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January Transfers Rumours: 12 Christmas Wishes for Manchester United

Vijay MuraliAnalyst IDecember 12, 2011

January Transfers Rumours: 12 Christmas Wishes for Manchester United

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    Manchester United endured one of the most surprising and humiliating defeats in their proud history in the Champions League against FC Basel, which knocked them from Europe's elite competition. However, Sir Alex Ferguson has silenced their critics on numerous occasions in the past, and it would be a mistake for anyone to write them off the title challenge. They were back on track with an emphatic victory over Wolves and will hope for Manchester City to drop points in the course of the season.

    The Red Devils started the season on a very bright note, especially after the demolition of Arsenal, but they have been inconsistent in the last few weeks. Their biggest concern, as of now, would be the long-term injury to their captain and arguably their best defender, Nemanja Vidic. With Vidic possibly missing the rest of the season, the other defenders need to step up to perform at their best.

    The other area which Ferguson could look to strengthen is in central midfield to add some creativity to the team and to fill the void left by the retirement of Paul Scholes. With injuries curtailing the playing time of youngster Tom Cleverley, United could also look for a world class central midfielder in the summer transfer window. Here are 12 players who could make a difference to the side if signed by Manchester United.

Neven Subotic (Borussia Dortmund)

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    Neven Subotic is one of the most talented defenders in the world, and though he was recently out with injury, he should be fit in a few weeks and could be an effective signing for Manchester United. With the Red Devils losing Vidic due to injury, they could look no further than his commanding teammate at Serbia. Subotic is extremely strong and can cope with the physical side of the game admirably.

    With BVB getting knocked out of the Champions League like Manchester United, Subotic could be enticed by a move to one of the biggest clubs in the world. Also, with Rio Ferdinand clearly past his peak, Subotic could be a long-term solution to United's defensive backline. He is good technically as well as commanding and can form a dominant partnership with Vidic when the latter returns from injury.

Luka Modric (Tottenham)

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    Luka Modric has been one of the best Premier League midfielders for a few seasons now, and it is unsurprising that he has been targeted by big clubs. Tottenham have made significant progress under Harry Redknapp, and Modric has been key to their development. The central midfielder is integral to their plans, which is why they rebuffed all attempts from Chelsea to sign the Croatian international.

    If Sir Alex Ferguson is determined to bring a creative midfielder to Old Trafford, then he could look at Tottenham's Modric, though Spurs would be very reluctant sellers. Also, competition from other clubs is certain to drive up the price of the midfielder. However, Manchester United in the past have secured the tough signings of Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov from Spurs, and if Modric is interested, they do have a chance of sealing the deal for the midfielder.

Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan)

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    Wesley Sneijder is one of the best central midfielders in the world and is currently playing for Inter Milan, who are struggling this season languishing in mid-table. Sneijder was signed by Inter when Jose Mourinho was the manager of the club and was one of the major reasons why Inter were able to win then treble under the Portuguese tactician. However, he has not been as effective since Mourinho left the club and has been linked with a move to Old Trafford.

    Though he is already 27 years old, he could have a major impact at Manchester United and will certainly improve the quality of the midfield at the club. There are many young midfield prospects at United like Ravel Morison and Paul Pogba, but they do need time to become regulars, and Sneijder could help them win titles while Sir Alex Ferguson could groom these youngsters for the first team.

Mehdi Benatia (Udinese)

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    Udinese defender Mehdi Benatia is a player who has been tracked by Manchester United according to this report on Goal.com. Udinese have had an excellent start to their season, currently in second place tied on points with leaders Juventus, and Benatia has had an important role to play. He has helped them remain solid at the back and has attracted the attentions of some big clubs like AC Milan and Paris St. Germain as well.

    With the injury to Vidic, United could look to add a defender who will provide solidity, and Benatia certainly fits the bill for the Red Devils. He can also play at right back, and signing the 24-year-old could be an intelligent move by Manchester United.

Marek Hamsik (Napoli)

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    Marek Hamsik is an established central midfielder for Napoli and is one of the best players in their side. He has proven that he can compete at the highest level and has progressed into a superb player at Napoli. Hamsik is also the captain of the Slovakian national team, and he does have the capability to make the difference if he is signed by Manchester United.

    It will be difficult to persuade the Italian club to sell one of their prized assets in January transfer window, especially when they are still in the Champions League. However, United are one of the biggest clubs in the world and could look to attract the midfielder, though they could face competition from Manchester City. Hamsik is definitely a player who will improve the quality at United and will be an excellent signing for the Red Devils if they manage to strike a deal.

Mario Goetze (Borussia Dortmund)

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    Mario Goetze is one of the finest young players in the game today and has attracted the attention of some of the biggest clubs in the world. The German teenager has already made his debut for the national team and is regarded to be one of their best talents. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder has shown sumptuous skill and is an integral player to the current Bundesliga champions.

    However, with Dortmund crashing out of the Champions League, there is a possibility that Goetze might consider a move away from the club. He has attracted interest from the Gunners, but Manchester United do have the chance of attracting him to Old Trafford. He is an exciting young player, and under Sir Alex Ferguson, he will only continue to progress into a much better player.

Ricky Van Wolfswinkel (Sporting Lisbon)

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    Ricky Van Wolfswinkel has been linked with a move to the Premier League, with both Manchester United and Chelsea reported to be interested. The 22-year-old versatile forward has impressed for both old club FC Utrecht and also for Sporting Lisbon, for whom he signed this summer. He is in excellent form for his club and has unsurprisingly been tracked by some of the biggest clubs.

    The Dutchman is in excellent form, and Manchester United could move for him in the January transfer window. However, with United quite strong in this area, there could look for players to fill their more important needs in midfield and defense. Nevertheless, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has an eye for recruiting some of the best young talents, and Van Wolfswinkel could be targeted by the manager.

Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilboa)

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    Javi Martinez is another of Spain's talented midfielders, though he is very capable defensively as well. He is a player who could adjust to the Premier League considering his height and physicality and could prove to be a great asset to the team. Martinez, who is tracked by many clubs in the world, has a release clause of £34 million on his latest contract, which could prove difficult to meet for Manchester United.

    However, if they can lower the price and beat the competition from other clubs, there is no doubt that Martinez could turn out to be an excellent signing for United. The 23-year-old Spanish international is very talented and could provide great stability in midfield while also contributing to attack with his passing and distribution.

Gaitan (Benfica)

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    Gaitan is a very exciting talent currently playing for Benfica, who incidentally finished top of the group in the Champions League thanks to the decent results they obtained against Manchester United and the rest of the teams. The tricky midfielder was one of the best players against the Red Devils, and there have been rumors linking him with a move to Old Trafford.

    With the departure of Angel Di Maria two seasons back, Gaitan has established himself as an important player for the Portuguese giants and is vital to their progress. He will not be sold at a bargain, but he could attract many potential suitors in the future. Though he can still develop as a player, he could be a superb player under the right guidance and at the right club, which is why United could try for the midfielder.

Gary Cahill (Bolton)

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    Gary Cahill is one of the best English defenders and is currently playing for Bolton Wanderers, who are currently in the relegation zone. The England international is likely to be targeted by some clubs in the January transfer window, like Tottenham and Chelsea. With only six months remaining on his contract, he could be a signing with good value for money.

    Though United do have good young centre backs in Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, Cahill is more experienced than both of them and could provide valuable depth in defense. With Vidic out injured, he could present a good option for United especially, as he will not take time to adjust to the physicality of the Premiership, which means United could utilize him in many league games as they strive to defend their league title.

Christian Eriksen (Ajax)

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    Ajax have produced some of the world's best talents in the past, and they have one of the best young talents in the world in Christian Eriksen. Eriksen has already established himself as a vital player for Denmark and Ajax despite being only 19 and is one for the future. It will not be surprising if he attracts the attention of plenty of clubs in the future.

    However, Manchester United could make an excellent signing if they can manage to sign the versatile midfielder, as he can be integral to the future. Sir Alex Ferguson has been instrumental in developing some young talents into world class players like Cristiano Ronaldo, and will believe that he can bring out the best from the Danish youngster.

Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich)

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    Bastian Schweinsteiger is one of the world's best midfielders, and it would be a huge coup for the Red Devils if they can manage to sign the midfielder. The Germany international has been linked with a move to Old Trafford in the past, but it is now more than ever that United require a player of Schweinsteiger's quality in midfield. He can provide fluidity in offense and also provide good defensive stability from his midfield position.

    The midfielder is currently injured for Bayern Munich, but should recover by the end of January. It is rather wishful thinking at this moment that Schweinsteiger would join Manchester United after their elimination in the Champions League. However, if there was any way to sign him, then United shouild go for him irrespective of the cost because he could help them win many titles in the future if signed.

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