Manchester United had the Premier League title race all sewn up in April, but that hasn’t stopped people questioning the strength of Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad.
Domestic success helped to satisfy the hunger for silverware this season but United’s dominance in the Premier League only served to highlight their shortcomings in other areas.
Talk of winning another historic Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble was reduced to hushed tones when patchy form led to an early exit from all cup competitions.
And it’s United’s midfield that most fans will agree needs reinforcing the most. The experience that Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs bring to the side is priceless but the veteran pair are being used sparingly and cannot be relied on forever.
Anderson, who is falling further down the pecking order, is a favorite to leave during the close season. Meanwhile, Darren Fletcher, whose colitis condition keeps him out of the side, is predicted to head for the exit too.
Tom Cleverley still needs time to convince the Old Trafford faithful and Nick Powell is an emerging prospect for the future, which leaves just Michael Carrick as United’s most reliable and creative player in midfield.
The 31-year-old’s performances this season led to him being included in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year. He has played in all but two of United’s league games in the 2012/13 campaign.
But if United are going to retain their Premier League crown and challenge for more honors next season, Ferguson will need to make additions in the center of the park.
The tantalizing prospect of a heroes return for Cristiano Ronaldo aside, here are five of the top creative midfielders that could be coming to Old Trafford this summer.