Manchester United Transfers: 5 Players for United to Chase Next Summer
Sir Alex Ferguson has been as busy as any this summer, but has perhaps not seen as much reward as he may have liked.
When the month ends, and with it the current transfer window, he will reflect on an offseason of successes and failures.
He has secured the services of Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell, but has frustratingly missed out on top targets Eden Hazard and Lucas Moura.
And providing he's still at the club next summer, he will have to do it all again.
Here are five potential targets.
Lucas Ocampos, River Plate
Granted he has not yet made an impact in Argentina's top league, but if his development continues on the same path, he could very well become a star in his native country.
He is quick and skillful with an eye for goal.
No doubt United's scouts will be keeping their eye on this teenager.
Robert Lewandowski, Borussia Dortmund
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Polish striker Robert Lewandowski proved at the recent European Championships that he is a top-quality goal-scorer, and if Sir Alex is in the market for a forward in the near future, he may well be their man.
The biggest bonus from a possible move would be the fact that Lewandowski has an almost telepathic understanding with his previous teammate Shinji Kagawa, who is now on United's books.
He possesses a neat touch in and around the penalty area, and is very intelligent in his positioning for potential chances.
Last season he scored an impressive 22 league goals, and is sure to come near to that tally in this coming campaign.
Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur
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Gareth Bale's attributes are well known to any who follow the Premier League, and I'm sure Sir Alex dreams of having the flying Welshman playing in front of the Old Trafford faithful one day.
The only way I see a move taking place next summer is if the winger finds new boss Andre Villas-Boas difficult to deal with, or if the Lilywhites fail to qualify for Europe next season.
Then he may seek new pastures, despite having only recently signed a new contract.
It would be quite a coup then, if Sir Alex is able to replace the aging Ryan Giggs with his heir apparent.
Etienne Capoue, Toulouse
Toulouse's French holding midfielder Etienne Capoue is exactly the kind of player United need right now.
He sits in front of the defence, rarely venturing forward, preferring instead to dictate the flow of the game from a deeper position.
A known Arsenal target, Sir Alex may face some stiff competition if he were to make a move.
But Capoue is only going to improve over the next 12 months, and if he remains a Toulouse player through the Winter transfer window, his signature will be hotly pursued in 12 months' time.
Ryan Shawcross, Stoke City
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With Rio Ferdinand in the twilight of his career, United may need to purchase a replacement central defender next summer.
Granted, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have a lot of potential—this is just another way of saying they both have a long way to go.
A former United lad, Shawcross is an excellent player who doesn't get as much attention as he deserves.
Perhaps this is because he plays for Stoke City, one of the more unfashionable teams in England.
If he does fancy a move, I'm sure Sir Alex would be interested.