Claudio Marchisio: The In-Form Juventus Midfielder Is Exactly What Manchester United Need
The reports emerged shortly before assistant manager Mike Phelan, when quizzed on Sporting Lisbon striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel, admitted that, "A club like Manchester United carefully follow many players all over the world."
Here are five reasons why United must sign Marchisio.
Claudio Marchisio (left)
Having played in Serie A his whole career, and having been at Juventus for virtually his whole life, Claudio Marchisio is well-trained in the fine art of catenaccio.
With the Italian style of play comes their defensive discipline, and Marchisio has perfected that to a tee.
This season, the dynamic, box-to-box midfielder has won 20 tackles in the middle of the park, at a rate of 3.3 per match. He's also made 14 key interceptions at a rate of 2.3 per match.
Such stats completely outshine Manchester United's whole team, with no player winning that many tackles or making as many vital interceptions.
And, considering Sir Alex Ferguson's side have struggled against some rather average sides in recent matches, they could really do with a player like Marchisio to steady the ship in midfield.
Paramount to a team's success is having goal threats all over the pitch, and one place United's don't have a goal-scoring force—and could do with one—is in central midfield.
As possibly Serie A's finest box-to-box midfielder, Claudio Marchisio combines defensive protection with attacking threat, proven by his three goals from six games this season.
He's managed 14 shots on goal at a rate of 2.2 per match, and scores once every two shots he has on target, emphasising the nature of the powerful shot he has on him.
Nobody in United's central midfield has scored that many goals or made that many chances on goal, while the 25-year-old Juventus star has made more shots on goal than all United players barring Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young and Nani.
Considering the goals have dried up slightly for United in recent matches, an added goal threat from Marchisio could be the perfect tonic.
With Paul Scholes retired and more emphasis placed on the wings, Manchester United look like they need a bit more creativity in the middle.
Tom Cleverley is a player who can provide a creative spark from the centre, but, apart from him, United have no-one else in the middle like that.
And, at the moment, it seems as if they need a creative central midfielder like that.
Marchisio equals United's best-performing CMs for chances created, but betters them with the effectiveness of those chances, as the vast majority of his chances led to shots on target, unlike United's midfielders.
He's also able to carry the ball better than virtually all of Manchester United's players, completing 1.5 dribbles per game, which is better than everyone excluding Nani and Phil Jones—again, proving the added creativity he could give the Red Devils.
Manchester United virtually have a complete lineup of talented players, with exceptional depth in the goalkeeper department, all over defence, on the wings and up-front.
But in central midfield, they have one-dimensional players: Anderson, who can defend, but not attack; Tom Cleverley, vice-versa; while the good passers in the team, Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick, do the behind-the-scenes role very well, but are rarely able to make a big impact on the scoreline.
What United don't have, and need, is an experienced, box-to-box player who has proven ability to protect the defence and create in attack.
That's why they struggled greatly against Liverpool and have looked surprisingly shaky in recent games.
Claudio Marchisio fulfils the role United need brilliantly.
Player on the right, United need. Player on the left, they don't.
Out of the majority of Manchester United's report transfer targets, Claudio Marchisio is perhaps one of the best suited to the Premier League champions. Well—on the pitch, at least.
He has the eye for a pass, overall passing ability to slot right in the centre of United's midfield and has the capability in defence and attack to become an established regular.
His tough-tackling, robust and dynamic style is suited to the Premier League. While having been trained in catenaccio, he would already be very well-adjusted and prepared for United's famous counter-attacking tactics.
He may not speak English and may take a while to adapt to the lifestyle and culture in England, as well as his new teammates, but for his attributes on the pitch, Claudio Marchisio is a perfect match for Manchester United.