3 Players Manchester United Should Buy and 3 They Shouldn't
As the season winds down, we are faced with the inevitable buildup of transfer speculation and gossip.
Last summer saw Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United splash out on Robin van Persie—a £24 million signing that has already repaid itself immeasurably.
Shinji Kagawa and Alex Buttner are also looking like quality signings.
In the past few months, a host of Europe's top players have been linked with a move to Old Trafford—some have intrigued fans, some have alienated them.
Let's look at three players United should do all in their power to sign and three who would be best avoided.
Take your pick.
Should: James Rodriguez
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The dreadful form of United's wingers this term has been a major disappointment in what was a bittersweet campaign.
Antonio Valencia and Nani have struggled with injuries and have not looked at their cutting best otherwise, while Ashley Young has done little to suggest he is the long term successor to Ryan Giggs on the left flank.
Porto's James Rodriguez is a player who has been linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer.
According to the Daily Mail, "Rodriguez is back at the top of Manchester United's wanted list."
Rodriguez plays as more of a wide forward than a traditional winger for the Portuguese side, but his versatility would stand the Red Devils in good stead.
The Colombian's potential is fantastic, and would be a steal at under £30 million.
Shouldn't: Asmir Begovic
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Admittedly, the trail linking the Red Devils with Stoke City's Asmir Begovic hasn't been as hot in recent weeks as it was earlier in the season.
You can chalk that up to David de Gea's phenomenal form. The Spaniard was a surprising, but deserving inclusion in the PFA's team of the season.
It stands to reason that buying Begovic would be a bad move for the club—no matter how good he is, no team needs two top quality goalkeepers.
In late March, the Daily Mail reported that "United continue to monitor Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic after scouts watched him play for Bosnia against Greece."
With Ben Amos and Sam Johnstone also coming through the ranks, spending good money on keepers just doesn't make much sense.
Not when there are other priorities.
Should: Kevin Strootman
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...priorities like buying a top quality central midfielder.
Manchester United have plenty of options in that department at present—Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Ryan Giggs, Phil Jones and Nick Powell to name a few—but that hasn't stopped some mediocre teams running over the Red Devils in the middle of the park in games this season.
Sir Alex needs a player capable of fulfilling numerous duties—one who can provide able protection for the back line, while also being a creative, box-to-box threat.
Enter Kevin Strootman, PSV Eindhoven's 23-year-old Netherlands international.
Former United keeper Edwin van der Sar believes Strootman is the real deal. In an interview with Sport360, he said "[Strootman] would be a good signing and there is a history [of Dutch players at United] like myself, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Jaap Stam, Robin [Van Persie]."
A sum close to £20 million sounds about right.
Shouldn't: Angel Di Maria
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United's weakness on the flanks this season has already been noted, but that doesn't mean Real Madrid's Angel di Maria should be at the top of the club's shopping list.
The problem with Valencia, Young and Nani has been consistency—Di Maria is not the type of player one can expect 30 or 40 good games from in a campaign.
The Argentina international may have inspired Real's win over Atletico Madrid last weekend, but this is not a fair reflection of his performances at the Bernabeu in the last 12 months.
In January, Real boss Jose Mourinho reportedly told Di Maria "You aren't playing at all. You played better when you were earning less money" (via Marca.com).
Last month, reports in Spain claimed United were vying for his signature (via The Express).
There are better options out there for Sir Alex than Mourinho's castoffs.
Should: Cristiano Ronaldo
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Why not throw Cristiano Ronaldo's name onto a list like this?
The former United man's return to Old Trafford is one that most true fans of the Red Devils dream of, but until recently, a dream is all it's been.
Recent reports have suggested that the blockbuster transfer is becoming an increasing possibility.
On Wednesday, ESPN reported that "United feel they may finally have the financial package to force Real Madrid's hand over a summer move for Ronaldo."
If the Portuguese superstar wants to come back to the club that made his name, no one would complain if Sir Alex and the Glazers offered in excess of £60 million.
He is arguably the best all-round player in the game today. Can you imagine a front three of Van Persie, Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney?
Now wipe up that drool.
Shouldn't: Radamel Falcao
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Radamel Falcao's quality is beyond question—67 goals in the past two seasons speaks for itself.
But could Sir Alex, in his right mind, sanction a £50 million move for the 27-year-old Colombian hit man?
One position the Red Devils are certainly not light in is forwards. Falcao would therefore be a luxury, rather than a signing out of necessity.
United have had no problem scoring goals this term. A proven player like Javier Hernandez even struggles to get into the first team with the wealth of options at the club.
Trying to fit Falcao, Rooney and Van Persie, not to mention Shinji Kagawa, into the same starting lineup would only cause the United boss headaches.
Colombian legend Faustino Asprilla may believe Old Trafford would be best for Falcao (via Daily Mail), but would Falcao be best for Old Trafford?
Who should/shouldn't the Red Devils buy this summer? Who could have been on this list?