Manchester United Transfers: 5 Midfielders the Red Devils Could Sign in January
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Sir Alex Ferguson is missing a commanding midfielder in his starting XI.
Vidal isn't going to leave a better team in Juventus to join the Red Devils. If he does go, it will be due to his wages being doubled and it will occur during the summer, since he’s cup-tied for this season’s UEFA Champions League.
So, what about Marouane Fellaini? Two points to mull over: first, he’s been playing as a deep-lying forward and second, Everton will demand a king’s ransom.
Here are five January midfield targets for United.
5. Kevin Strootman, PSV Eindhoven, Age: 22
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Kevin Strootman is a tall midfielder with wonderful vision. If he wasn't 6'1", he'd probably be a No. 10, but because he's well-built, he's been forced to anchor PSV Eindhoven's midfield.
His tackling has gradually improved but his passing still overshadows any hint of midfield enforcing.
The English tabloids have a habit of rehashing articles from each other, so it's like Chinese whispers.
In the case of Strootman, the notion of him being labelled the next Roy Keane is laughable. Manchester United first team coach René Meulensteen told Voetbal International (via Sky Sports):
"I don't have a very clear picture of Strootman as a player. In England, some media call him 'the new Roy Keane' but that seems like nonsense to me."
Is Strootman worth £20 million? Nope.
If United wanted to take a risk like they did with Bébé, they should have signed Strootman from Utrecht. In fact, they could have even signed him from Sparta Rotterdam.
There's a window of opportunity for big clubs to sign midfielders with world-class potential at a reasonably fair transfer fee. Like with João Moutinho, that window for Strootman has passed.
4. Maxime Gonalons, Lyon, Age: 23
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Maxime Gonalons is an all-round midfielder: dominant in the air, competent tackler, a deep-lying playmaker and a player with positional discipline.
He's formed a decent partnership with Steed Malbranque and it's clear Gonalons is the far superior player.
If there's one player that is more likely to lose his position to Gueida Fofana, it would be Malbranque.
Gonalons is an imperative figure in Lyon's climb back to the upper echelons of French football.
3. Ignacio Camacho, Málaga, Age: 22
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Isco is receiving so much media exposure, but where's the love for Ignacio Camacho?
He's been Málaga's best player so far.
He reads the play expertly, times his run well enough to lull opposing players into a false sense of security and the next thing you know, Camacho registers another interception.
He currently has the sixth highest average for interceptions per game in Europe's elite leagues.
One aspect of his game he needs to work on is his passing. For someone who keeps it simple, he has to be completing his passes around the high 80s as opposed to 79 percent.
2. Lars Bender, Bayer Leverkusen, Age: 23
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Lars Bender is a model of consistency.
He combines grit with high concentration levels to accumulate tackle after tackle. He's an underrated passer because he's shown flashes of creativity that would indicate he could play a more attacking role.
His ball-winning prowess and positional awareness are reasons why he could easily play any defensive orientated position with poise—no wonder Joachim Löw utilized Bender as a right-back.
Bayer Leverkusen have a plethora of emerging U-23 talents: Bender, André Schürrle, Bernd Leno, Philipp Wollscheid, Daniel Carvajal, Ömer Toprak and Stefan Reinartz.
Leverkusen want to emulate Borussia Dortmund's success with ambitious cheap youngsters. It's highly unlikely that they would relinquish Bender without a substantial transfer fee being tabled. Though, the same was said about Nuri Şahin, and that didn't happen.
1. Sebastian Rode, Eintracht Frankfurt, Age: 21
There have been several players that have stood out for Frankfurt.
Alexander Meier because he's a behemoth with nimble feet. Takashi Inui's trickery and the Asian factor ensures he receives his fair share of the media spotlight.
However, Frankfurt's most influential player has been Sebastian Rode.
He can beat players off the dribble, he's an assertive presence in midfield and he's the guy that orchestrates play.
Without him, Frankfurt wouldn't be unbeaten in the Bundesliga.
There are shades of Paul Scholes as Rode effortlessly dispatches immaculate long passes. Rode completes 84.6 percent of long passes compared to Scholes' 84.5 percent.
From a defensive standpoint, Rode is rock-solid whether it's winning back possession or blocking the ball.
Right now, Rode is playing at a world-class level, but the large majority of people outside of Germany don't even know who he is.
The fact that he isn't overhyped should enable United to dictate transfer negotiations.
The infamous transfer of Lajos Détári to Olympiacos in 1988, which at the time made him one of the most expensive players in the world, should serve as a reminder for the Red Devils to always have the upper hand over Frankfurt during transfer talks.