5 Premier League Players Who Would Be Perfect for United
There will be very few United fans out there right now who accept that the current crop of players are all the best in the league in regards to the position they play.
Certainly, that's not true of all Man United players this year. For example there will be very few who argue that Robin van Persie is not the best out and out striker in the entire division, and players like Antonio Valencia and Shinji Kagawa also stake a claim to be the best at what they do.
However, there are areas—with defensive positions particularly in mind—where other teams hold the edge over Sir Alex's men.
This is not a list of realistic "transfer targets." Rather, it is an analysis of where other teams are particularly strong and, as such, a look into the type of player that United should be looking in to challenge that particular individual.
Unsurprisingly, as I previously alluded to, the majority of players on this list will ply their trades in defensive positions as opposed to offensive ones.
The United attack is stronger now than it has been since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid. In fact, one could easily argue that the Red Devils currently boast the most lethal front line in the Premier League altogether.
If they could bring players—or train up youth products—of the quality of some of the men listed here, the sky really would be the limit for Fergie and his boys.
Cheik Tiote DM
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Cheik Tiote is not the world's most versatile player.
In truth, when it comes to the midfield, he is probably one of the most pigeon-holed players in the game today. He is a defensive midfielder, through and through.
But that may be exactly what United are looking for right now.
With the devastating news that Phil Jones will be out for another two months, United fans will more than likely notice the severe absence of a ball-winning central midfield player.
Jones is traditionally used by Sir Alex as a right-back, but with Fergie seemingly showing a lot of faith (whether justified or not) in Rafael this year, it is more than likely that Jones would have adopted the DM role in place of a struggling Michael Carrick.
Now that Phil is out with this knee injury, all hope falls on the ever-aging Carrick to repeat his tremendous performance from last year's campaign and steady the United centre.
I'm not saying I don't have faith in Carrick, but a player who is, let's face it, past his prime is unlikely to have back-to-back world class seasons. That is, of course, unless your name is Paul Scholes — who, despite his experience, has lost his place to Tom Cleverley.
If Carrick really can't cut the mustard, then Anderson will always be on hand to fill in. But do United fans really want to see Anderson making regular starts?
Okay, perhaps I'm being harsh on the Brazilian, but the general consensus amongst most followers of the English game is that he has had his chance to prove himself at the club and failed.
So with all that in mind, United are left up a creek without a paddle.
Carrick can try to do the job he managed last year, but United fans should not get their hopes up that he will be able to pull that off once more.
Tiote, or any player of his ilk, would slot perfectly into that role in the side.
Cleverley showed for England against Moldova that he is lethal (in terms of buildup play) going forward, and we all know that Kagawa is very much capable of that.
A player like Tiote in the side would allow them both the freedom to roam forward, whilst covering them out of position.
Will Fergie see this?
Leighton Baines LB
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As B/R writer Dan Talintyre reported earlier this week, Leighton Baines may well have wanted a move to United, yet nothing came to fruition in regards to Everton's left-back.
I would ask why, but I think the answer to that question is fairly clear from the addition of Alexander Buttner to the Manchester United squad.
Fergie touted Buttner as one of the best natural left-backs in the world right now, and why would we doubt Sir Alex?
I'm sure Buttner will make a name for himself at the club, and may well go on to be recognised as one of the next "United Greats."
However, without him making a start—or even an appearance—for United so far, it is somewhat hard not to lament the failure to sign Baines this summer.
Patrice Evra is, as much as United fans may love him, past his best. It has been apparent from the start of this year's season that Evra is somewhat of a weak link in the side now.
Hopefully, Buttner is the player to come in and fix that.
However, when a player that is proven not only in the Premier League, but also on an international stage with England, is up for grabs and looking to play Champions League football, it seems somewhat daft not to have signed Leighton this summer.
But then United fans have an old saying that perhaps applies here, "In Fergie we trust."
I'm sure the great Scott will prove everybody wrong once again.
Gary Cahill CB
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Here is a player that United are 100 percent not going to get their hands on any time soon.
However, what United do need, and can realistically acquire, is a player with the same style of play as Chelsea's young starlet Gary Cahill.
With Rio Ferdinand coming towards the end of his time on the top stage of world football, a replacement needs to be found ASAP.
Interestingly, the United squad may already have the answer to that problem.
Having been out of the picture for the best part of six months now, Chris Smalling has been somewhat forgotten about in regards to his possible future contributions to the United fray.
Both Smalling and Cahill are players with an uncanny ability to win back the ball in seemingly hopeless situations. On top of this, their positional awareness—something that I cannot stress enough is extremely important for a defender—is superior to almost all of their counterparts across the League.
It was a fairy-tale story when the boy whom this writer saw play for Maidstone United joined Fulham back in 2008. Just two years later, he was a United man.
Anybody who raises up through the league systems that fast must have a special quality about them.
Cahill is Chelsea's future star.
Can Smalling be United's?
Joe Hart GK
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Here's another man that won't ever be a United player.
Now, some of you may not like this inclusion in the list. After all, both De Gea and Lindegaard are very young and have a long way to go before they can expected to challenge the best goalkeepers in the world.
The thing is, though, Joe Hart was doing that when he was younger than both the United goalies are right now.
Hart has everything a keeper needs. He is confident with corners and crosses, commands the respect of his defence, is an excellent shot-stopper and never panics under pressure.
Footballing abilities aside, Hart is a natural leader of men. He is loved by his teammates and one of the biggest motivators in not only the Manchester City, but also the England dressing room.
I have to be honest, I cannot see someone like De Gea ever getting to that status within the team.
Still, I'm a massive fan of David and hope he can recover from some of the problems he has faced so far in his short United career.
Failing that, Lindegaard is a more than able keeper himself.
Either way, United should be fine when it comes to their goalkeeper in the coming seasons.
Moussa Dembele CM
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Here's a player that United might have wanted to make a late bid for on deadline day.
In reality out of all the players and positions on this list, Dembele's is probably the one that requires filling the least.
Despite adding both attacking and defensive prowess to the midfield, Moussa would be forced to hold back and wouldn't be able to play the flowing football he was more accustomed to at Fulham and now does with Tottenham.
Dembele probably missed a trick somewhat by going to Spurs.
With the greatest respect to the club, the boys from White Harte Lane are probably one of the least secured sides within the top half of the table.
That may sound like a ridiculous thing to say about a side that have finished in the top four in two of the last three seasons, but Spurs do have a record of completely imploding, both on the pitch and off it.
Harry Redknapp, Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart all left the club this summer, with Dembele and Dempsey coming in to replace the two midfielders.
It seems as though Spurs are having somewhat of a mini-meltdown—and their start to the season represents that.
Dembele is a player who really should be playing regular Champions League football.
Will he get that with Spurs? I guess only time can tell.
One thing is for sure, he would certainly have got that if he had joined the Red Devils this summer.