The Independent came up with a list of ten potential Anfield targets and here are my thoughts on the players we have been linked with.
It’s crazy that Brazil’s first-choice striker is playing at Sevilla. Surely Luis Fabiano should be at a bigger club, and it seems the player is starting to think that as well. The 29-year-old has said himself he would like a move to United, but AC Milan have also been strongly linked with a move. A bid of around £16m could be enough, but no offer has yet been tabled according to the player’s agent.
Sir Alex needs some more quality up front but perhaps doesn’t need a big name signing as he has a Dimitar Berbatov looking to prove himself, he looked good against Celtic, as well as youngster Javier Hernandez. Luis Fabiano is a good player but I don’t see Ferguson making that move.
United look short of options up front. An injury to Rooney tends to bring a crisis to the club as they look around for other options – which frankly aren’t there. Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen have performed nowhere near expectations and Federico Macheda is still a couple of years from his best. So Ferguson will look to strengthen, with one option being Karim Benzema. Ferguson tried to sign the French 22-year-old last summer but he opted for Real Madrid instead. Fortunately for United, he hasn’t had the best of times at the Bernabeu and might be open to moving on. There are rumours Nemanja Vidic could go the other way in any deal.
Don’t see Sir Alex entertaining notions of a swap deal as he will fight tooth and nail for Nemanja Vidic. Benzema is a player the boss clearly has a lot of interest in. The Frenchman may well leave Real Madrid and perhaps, finances permitting, we should make a move for the youngster who at 22 still has a great deal of potential.
Another World Cup star (and obviously one at club level as well) that United are reportedly interested in is Wesley Sneijder. He led Inter Milan to the Champions League title and Holland to the World Cup final – there are few other players as highly thought of right now as the 26-year-old. The player himself has declared his loyalty to Inter, despite his awareness of United’s interest. Ferguson will look to capitalise on the current uncertainty at the club following the departure of Jose Mourinho and the arrival of Rafa Benitez. They’re apparently ready to table of a bid of £29m.
Something of a dream signing. Could give us a burst of creativity in the midfield and goals from somewhere other than Rooney. Has just confirmed his intent to stay at Inter Milan, despite Rafa Benitez’s arrival! Shame.
An exciting prospect is the German wonder-kid Mesut Oezil. He has been a class apart at the World Cup (although judging players on their performances in tournaments isn’t always the best indicator, remember Karl Poborsky?). Yet Ozil looks like the real deal and a move away from Werder Bremen surely beckons. United will face stiff competition from Europe’s other top clubs, but when Ferguson sets his mind to it, he rarely fails to get what he wants.
The young German falls into the category of realistic target. Has one year of his Werder Bremen contract left and is saying he has no intention of leaving as yet but will surely be looking for a step up the footballing ladder. Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich have more than enough similar midfield playmakers in the likes of Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben. Therefore a move abroad is likely. Great prospect and one that we could quite possibly pull off.
A more likely addition is Lassan Diarra. Manchester United are in need of a defensive midfielder due to Owen Hargreaves’ persistent injury problems and Michael Carrick’s inability to step it up for the big games. The Real Madrid man would cost in the region of £21m, but it’d be worth it to fill the problem position. And bringing the 25-year-old to the Premier League wouldn’t be much of a gamble considering his proven ability during spells with Arsenal and Portsmouth.
Great little defensive midfielder. Another Real Madrid man thinking about his future. With Owen Hargreaves seemingly set for another season on the sidelines we may want an out and out battler in the centre of the park and if we do there are few more consistent performers on the market than the former Arsenal, Chelsea and Portsmouth man.
Ferguson is a big admirer of Everton’s Jack Rodwell. The 19-year-old midfielder has been interesting various big clubs; Chelsea and Arsenal are also said to be in the hunt. Amid all the speculation, Everton convinced Rodwell to sign a new five-year contract back in May. Yet, a young Everton player committing himself to the Toffees shortly before moving to Old Trafford is not unheard of (just ask Wayne Rooney). It’s unlikely, but don’t rule it out.
I truly believe that if Sir Alex wanted the young Englishman then he could snare him. He may well at this stage want to stick with Everton but surely if he wants to be ambitious then he will at some stage consider a move to a top four club. Maybe this is a move for the future and not this summer?
Joe Cole is wanted by everyone – but the leading contenders are Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United, who can all provide the England play-maker with Champions League football. His wage demands are high (even Chelsea wouldn’t pay them), but considering he will arrive free of charge, a few extra quid each week doesn’t seem like a bad trade-off to secure the 28-year-old’s services.
Sir Alex has already stated the he is no looking to snap up the England attacking midfielder so I reckon that’s the end of that one.
Another defender currently plying his trade in Portugal that United are interested in is David Luiz. The Brazilian defender is in big demand, with Manchester City and Real Madrid also said to be in the running. The 23-year-old is valued at £29m by his club Benfica, which is a bit steep. But his ability to play at left back (and provide cover for Patrice Evra) and centre-back would be a boost to United’s current squad.
Vastly overrated player who has an agent with delusions of grandeur. If the 23 year old Brazilian is so good why has he never received a call up to the national team? Why is he still at Benfica? Ferguson will not sign him, I am certain about that. Decent player but nowhere near good enough for Old Trafford
In the defensive department, United look strong – and the signing of Smalling will only add to that. A decent option might be Sporting Lisbon’s Miguel Veloso, who can play at the back or in midfield. Fellow Portugal international and United star Nani has been urging Ferguson to bring the 24-year-old to Old Trafford.
Perhaps a year or two late to make a move for the Sporting Lisbon man. Has fallen out of the starting national team side where Carlos Querioz seems to rate Tiago more highly. He may still be worth looking into but only if his valuation is taken down a peg or two.
Edwin van der Sar still looks good for at least another season but at the age of 39, his days are numbered. United already have Tomas Kuszakand Ben Foster in reserve, but neither have done enough to rightfully lay claim to the No 1 jersey when van ser Sar departs. Therefore, Ferguson has been casting an eye over Maarten Stekelenburg, the Holland World Cup keeper. He’s had an excellent tournament and at the age of 27 is mature enough to take on the responsibility of being No 1 at Old Trafford. Prising him away from Ajax would take a hefty bid. United are also said to be interested in David De Gea of Atletico Madrid.
Hasn’t got as safe a pair of hands as many would have you believe. Much rather a move for Celtic man Artur Boruc or even Schalke’s Manuel Neuer. Stekelenburg may look imposing because of his presence in the box but he is a bit of a flapper.