Is Yoann Gourcuff the Answer To Manchester United's Midfield Troubles?
Is Yoann Gourcuff the solution to the midfield troubles United are likely to experience next season?
The 23-year-old lined up for a hapless French national side last night as the attacking pivot of a three-man midfield against a dazzling Spain team that won 2-0 with consummate ease.
Although the ball was as much a stranger to him as it was to the rest of his French colleagues, Gourcuff showed flashes of the touch and movement that saw him voted France's player of the year last season.
Sir Alex must surely be aware of the player's ability to score from midfield, and the marvellous technique he displayed upon his return home from Italy.
A sensational goal against PSG last term brought him to the attention of fans beyond the Hexagon, and led to Gourcuff being hailed as the heir to Zidane.
La Ligue 1 is no longer the factory of football marvels that it was in the 1990's, but United's need for midfield craft and invention is great, and Gourcuff might be worthy of a closer inspection.
The decline of the aging Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs is a massive headache for the manager that can only get worse next season.
Anderson's serious injury may have reprieved the Brazilian's United career, but still presents Ferguson with the urgency to restock his midfield.
Currently, United has the sterling Fletcher and Carrick to deploy in the engine room, given Gibson is still unproven at the highest level.
It is fanciful that the recovering Hargreaves will make an immediate return at his previous level after nearly two years out of the game with tendinitis.
Top-class football may be a stretch for Possebon, and the ones for the future in reserve may find the step up too great during their first year.
That leaves the manager with little choice but to scour the globe for midfield reinforcement. A technical player who is able to spot a pass, shoot from distance, and get the 10 goals the manager demands from his midfielders, would do nicely.
Sir Alex could do worse than Gourcuff, whose age and capacity to improve, certainly make him a better candidate for recruitment than other midfield targets being currently talked up.
But of course, the manager might have to beg for, steal, or borrow the £17 million transfer fee.
It may also be true that Ferguson is put off by Gourcuff's relative failure at AC Milan, and by his dip in form this year.
Gourcuff, a very big fish in a small pond, could decide not to leave France so soon after the blues of his Italian sojourn.
That said, if the player is ready for a bigger challenge, he has much to offer Sir Alex. His lack of success in Italy should not be held against him either, especially given his age.
Some top talents have flopped in Serie A, only to flourish in the Premiership.
Sir Alex would be feted across the land if he signed Gourcuff, and found that the player had the influence of a Thierry Henry or Patrick Vieira on United.
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