crown next season.
Lets just hope for their sake that Fergie realises that sometimes you DO need to spend big money to get the best players.
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