Manchester United : 5 Big Money Moves the Club Should Consider Next Summer
This summer Manchester United, eager to regain their position as the premier club in England, were linked with a host big-money moves.
Once the transfer window closed and the smoke cleared there were reports of other huge offers from the Manchester club.
All these rumours would lead me to believe that there is money to be spent, if and when the right target comes along.
With that in mind, here are five high profile players I feel the club should target next summer, if not sooner.
When Cesc Fabregas returned home to Barcelona last summer, many presumed it would be the last transfer of his career.
His was, after all, returning to his childhood club, to be managed by his footballing hero, and would have multiple opportunities to compete for top honours.
It appears that it was too good to be true. His idol Pep Guardiola resigned as manager at the end of the season, a season in which Fabregas was often confined to the bench. He has continued to occupy a spot on the bench this season, and he seems to be losing patience.
Given our need for creativity in midfield he would be an ideal signing, with the added bonus that he is already well-versed in the rigours of Premier League football.
His former club Arsenal would be sure to compete, and hold a first option on him, but he would probably prefer to move forward with his career rather than take a backward step.
If, as rumoured, Pep Guardiola is interested in joining the club as Alex Ferguson's successor, then what better way to welcome him to the club than sign Fabregas to anchor the midfield.
Gareth Bale has in been in Alex Ferguson's sight since he first broke on the scene as a teenager at Southampton way back in 2006.
He had a chance to join the club in 2007, but chose Tottenham as he was worried he would struggle to get first-team action.
Looking back it would appear he made the right move. He struggled hugely in his first few years at Spurs his struggles would only have been magnified at Old Trafford.
Since then he has established himself as one of the finest wingers in English football, if not World football. The time is ripe for a step up in class.
If Spurs fail to qualify for the Champions League this season, Bale may decide it is time to move on. And if he does Old Trafford would appear the ideal destination.
United are a club with a long history of flying wingers, and having him on the left side of midfield would balance out Antonio Valencia on the right.
At the moment United lack a left-footed winger, and are using the right-footed Ashley Young and Nani on the left. Playing Bale and Valencia would stretch the defence and provide more space for the likes of Wayne Rooney, Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie room to operate.
With Nani seemingly on the out, there would be the money and squad space for the flying Welshman.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the summer transfer window, was that Yann M'Vila is still a Stade Rennais player.
He was linked with a host of top sides this summer, and seemed on the verge of a big-money move right up until the window closed.
But he remains in France, and seems happy to do so for another year.
But it surely a case of when and if a top club finally snaps up the talented French international, and Man Utd may be that club.
United fans are split on what the midfield is missing. Some say it is a powerful box-to-box midfielder to dominate proceedings, while others say it is a creative player to pull the strings in midfield.
Yann M'Vila may be the perfect blend of the two. Solidly built and strong in the tackle, he has the strength to dominate midfield, but is also a fine passer of the ball.
He come cheaper than most players on this list, and at 22 has a long career ahead of him.
A former attacking midfielder, Nainggolan has been a revelation since he joined Cagliari back in 2010 and converting to a defensive midfielder.
But both he and Cagliari have failed to kick on since then and, depending on how the coming season goes, he might favour a move abroad.
His key attribute is his intelligence. Not being a huge tackler, he focuses on break-up attacks with timely interceptions and is a fine distributor of the ball.
With Belgium possessing what many are calling a 'Golden generation', a move to a top side would help him break into the team.
The club would also benefit from his Indonesian heritage, helping further the club's Far-Eastern marketing ambitions.
Of all the players on the list, Micah Richards might seem like the least likely signing, given the intense rivalry between the clubs.
But there are a host of factors that would factor into pursuing the player which would benefit our cause.
At 24, and despite an early breakthrough, he has failed to win a regular place in the England setup and he will be eager to change that.
But spending large parts of the season on the City bench isn't going to help his cause. This summer the club signed Maicon and Matija Nastasic, both of whom will rival Richards for a role on the team. If Man City fail to provide him with first-team football then he may begin to look elsewhere.
There is also the issue of the impending Financial Fair Play regulations. City are acutely aware of their difficulties in meeting the criteria, which played into their relatively modest summer outlay.
The club will now need to sell before it buys, and having valuable assets rotting on the bench won't benefit the club. If he becomes a peripheral figure at City, they could be tempted to cash in, even if it means selling to their nearest rivals.