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Playing True and False with Manchester United's Biggest Rumors

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Playing True and False with Manchester United's Biggest Rumors
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Will Cristiano Ronaldo return home to Old Trafford? Or will underutilized and dissatisfied midfield maestro Luka Modric be pried away from Real Madrid? What about Kevin Strootman and Victor Wanyama?

Which players might join Manchester United this summer? Here’s calling true and false on some of the biggest rumors linked to United.

 

Robert Lewandowski

The Borussia Dortmund and Poland striker has been heavily linked with Manchester United over the past year. 

Aged 24, Lewandowski is one of the most clinical forwards in Europe currently. With 21 goals registered this season, his stock has continued to grow over the last years.

His relationship with current United midfielder Shinji Kagawa was also exceptional during the former’s tenure at Dormund. From my opinion, recruiting Lewandowski doesn’t make all that sense. Sir Alex Ferguson is already facing a conundrum with four quality strikers in his team—Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck.

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An elite forward such as Lewandowski would cost quite a pretty penny, and as such first team responsibilities would be thrust towards him quickly.

Where would that leave Hernandez and Welbeck? What position would be ear-marked for Rooney? And it posits an even bigger headache as to where Kagawa would fit in.

However, Persie is approaching 30 soon, and Lewandowski could be molded to take over from him once the Dutchman wanes. Since Lewandowski is young, a good rotational system might satisfy all parties involved.

Lewandowski’s agent, Cezary Kucharskihas also hinted at a potential summer exit for the Pole.

Despite the conundrum faced, Ferguson would reap rewards from bringing in the Pole, as he, like Persie, is a game-changer and can take control of the game when needed. Such a player would be instrumental in gaining supremacy in Europe.

From what I gather, I would say this rumor has a chance to come to fruition.

Verdict: Perhaps

 

Leighton Baines

Ferguson is fast approaching retirement, and one can sense that he yearns for European supremacy yet again. This calls for world-class players playing in almost every position. Patrice Evra is not getting younger, while Alexander Büttner and Fabio are not of that elite mold yet.

This is where Baines comes in.

While Baines will be extremely expensive to sign, considering he is in the form of his life and has been hailed as on the best left-backs currently, he would slot seemingly well into the team.

While Baines’ procurement might lead to the developmental stunt of Fabio and Büttner, it might also work the other way. With Baines taking the torch from Evra, Fabio and Büttner will have the chance to develop alongside one of the best full-backs in the game.

Baines is a great going forward, tracks back well and is a consummate professional.

His strongest additions to the team would be taking set-pieces and whipping in delightful crosses from the flank. United have not had a particularly solid left-flank in some years not, and Baines might be the right option despite his age and price.

Personally, I feel that Ferguson has been given more financial freedom to invest in already world-class material.

For example: Given Persie’s injury record, age, signing fee and wages, Ferguson’s decision to sign him was not considered pragmatic. However, the Dutchman might go down into the history books as Ferguson’s smartest acquisition. A Baines signing would be similar.

Verdict: Perhaps

 

Kevin Strootman

Manchester United have demonstrated a strong interest in Dutch midfielder Strootman.

He has been excellent for PSV Eindhoven and has attracted suitors from all over England.

Strootman is young but experienced and is an excellent central-midfielder capable of impeccable distribution. Given Ferguson’s tinkering with tactics, the Dutchman can also be deployed in the “2” position, operating as a pivot alongside Carrick, or at an advanced position like central-attacking-midfielder.

In a 4-3-3, he can operate as one of the three central midfielders.

Verdict: True

 

Victor Wanyama

I personally prefer Wanyama to Strootman.

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One of the brightest prospects to come out of Africa, Wanyama is a formidable force in midfield, is composed on the ball, is a great passer and doesn’t shy away from tackles. His versatility has also led to him being deployed in the defence.

He recently rejected an improved contract from Celtic after generating a considerable amount of interest from other clubs.

United need to procure a player who is also a physical presence in the field, and Wanyama would be a better signing than Strootman in my opinion. One thing that will count against the African is that he will be away for the African Cup of Nations and might leave United’s midfield exposed during his absence.

Verdict: Perhaps


Luka Modric

One of my personal favorites, Modric is one of the most well rounded midfielders around.

Although his playing time has suffered at Real Madrid, there have been occasions when he has played to his very best. Obviously, if you have to compete with the likes of Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil, your playing time is bound to suffer.

However, Alonso is bound to gradually wane, so fortunes are bound to change sometime soon for the Croat. Although Modric has been considered a flop in many circles, Real Madrid shelled out quite an extravagant amount, and he will not be let go after the very first season.

While tabloids have hinted at a return to England, especially Manchester United, chances of him coming to England as of now are slim.

Verdict: False


Cristiano Ronaldo

While the relationship between Ronaldo and Ferguson is still exemplary, I cannot fathom the return of the prodigal son.

Ronaldo has a contract that expires in 2015, and he has €1 billion buy-out clause.

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There have been rumors linking Ronaldo to United for a sum of around £55 millionRonaldo will not have the final say as to where he goes. There will be a host of other clubs vying for his signature and be willing to invest a lot more on one of football’s greatest assets than Ferguson.

Verdict: False


James Rodriguez

'El Nuevo Pibe' is widely considered to be one of the most talented young prospects. Currently playing for Porto, Rodriguez has been absolutely phenomenal.

At only 21, he has attracted plenty of clubs from all over Europe, including United.

And although he is talented, his fees are no doubt going to be inflated.

He primarily operates as an attacking midfielder or as a winger.The recent acquisition of Wilfred Zaha coupled with the fact that United have three wingers in Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Nani (who might soon be shipped off), chances are slim that he is signed.

Furthermore, United have been tinkering with the formation and do not rely on wingers as extensively as in the past, opting for more fluid formations like the 4-3-3 or the 4-2-3-1 or even the “diamond” formation.

Verdict: False

 

Kurt Zouma

Zouma has attracted interest from both the Manchester clubs. However, United have been regarded as front-runners for the St. Etienne defender. He is only 18 and is an immense presence in midfield.

The most likely scenario would his purchase followed by a loan stint at his current club for further development.

Verdict: True


Christian Eriksen

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Hailed as the new Michel Laudrup and recognized as being on par with phenomenal talents such as Mario Götze and Juan Mata, Eriksen would certainly be a fantastic addition to any team. 

He is only 21 years old, and has already been bestowed with the Dutch Football Talent of the Year award for 2011 by none other than the legendary Johan Cruyff

He has snubbed a contract extension from Ajax, so it looks like he will be on the move. Eriksen has been linked to United several times in the past, and the move may very well materialize if interest is shown by both parties.

Verdict: Perhaps

 

Follow me on Twitter: @BrenGoetze

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