Another transfer window, another raft of god-like talent being touted as the next big thing at Old Trafford: an inevitable experience that comes only twice every year.
With the summer instalment of the transfer window fast approaching, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side are currently going through their routine raft of speculation and have been linked with some of the biggest names in football.
Although the Red Devils are closing in on a 20th English top-flight title, it seems the Premier League giants aren’t intent with resting on their laurels and rumours suggest that the midfield is a specific area Ferguson is looking to improve.
Focusing on midfielders in the purest sense of the term, the following five slides detail the five best players in that area to be associated with a move to Manchester in recent weeks and could realistically come to pass in the coming months.
Less than 12 months away from the Premier League and Luka Modric is already being touted as a possible purchase for Manchester United after his strike helped knock Ferguson’s men out of this season’s Champions League (via Daily Mail).
Like many others before him, the Croatian has failed to settle as he may have wanted at Real Madrid, having to make do with a spot on the bench for long stretches of the campaign.
Modric’s style of play would appear to suit the climate of Premier League football more than La Liga’s and should Los Merengues be willing to part with their playmaker this summer, then United will undoubtedly rise as potential suitors for his signature.
Although Shinji Kagawa’s arrival at Old Trafford will have ended Modric’s chances of a move to Manchester United for some, the former Spurs star would presumably play in a more withdrawn role than his Japanese counterpart, more similar to that of the ageing Michael Carrick.
This time 12 months ago, Marco Verratti was a teenage starlet simply going about his business in Italy’s second tier, relatively unknown to the European masses.
Fast forward a season and the former Pescara prodigy, now 20, is featuring heavily for Paris Saint-Germain in a campaign that has seen him reach a Champions League quarterfinal, earn his first caps for the Italian senior team and make 31 appearances for the Ligue 1 leaders in the process.
Needless to say the youngster’s reputation has shot up considerably in the process.
Functioning best from his side’s engine room, Verratti is, in its purest form, a box-to-box midfielder, and given Sir Alex Ferguson’s tendency to purchase players in their youth the young Italian would appear to be a rising asset firmly set in the Scot’s sights.
Despite having only played one season at the Parc des Princes, talkSPORT have already lined up Verratti as an alleged target for United this summer and the club would be expected to pay more than the £10 million PSG forked out for his signature last July.
A passing menace long linked with a move to the English top flight, Thiago Alcantara is once again a target for the Premier League’s titans after an improved term at the Camp Nou.
With Xavi gradually reaching his end as one of, if not the world’s best playmaker, Thiago is being touted as the heir to his mentor’s throne and a tally of two goals and six assists in 15 starts for the Catalans is one the youngster can be proud of.
Like Xavi, Thiago operates mainly from the centre of the pitch but is more than capable of thrusting forward alongside the rest of his attack to pose a threat to the opposition goal every now and then.
According to the Daily Mail (h/t Mirror), the Red Devils are preparing an improved offer after seeing a £15 million bid for Thiago’s signature rejected 18 months ago.
WhoScored.com advertise the 21-year-old as having a pass completion percentage of 92.3 percent, making it of little wonder that the Blaugrana midfielder rose through the ranks of the famous La Masia academy.
Should the Spanish international complete a move to Old Trafford, he could find himself jostling for playing time alongside the likes of Tom Cleverley, Michael Carrick and, in the not too distant future, Davide Petrucci.
Originally linked with a Manchester switch back in 2010, Douglas Costa now finds himself being mentioned as a possible Red Devil recruit after impressing during his time with Shakhtar Donetsk.
According to talkSPORT, the Brazilian wideman and three-time Ukrainian Premier League winner could be the latest in a long line of South Americans to find their way to Old Trafford as some of Ferguson’s current batch of wingers aren’t quite firing on all cylinders.
However, as is mentioned in the article linked above, Portuguese outlet A Bola cite a €45 million buyout clause in Costa’s contract being a particular obstacle in the deal.
Should Shakhtar wish to let their asset leave the Donbass Arena, they may not settle for a fee less than the release clause stipulates even though the player has made just 12 starts across all competitions this season.
A product of the Gremio academy, it seems Manchester United have kept their eye on Costa since initially losing out on his services three years ago and are still intent on bringing his considerable talents to England.
On of the more obscure transfer stories to come out of late, Frank Lampard’s ongoing contract disputes with Chelsea mean that the English international will became a free agent in June leading BBC Sport to link the midfielder to Premier League leaders, Manchester United.
Although the Stamford Bridge veteran’s age undoubtedly makes him an unlikely target for the Reds, Lampard’s impending freedom means that his acquisition simply can’t be ruled out for Sir Alex Ferguson, his (quite substantial) wages set to be the only real expenditure should he be brought in from the cold.
Although recent years have seen Chelsea’s talisman lose a yard or two in terms of pace, Lampard’s mind remains intact and the 34-year-old—who turns 35 in June—still has an eye for goal, to boot.
The highest-scoring midfielder in Premier League history, Lampard’s recent milestone of 200 Chelsea goals is testament to his continuing worth as an elite player and if Ryan Giggs can teach his potential future teammate anything, it’s how to extend his career by those extra couple of years.
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