Manchester United Transfers: 6 Midfielders the Red Devils Could Sign in January

Lindsay EanetCorrespondent IOctober 4, 2011

Manchester United Transfers: 6 Midfielders the Red Devils Could Sign in January

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    The Red Devils' biggest August transfer window story was their hot pursuit of a high-profile midfielder to replace club legend Paul Scholes. But their deal for Inter Milan's Wesley Sneijder never came to fruition.

    Man United isn't short on talented midfielders, particularly as Ashley Young continues to perform well this season. Tom Cleverley, although he's been on the bench lately, shows promise. 

    Still, if Sir Alex Ferguson signs anyone new in January, it will probably be a midfielder, particularly one praised for versatility and creativity that can replace Paul Scholes.

    Here are six possible candidates who could come to Old Trafford. If there's any we missed or any other midfielders you'd like to see join Manchester United this winter, please tell us in the comments. 

Marek Hamšík

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    The star of Champions League, dark horse Marek Napoli has shaped up to be one of the most sought-after January transfer targets for the Red Devils.

    United are reportedly willing to offer the Serie A side £30 million for their top-rated playmaker. Based on recent performances, Hamšík may be worth a hefty price tag. 

    Hamšík has been a consistent, productive performer for Napoli, his profile rising the past couple of seasons. He recently netted his 50th goal for Walter Mazzari's side and the Azzurri may not be ready to let such a valuable player go.

    But his work ethic and ability to make an impact would make him an asset at Old Trafford, or anywhere else he ends up.

Mateo Kovačić

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    The Dinamo Zagreb wünderkind, now 17, was discovered at the tender age of 13 while playing for Lask Linz's academy. Since then, Kovačić has shown great promise at Dinamo Zagreb, already earning the rather buzz-worthy title of "Croatian Lionel Messi."

    In his debut, he was the youngest player ever to score a goal in the Croatian football league and has been impressing pundits, scouts and fans ever since.

    Speedy, capable of serious aerials and possessing a strong work ethic, the comparisons to greats keep coming for Kovačić, who has earned rave reviews on the international circuit as well, courtesy of Croatian U17 coach Martin Novosalek.

    Although his contract at Dinamo is slated until 2014 and he claims he will stay in Zagreb until then, Kovačić will certainly be a hot target for United come January.

Barry Bannan

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    Barry Bannan is just beginning to find his stride at Aston Villa after cutting his teeth with a series of loan spells. Now on the first team, he recently impressed after he scored Villa's sole goal in their draw two weekends ago at Queens Park Rangers.

    A great player with creativity and a solid passing game, United midfielder Darren Fletcher has compared him to Paul Scholes, so it makes sense just why Sir Alex would seek him out.

    Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish has stated that Bannan will stay at Aston Villa for now. A departure from Villa Park for Bannan seems unlikely at this point as he has become such an impact player for the team.

    As we've come to learn in the wild world of transfer goes, anything can happen between now and then. 

Mario Götze

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    The Borussia Dortmund prodigy has been linked to a move to Old Trafford since the January rumor mill began turning and churning.

    Götze could be the spark of creativity United's midfield has been missing without Paul Scholes and could prove especially valuable in the event that Paul Pogba goes to Burnley on loan, as some rumors suggest.

    He could serve as a role model while Pogba and Cleverley take more time to develop and could be the ideal attacking yin to Darren Fletcher's defensive yang.

Daniele De Rossi

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    De Rossi is a rather unusual contender to join United, as he's already well into his career. Lately Sir Alex Ferguson has been signing them young.

    But he wouldn't be the worst option either: De Rossi's experience, tenacity and tackling ability could add a bit of bite to the midfield defense. 

    Roma is looking to close in on a deal to keep De Rossi before the January window opens, but there's always room for a last minute coup or two. 

Ross Barkley

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    Everton's rising star was one of the first midfielders linked with a move to Old Trafford, along with teammate Jack Rodwell, for whom a deal failed to materialize in the August transfer window.

    A report from early last month read that Sir Alex was planning to offer £10 million and two players to the Toffees for Barkley, who has had an impressive breakthrough season at Goodison Park. He is versatile, capable of scoring and has been compared to Wayne Rooney and Bryan Robson.

    With Everton resistant to give up one of its rising stars (Barkley's contract is set to be ironed out shortly) and Man United's potential difficulty in footing his rather sizable price tag due to debt (Chelsea are reportedly planning to offer £20 million for him), this one might just be the work of the rumor mills.