Manchester United Midfield Set for Summer Clear-Out?

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Manchester United Midfield Set for Summer Clear-Out?
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Manchester United are cruising to title No. 20, but that might not save the midfield from a summer overhaul.

With United leading rivals and defending champions Manchester City by 15 points in the Premier League table, manager Sir Alex Ferguson is reportedly considering a "shake-up" of his midfield this summer. According to the Manchester Evening News, four midfielders—Nani, Anderson, Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher—could leave Old Trafford this summer.

Nani, a 26-year-old Portuguese international, joined United from Sporting Lisbon in 2007. He is currently out with a hamstring injury, which, in the long view, might harm his standing with the team.

The Evening News reports:

Though the injury is not as serious as earlier in the season it does raise doubts about (Nani's) long-term fitness and further harms his chances of nailing down a new United contract, which has been on the Old Trafford’s hierarchy’s back-burner all season.

That reluctance to offer an acceptable agreement suggests the Reds are contemplating a parting of the ways.

Anderson, too, is teetering on the brink of an exit as he continues to fail to establish himself as a regular. The Brazilian has had his own problems with injury and fitness and has barely completed a full 90 minutes this term for United.

He started against Reading on Saturday but was unimpressive and came off again with five minutes to go.

With six years on the clock for United and seemingly no nearer getting a firm foothold on a first-team berth, the midfielder – who’ll be 25 next month – could also be surplus to requirements.

Scholes, 38, has been dealing with a knee problem. In December, the Daily Telegraph reported that he planned to retire for a second time at the end of the season. Fletcher, meanwhile, continues to fight a chronic bowel problem.

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes could be set to retire this summer for a second time.

With so many departures possible, United might be busy recruiting midfield help this summer.

Recently, the Red Devils have been linked with Real Madrid's Luka Modric (via Daily Mail), Shakhtar Donetsk's Douglas Costa (via Daily Express) and, perhaps less realistically, Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale (via Daily Star).

Less recently, United were also linked with PSV's Kevin Strootman (via Daily Mail), Ajax's Christian Eriksen (via Metro) and Porto's Joao Moutinho (via Metro), among many others.

How would you go about constructing a dream midfield for United? Which players should Ferguson target, and how would they all fit together? How do the existing pieces factor in to this?

Let us know in the comments below.

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