Manchester United Transfers: 5 Players Fans Would Love to See Arrive in January
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Of course every fan has their own views about who Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson should sign from the transfer market in January.
Surely there is no club in the world who would turn down the hottest striker: Radamel Falcao of Atletico Madrid?
There is the small matter of a £48 million release clause to wrestle with. Small beer for the likes of Roman Abramovich or Sheikh Mansour you would say, but why would he go to a club who is knocked out of the Champions League? Except for money of course...
He doesn't feature on our list here, because Sir Alex doesn't play fantasy football. Maybe he could scramble together the transfer fee, with a hefty chunk from the sale of Nani plus a raid on the piggy bank. But he surely has more pressing needs?
Some would ask why he would need another striker, but at the right price for the right man anyone could be accommodated. We already seem to be on the road to Rooney eventually replacing Paul Scholes in midfield, so that would free up a spot. But Ferguson has another world class striker in van Persie.
He also has a barrow load of young goal-scoring talent to fit in somehow or unload.
While Macheda may well leave in the January transfer window, decisions have to be made about Josh King, John Cofie and Angel Henriquez.
King is desperate to play regularly but may follow the path of Paul Pogba to secure that goal elsewhere. He can see four strikers ahead of him for certain, probably five when Will Keane is counted in the equation.
Then there is Henriquez, who has already been included in the full Chile squad at 18. Sir Alex may well decide to send him out on loan in January to get English match experience. He is potentially the new Van Nistelrooy.
Meanwhile, if King and Macheda are sold Sir Alex still has John Cofie up his sleeve. Currently on loan with Sheffield United, he has made nine appearances with two goals so far.
And then there is James Wilson...so far this season the 16-year-old striker has started 14 games and scored 16 times for the Under 18s. Last season he scored six in 10 starts despite being only 15....
So where is the need?
Despite being a striker "addict" (well he was one himself), Sir Alex recognises that he has greater needs in other departments. After all, van Persie is on fire and Rooney is coming into form, so scoring goals isn't the problem.
It seems somewhat ironic to be considering yet again that the problem is in defence. Last season it was because of a horrendous injury record. This year Ferguson has been without one or more of his five senior centre backs for every single match.
But that isn't the problem. Even allowing for the need to juggle his at times scarce resources at the back, there is absolutely no excuse for United's woeful defending that has seen them concede the first goal in no less than 15 of their 22 competitive starts.
And these defensive deficiencies include the midfield that, for example, was overrun in the first half against Tottenham and in several games since.
So United stand proud at the top of the Premier League and their Champions League Group, but they simply cannot go on leaking goals and expect their run of success to continue.
Not surprisingly, the fans would also like to see this issue addressed. It may be fun to see seven goals in 26 minutes and speculate about a 10-3 victory at halftime, but the present debacle needs sorting soon, starting with surgery and banging heads together on the training ground and ending with some shrewd transfer business in January.
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OK, so this one is a no-brainer.
Many fans were surprised when the many rumours like this one came to nought in the summer. Maybe it was because Sir Alex expected more money from the Berbatov sale, or that Nani and/or Anderson would be sold. The article implies that Moyes didn't need to sell anyone else.
Baines himself seems to have been surprised there was no follow through. He does, however, still covet Champions League football, so it would not be a surprise if he moved to United.
Whether it is in January may well depend on whether Moyes sees the need for additional squad strength.
No fan is seriously going to question the logic of signing the Everton and England left back. Maybe one or two would wonder where Alexander Buttner fits in?
Sir Alex was always going to send Fabio out on loan to get Premier League experience and, following the preseason it looked like there wasn't a ready made cover for Evra who could step up. Although Zeki Fryers appeared to be the most likely, he left. Or was he allowed to go...?
Sir Alex likes competition and left backs are always in demand. Buttner hasn't yet made an unstoppable argument but if Sir Alex did buy Baines, he could let Evra go. This has been mooted as a possible part-exchange for Baines. He wouldn't be the first or the last player to be taken on by Ferguson's mate Moyes.
The case for Baines is unarguable. After all, he is the best in Europe at doing what Evra has done for years.
Mats Hummels, Edin Dzeko
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This is what United fans would wish they were seeing this weekend.
If Vincent Kompany was the best defender in Europe last season, Hummels came close.
While the logic might have dictated that Neven Subotic was more likely, mainly because of his age and Serbian nationality, Hummels right now is surely the best in Europe or maybe even the world.
United's defence is in shreds at the moment and if they defend against City the way they did against Reading, it could be a repeat of last season's 6-1 drubbing. As that match showed, no amount of cavalier attacking could save United from themselves.
Of course Vidic's return, if it happens, could be the boost the Red Devils' need. Despite the age and experience in United's first choice team, it is frankly leadership that is missing right now.
Whether or not Nemanja returns as good as he used to be, nobody would argue against Hummels improving the quality, strength and composure of the United defence.
Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand seem past their sell-by date. Along with Leighton Baines, a central defender of Hummels' standing would satisfy even the most demanding of United fans.
And if Dortmund don't want to let him go, his sidekick Subotic would be a useful alternative.
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Possibly by now Wesley is crying himself to sleep at not having jumped at Sir Alex's pregnant interest over the last few seasons?
He may be 28, but van Persie is 29 and Sneijder's Dutch compatriot may already have given him the nod about how good life is at Old Trafford.
Wesley Sneijder has been the name on so many callers' lips on MUTV phone-ons for the last couple of years that you can bet your life this one signing alone would be enough to satisfy their hunger.
There is a need in midfield for a dominant player like Scholes used to be. Sneijder would revel in a box to box role, but he is also versatile enough to fit in with Fergie's dynamic interplay.
After all, he is Dutch and they were pioneers of "total football".
If not Wesley, then Christian Eriksen would be a younger alternative.
This guy's name just won't go away. Not surprising really because half the problems in defence for United this season have started in midfield.
Michael Carrick has been an outstanding servant of the club and has been played out of his favourite position for far too long. He has almost become the John O'Shea of the present generation.
And Darren Fletcher may never full;y regain the human dynamo capability that he had before he got ill.
United don't play defensive football, but that doesn't mean they couldn't use a midfield destroyer in the Roy Keane mold. Strootman is a pretty useful box to box midfielder. He is the right age and apparently United covet him.
The thing is that he doesn't want to move until the summer. And his possible alternate, Victor Wanyama, surely won't want to walk away from Celtic if they qualify for the Group stage of the Champions League.
So either way, this one may have to wait until June.
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Oh how United fans would love this one. And how many would bat an eyelid if Nani had to be sold to finance the deal.
Many see Rodriguez as a better long-term prospect anyhow. He is only 20 and already has stunning stats for Porto this season.
He has apparently previously indicated an interest in United, who may once again have slipped up in the summer because Porto tied up a new contract and a higher release clause.
United have made clear that they won't either. Nani has managed to alienate both the fans and his manager with indifferent, ill-judged and even plain stupid performances recently. He may not be happy, but some of his play has bordered on the unprofessional.
As for an obvious buyer, both PSG and Zenit still have work to do to create the finished product. Whatever else people may say, Nani at his best can open up any defence like a can of soup.
And if Porto price Rodriguez out of the market, don't rule out a United move for Paul Ince's son Thomas instead. While Rodriguez is lighting up the goals and assists stats in the Portuguese League, young Tom is doing much the same for Blackpool in the Championship.
And now his mentor has gone (and is doing all he can to keep United's other possible wing wizard, Wilfried Zaha), it may just come down to what Dad Paul advises son Tom to do...