The Premier League champions have failed in attempts to strengthen in the centre of the park this summer, and need fresh targets.
It has been a largely frustrating summer in the transfer market for Manchester United, with David Moyes finding the quest to bring in a central midfielder with creativity and energy tough going.
United were beaten to Thiago Alcantara’s signing by Bayern Munich, and now Cesc Fabregas has stated he wants to stay at Barcelona. Everton are also playing hard ball and saying they won’t sell Marouane Fellaini, while Real Madrid boss coach Carlo Ancelotti says Luka Modric is part of his plans.
Other unrealistic targets, such as Bayern’s Bastian Schweinsteiger and Juventus’ Claudio Marchisio have also been mentioned, but it appears that United now need to concentrate on players that are within their reach. If they don’t, Moyes may well have to make do with what he has.
The Old Trafford outfit have been linked with Yohan Cabaye in the past, and stepping up their efforts to sign the France international again would be a sensible move. The former Lille man had a frustrating season at Newcastle last term, but still has the quality and ability to step effectively into United’s midfield.
His work-rate and pass-and-move style would be a shot in the arm for the Red Devils, and he could sit in the midfield alongside Michael Carrick. He appears ready for a move away from St James’ Park and would not command a huge price tag, like Fabregas or Schweinsteiger would.
Although again a tough target to actually ascertain, a move for Ilkay Gundogan of Borussia Dortmund would make wholehearted sense. The gifted central midfielder played a key role in helping the Signal Iduna Park side to the Champions League final last season, and his range of passing and combativeness in the boiler room was there for all to see.
Although Dortmund will be reluctant to sell, they do not have the same European pedigree as some of the clubs United have been trying to negotiate with, like Barcelona. If the Old Trafford side put the same emphasis on signing Gundogan that they have on Fabregas, the outcome could well be different.
Someone like Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao would also be a positive signing, if slightly underwhelming. Although he does not have the same reputation as United’s previous targets, the 23-year-od has the ability to grow into a top-class international midfielder.
Part of a prodigious flock of talent at San Mames, Herrera has flown under the radar slightly as the plaudits have went to the likes of Fernando Llorente and Javi Martinez in the last couple of seasons. With this duo now gone, Herrera and Iker Muniain are the shining lights for the Basque club.
Although Cabaye, Gundogan or Herrera do not have the same presence as Cesc Fabregas, all three have the ability to improve Manchester United’s midfield. With Moyes’ targets to date proving unrealistic, one of these three could turn into a star for the Premier League champions if given a chance.