We have all been here before, right?
For those who support Manchester United Football Club, the inevitable transfer speculation that greets every summer seems to follow the same path.
There is an endless bevvy of the world's best players tipped for a big-money move to Old Trafford. Few do, however, and great hopes in Manchester and across the globe are dashed.
Last summer proved an exception, though. With the Red Devils having missed out on Eden Hazard and Lucas Moura, the signing of Robin van Persie from Arsenal was an unexpected—but very much appreciated—gift.
The £24 million transfer proved a bargain—30 goals and all the rest.
We all have potential targets we would like to see put on the red shirt next term. Thiago, Kevin Strootman and Gareth Bale sit near the top of the list.
In terms of central defenders the club is pursuing, Ezequiel Garay seems to be new boss David Moyes' pick, according to Alan Nixon of Mirror Football.
But if the Scotsman is intent on strengthening his side's back line, how about Internazionale star Andrea Ranocchia?
Back in May, citing Inter fansite CanaleInter, talkSPORT reported that, "The first objective of new Manchester United manager David Moyes could be Andrea Ranocchia."
This week, Charles Perrin of British tabloid, The Express, claimed that the Scotsman was still interested in the 25-year-old.
This article will assess whether Ranocchia would be a success at Old Trafford and if a central defender should really be Moyes' priority.
How Good is He?
Internazionale leaked a ton of goals last season in Serie A, the joint-second most in the Italian division.
Saying this, Ranocchia was arguably his side's most impressive player, holding down the fort as those around him crumbled through injury.
The towering defender is a strong presence in the air, leading his team in aerial duels won last term with 3.5 per game, via WhoScored.
He also led the team in tackles won and blocked shots per game.
He is a sturdy rock at the back. He may not be the bulkiest defender in Italy, but he is deceptively strong and physically imposing.
It is worth mentioning that Ranocchia is a calm presence on the ball and can be relied upon to distribute play out from the back.
He is a versatile player who has been known to play in a whole range of positions under Inter boss Andrea Stramaccioni.
He has made 10 appearances for the Italy national team, too, a reflection of his high standing in his own country.
Discipline may be the only issue surrounding Ranocchia. Last season, he picked up 11 yellow cards in Serie A.
Would He Fit?
At 25, Ranocchia would not necessarily be a young signing for the future. He is a footballer swiftly approaching his peak.
Looking at the current Manchester United back line, there is a need for new players to come through, but things are looking rosy in the short term.
Nemanja Vidic remains one of the best in his position in world football, while Rio Ferdinand's renaissance 2012/13 campaign saw him named to the PFA Team of the Season.
Ferdinand is not getting any younger, though. His lack of pace was worryingly exposed by Bale in a particularly memorable 3-2 home defeat to Tottenham last term.
But does a replacement need to be purchased?
There are a fine number of burgeoning prospects coming through the ranks at Old Trafford.
Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling all have the look of future first-teamers and deserve more playing time next season to continue their respective developments.
Jones especially—the 21-year-old has the potential to be one of United's greatest-ever players, according to former boss Sir Alex Ferguson, as per Simon Stone of the Press Association (via the Daily Mail).
This is not to pour water on the Ranocchia rumours or the Garay rumours either for that matter but to simply question if there is a need for another central defender?
If David Moyes thinks so, then in David Moyes we trust.
Do you think Andrea Ranocchia would be a good fit at United?
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