Breaking Down Biggest Transfer Needs and Potential Targets of Manchester United

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2012

READING, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01:  Robin van Persie of Manchester United celebrates scoring a goal with teammates Chris Smalling, Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney during the Barclays Premier League match between Reading and Manchester United at Madejski Stadium on December 1, 2012 in Reading, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

What do you get the team who already has the most points in the Premier League this season?

Like any other team, Manchester United has weaknesses and positions that could use reinforcements. They don't have as many as most teams, of course, but I would be shocked if the Red Devils don't make a few moves in the January transfer window to bolster the squad for a championship run.

So which positions should they focus on? Who are the logical targets for the Red Devils? How much richer can the rich get?

Let's find out.



Current Players

Anders Lindegaard and David De Gea have basically split the starting gig this year, and it remains to be seen whom Sir Alex Ferguson will eventually choose to be his No. 1. Still, I don't envision United bringing another keeper into the fold at this juncture.



Current Players

Manchester United has scored 37 goals in Premier League play this season, more than any other team. But the side has also allowed 21, more than any other top-10 team on the table except Tottenham (23).

United can score with the best of them, but defensively they've been shaky this year.

Patrice Evra and Rafael are pretty firmly entrenched out wide, and Rio Ferdinand isn't going anywhere in the middle. The injury to Nemanja Vidic certainly hasn't helped much, but he's a rock when healthy.

But the depth isn't spectacular—Johnny Evans is prone to bad lapses during the match, while Chris Smalling brings good size but inconsistency to the position. Out wide, Alexander Buttner is unproven. 


Potential Targets

There are a lot of bodies here, and once Vidic returns the depth centrally is solid. Still, don't be shocked if Sir Alex Ferguson resumes his interest in Everton's left back Leighton Baines to take over for Evra. It's the sort of splashy yet logical move for Manchester United, and one that would make this team very scary.



Current Players

More than any other unit on the team, this is where Manchester United could use some help. It's hard to imagine Nani remaining on this team beyond January, so United could use depth out wide behind Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young.

But in the center of midfield is where this team could really use an upgrade. Tom Cleverly and Anderson have shown potential, but the latter can't stay healthy. Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes can all still play a bit, but they aren't long-term solutions for this team.

Darren Fletcher is still ironing out the kinks after his lengthy absence due to ulcerative colitis, while Nick Powell isn't yet a first-team option, at least not regularly.

Even when Shinji Kagawa returns, he's much more an attacking midfielder or second striker than a pure midfield option. United could use some upgrades here.


Potential Targets

One player the team targeted before, is rumored to have interest in again and would make a lot of sense is Athletic Bilbao midfielder Oscar de Marcos, who plays with the creativity and unwavering effort that reminds folks of Scholes in his prime.

Celtic's Victor Wanyama would be a nice option as a defensive midfielder if United runs a 4-4-2 diamond or 4-2-3-1. PSV Eindhoven's Kevin Strootman and Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender are also intriguing possibilities. 

Out wide, Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha seems to be on everyone's wish list. Truly, the Red Devils can play Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck and even Kagawa as wingers as well, so while it will be a priority if Nani departs, it isn't nearly the weak spot that central midfield has proven to be.



Current Players

I know that the sexy thing to do is link United—and any other big-spending team that attracts big names—with players like Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski or Atletico Madrid's Radamel Falcao, but I just don't see this team adding another striker.

With Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Chicharito and Welbeck, the Red Devils already have arguably the deepest, most talented stable of forwards in the world. Plus, Kagawa can play as the second striker or in an attacking midfielder role.

No, this team would be better served improving the midfield or upgrading at left back in my opinion. 


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