By Sam Peoples at 8:28 pm 06/06/2011
By Sam Peoples at 8:28 pm 06/06/2011
This summer should see a swarm of activity both into and out of Old Trafford. Barcelona highlighted our midfield weaknesses once again in the Champions League final but it has been a problem all season for anybody who has watched United. The exit of Hargreaves, the continuing injuries of Anderson, the yo-yo form of Carrick, the drop in form of Fletcher, the retirement of Scholes and the twilight seasons for Giggs: need I say more? Our midfield is in need of a big shake-up this summer and with De Gea confirmed as United’s first signing, United have already shown their eagerness to enter the market early and find the best possible deals.
The biggest pitfall of the midfield this year has been the ability to bridge the gap between the midfield and attack. Paul Scholes retiring was a massive blow. If there was one midfielder in the United team you would turn towards for a defence splitting pass, the diminutive ginger would be your man. Not any more.Too often, towards the end of the season mostly, United were relying on Rooney dropping deep and bringing the play forward with creativity. Sure, he is bloody fantastic at it and it helped Rooney re-find his form with the goal against Barcelona only showcasing what we had been seeing all season but I want Rooney to play up in the attack and get another 34 goals a season for us. We need a creative player to take this team to the next level but who could we buy? I’ve put together my top contenders for the spot. Disagree? Make some comments.
For me, this is an easy first choice. Heavily linked with United last Summer, Sneijder chose to stay with Inter Milan but a topsy turvy season may give United a chance to come in with an offer and tempt him away from Inter. At 26, he is coming into the best years for his football career and could well choose to spend it at United. Named European midfielder of the year in 2010 following Inter’s great season, he is without doubt one of the top midfielders in the world. His career has blossomed ever since leaving Real Madrid having won the first treble in Italy with Inter Milan and made it to the World Cup final with Holland in 2010. As a personal accolade, Sneijder also bagged 5 goals and was the only Dutchman to make it into the all-star team. Personally, I am a big fan of Sneijder. I love the Dutch footballing philosophy and the history that surrounds it and with Sneijder graduating from the Ajax academy, he has always had the total football mentality embedded in his brain. He could walk into the United starting XI and play just behind Rooney and Hernandez, filling the hole that has been so apparent this season. This would be the most expensive signing we make this summer and may even break the club record if we choose Sneijder, as I don’t think that we would be able to get him for anything less than £30million. This hefty price tag may well put off SAF but if the Glazers put up the cash, this could be the fundamental signing of the season. Fingers crossed.
SAF is openly an admirer of the Croatian midfielder and this season has been a good one for the progression of Modric, having produced some quality performances in the Premier League and also having gained the experience of playing in the Champions League. Thanks to Manchester City, Spurs failed to qualify for the pinnacle of European football and Modric has since openly stated how he wants to play Champions League football and the possibility of joining United seems there. It is not unreasonable to think that Ferguson would rather choose an established Premier League player with the credentials to play top European football and Modric fits the mould in that respect. Calm in possession, hard in the tackle and composed in vision, Modric has the ability to play for any team in the top 4. The 25-year old would cost anywhere in the region of £15-25million but it would be worth every penny. He is the box-to-box midfielder that we need, doing his defensive duties as well as possessing the talent to quickly change the emphasis to attack.
Here is an attacking midfielder that scored 8 goals and 1 assist in the first half of the Bundesliga but then found himself out of the remainder due to injury picked up on International duty. Kagawa was integral to the early rise of Borussia Dortmund this season that helped them on their way to the Bundesliga title and could well join Sahin on the exit list from the German outfit. Having joined for just £294,000 from J League side Cereza Osaka, he made quite an impact on the team. At just 22, he is a young and promising attacking midfielder that shows prowess with both feet and an excellent eye for goal and with goals from midfield desperately lacking this season at United, injecting someone into the team who can provide goals is a must. In terms of pricing in comparison to Modric and Sneijder, Kagawa would be available at a fraction of the cost it would take to pull one of the other to towards Old Trafford. A bid of anything around the £10million mark should be enough to set the ball rolling and if Park Ji Sung is anything to go by, Kagawa could turn into the next Asian sensation at Old Trafford.
Never thought I would be putting his name in the pot but recent speculation surrounding his future emerged after Nasri didn’t rule out a move to United in a recent interview. This season he has probably been the best Arsenal midfielder and was pretty much central to all of Arsenal’s creativity as Fabregas did nothing all year. With 15 goals and 4 assists this season, he upped his levels and was recognised by gaining a place on the Premier League team of the year. Proven in the Premier League and with the individuality that United are looking for, I can’t see a reason why any United fan would be upset if he played in the red of United next season. Arsenal would be stupid to let him go considering that Fabregas will probably move to Barcelona this summer but if United can come in with a £20-30 million bid, Arsenal may well be powerless to keep a player at a club that doesn’t want to be there. They tried to do it with Cesc this year but his form showed where his heart lay and they may choose to not make the same mistake again.
Knowing SAF he will pull another diamond signing this season as United look to secure #20 next season and look toward challenging the indomitable Barcelona. As to who will only remain far-fetched speculation but I trust he will make the right signing to compliment the team that already subsides at Old Trafford.