Manchester United’s recent troubles on the pitch have been well documented, and their unceremonious exit from the Champions League on Wednesday has given rise to speculation they may delve into the transfer market in order to boost their chances of retaining their league crown this season.
Sir Alex Ferguson has often spoken of his reluctance to dip into the transfer market, especially in January because of the lack of value, however with Manchester City leading the title race the Scot may be forced into action, and the key area of concern remains the midfield.
With Anderson and Tom Cleverly on the sidelines for some time, who can Ferguson turn to in order to solve his midfield mystery?
The Lille attacking midfielder has earned himself a reputation as one of the finest talents in Europe, and papers all over the land were filled with speculation Manchester United were ready to swoop not so long ago.
The 20-year-old plays in an attacking midfield role but drifts out to the wings, meaning he wouldn’t exactly fit the billing of the Paul Scholes replacement that most agree United need, but as an attacking force there are few better at his age.
Be warned though, he will cost a pretty penny and is a target of numerous other clubs, so won’t be easy to land.
Chances of signing for United: Slim, especially in January
The longest running transfer saga on the go at the moment, the desire from both sides to make the move happen is clear, with only the small matter of convincing Inter Milan to let their star player go standing in the way.
The Dutchman demonstrated his worth at the World Cup last year, confirming his status as behind only Xavi and Andreas Iniesta as the world’s finest genuine midfielder.
Inter’s woeful start to the season may help facilitate a move and as January nears the rumour mill has certainly cranked back into life on this one, but it remains unlikely still.
Chances of signing for United: Looking more and more likely if United are willing to pay the price
Benfica youngster Javi Garcia name has been appearing in more and more gossip and transfer rumour columns as the world goes by, and it is thanks to an increased interest from United in taking him to Old Trafford in January.
Ferguson got a close up glimpse of the young Spaniard when he played in the Champions League against the Red Devils for Benfica, with the Scot reportedly impressed with what he saw.
His versatility is a bonus and wouldn’t cost as much as United’s other targets, but as something of an unknown it would be a risk for Fergsuon to pin his hopes of sprucing up his midfield this season on a unproven player at the very highest level.
Chances of joining United: If it was a toss-up between Garcia & Gaitan (next), then this is the cheaper option
While Javi Garcia may be one name linked with United, it is his team-mate Nicolas Gaitan who is generating the most amount of gossip over a potential switch to Old Trafford at the moment.
With a reported £39 million release clause in his contract he won’t come cheap but the 23-year-old’s potential appears limitless and he looks to have all the qualities to succeed with the reigning champions.
The youngster recently broke into the Argentine national squad and is more inclined to play on the left of midfield than a genuine passing central midfielder, but there is certainly some weight in the rumours linked him with a move to United.
Chances of joining United: Unlikely the Red Devils will meet the release clause - but a talent on the radar
Daniele De Rossi
Manchester City may lead to the race for the signature of Daniele De Rossi, but that hasn’t stopped the media from repeatedly linking the rumour man with a link to the red half of the city.
The 28-year-old has forged a fearsome reputation at Roma at the heart of the Italian giants’ midfield quartet, and would be a nice fit for United’s needs.
A stumbling block in the move could be his reluctance to leave Italy despite an admittance that he likes English football, but the fact that he is coming to the end of his current deal and is yet to sign a new one could mean a move in January is still on the table.
Chances of joining United: United trail behind City in this race as well