The premiere league title has been wrapped up. For the 20th time, the Manchester United Red Devils have claimed the coveted trophy from their rivals and neighbors Manchester City after losing it out on the final day last season due to goal differentials. With the heartache suffered by manager Sir Alex Ferguson, players and fans alike, the club knew there was much to do to ensure they come back stronger and much more hungrier to reclaim the silverware once again.
The summer following the devastating loss of the title, Ferguson wasted no time in strengthening his squad in hopes of contending, in both domestic and European competitions. Help came in the form of the talisman who orchestrated Borussia Dortmund to two straight Bundesliga championship, dethroning the perennial champions Bayern Munich and 2012 Asian Player of the Year, Shinji Kagawa. The Japanese international was brought in to help the weakened mid field and the lack of creativity at that position. Though his first year has been injury plagued and the complete opposite to his time at the Westfalenstadion, his play towards the ending of the season has picked up astronomically.
Last but not least, another key acquisition, arguably the marquee move of the 2012 summer transfer window, in the former Arsenal striker and 2012 PFA Player of the Year Robin van Persie was brought in as a reinforcement to booster Uniteds already strong striking force. He has done for United what he has continuously done for Gooner fans in his time at the Emirates Stadium, minus the multiple injuries.
With only 3 games left on the schedule and much questions surrounding the future of players, it will be exciting to see what occurs during the opening of the transfer window. Who will remain at the club? Who is on their way out? Who is Ferguson going to bring in, in hopes of retaining the championship? Lets begin.
Though Ferguson has said he is satisfied with the squad at his disposal and isnt looking to overhaul comes summer, dont be surprised if names you have been accustomed to are no present.
Lets start with the outs.
Scholes, after a short retirement stint was brought back to in a time when United was bombarded with a rash of injuries to its mid field, and with Ferguson reluctant to signing someone during the January transfer window, he persuaded the maestro himself to come out of retirement. The 38 year old United legend has been sidelined for a major portion of the premiere league season, since suffering a knee injury. His last game came against West Ham in a 2-2 tie on January 5. With just three games left, it is likely that he will hang up his boots for good.
Anderson, Anderson, Anderson. What can we say about the man who was said to be the next coming of the exuberant Ronaldinho. The former Porto man bought for £20m was suppose to be a star. In his tenacious years at United, injuries have plagued the Brazilian international, limiting him and fans alike from seeing what he is capable of. Though he is under contract until 2015, United are in no hurry to offer him an extension. He has said he would love to finish his career at Old Trafford but with his injury track record, and a heavy drop in value, it would be a smart move to move the injury prone midfielder to bring in a player of better quality. No club has made United aware of their interest in the player but a transfer fee of £5-7m will be a good enough offer for the “flop” mid fielder.
The on going contractual dispute between in-consistent winger Nani and United could see the Portugese man also shipped out. Nani performance this season has been poor, and I would question anyone who disagrees with that statement. He has threatened to honor his contract, which is set to expire next year in hops of leaving on a free transfer. With the thought of losing him for nothing, United will surely be looking at offers for the players. Juventus, AC Milan, Zenit St. Petersburg and Paris Saint Germaine are clubs all interested in the services of the winger. Prior to the start of the season Russian big spender Anzhi Makhachkala were rumored to make a move for Nani, but nothing came of it.
There are others rumored to be leaving the club, though there are no truth to the reports. Ferguson’s interest in players of late has cast doubt over the future of key players. Strikers Wayne Rooney and Havier “Chicharito” Hernandez futures with the club remain uncertain with Ferguson’s growing admiration of Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao and Borussia Dortmunds front man Robert Lewandowski.
With that said, it’s time to move on to who could be on their way to Old Trafford.
As a huge supporter and fan of Manchester United, I for one would love for the gaffer to strengthen our weak areas on the pitch, rather than spend ridiculously on an area where we are quite dominant. Yes, its enticing to envision the likes of Falcao or Lewandowski in United red, but what is the use of strikers if the midfield cannot supply them? What United needs is to bring in help, a world class midfielder who will facilitate the flow of offense along with Michael Carrick.
Victor Wanyama has been linked by United for some time now. The Celtic defensive midfielder will be a great addition to a weak United midfield. The robust, box to box midfielder has the strength and skill set to make a huge contribution in the EPL. With him in the lineup, players like Yaya Toure and Moussa Dembele cannot bully the midfield like they have done this year. His consistency, excellent tackling ability and calmness on the ball has made him a fan favorite, not to mention his performance in the 2-1 win against powerhouse Barcelona in the Champions League.
Another big defensive midfielder linked to United who will only beef up that position is Netherlands captain and PSV Eindhoven’s Kevin Strootman. The left-footed anchor, like Wanyama, is a box to box player. He is a very good passer of the ball and has a competent tackling rate. The more rounded of the two, Strootman will give United what it lacks, which is a strong force with the ability to control the tempo of a game. With Darren Fletchers career still in doubt, Strootman would be a key replacement.
Ilkay Gundogan would be another great addition to take over in that position, but with Dortmund losing Mario Gotze to rival Bayern Munich next year, I doubt they will be looking to sell anymore of their key players. With Nani departure inevitable, there will be a need for a left-footed winger. Due to Ashley Youngs frail, glass like ankles, I will be shocked to see him as a XI player.
The only player to come to mind is Porto’s James Rodriguez. The Colombian winger is the type of fundamental player that we all know Six Alex Ferguson loves. Said to be one of the most craftiest wingers, he, unlike Nani, is a selfless play maker. His great speed and fantastic dribbling skills gives him the arsenals to take on opposing defenders on either flanks. His creativity on the wing makes him a standout player and a big contributor to Porto. Preceding the start of the 2012-13 season, United had planned to make a bid for the Porto star, but with a buy-out clause of £45m pulled out. I am certain Ferguson will go back.
Angel Di Maria has emerged as a potential replacement for out of favour winger Nani. The Los Blanco winger is under contract until 2016, but with the dip in form of the Argentine, Real Madrid will be open to offers. Nani could also play a key part if this deal is to happen, as he would be used as a swap player. Manchester United must not focus on bringing strikers to an already prowess attacking force once the transfer window opens. It is best to focus on rebuilding on where the squad is weak, the midfield, than spending recklessly like Chelsea for one player.
Sir Alex Ferguson has said there is no need for an overhaul to his squad, and will be relying on the younger players, but with City losing the title, Chelsea looking to booster their squad, and the emergence of a strong Tottenham side, he must break the bank book in order to contend to retain the EPL championship.