Manchester United’s summer of 2013 may go down as one of the most frustrating transfer window in the club’s recent history.
With Manchester United only making one signing so far this summer in, Guillermo Varela, GMS contributor Christopher Robins gives his opinion on three players the club should have made more effort to sign.
For Manchester United fans Colombian starlet James Rodriguez seems to have become the forgotten man. Since the emergence of the transfer sagas of midfield duo Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas this summer, talk has died down, but Rodriguez's was a deal Manchester United really should have finalised.
Dubbed as the 'Colombian Cristiano Ronaldo', the 20-year-old is one of world football’s finest attacking prospect, and a man who was seemingly high on Sir Alex Ferguson’s radar for the past 12 months.
Manchester United were continually linked with the winger and it was reported by The Mirror’s Jon Cross that Ferguson had scouted the young starlet as many as seven times, even missing out on signing him for just £24million – a bargain in the modern era.
Yet the club let the winger slip through their grasp when he made a £38.5 million pound move to Monaco and as Manchester United get ready to embark on a new era under David Moyes It may become apparent Sir Alex Ferguson may have been foolish for not signing the 20-year-old this summer.
Monaco has captured a quality player who can play in any of the three positions in the advanced midfield of a 4-2-3-1 or on either wing of a 4-3-3. The winger has blistering pace with a great change of direction and a keen eye for goal, offering Manchester United another dynamic and goal scoring option going forward.
Last season proved United’s lack of quality on the flanks and even with January signing Wilfred Zaha set for stardom at Manchester United, it’s obvious the club were and still are missing Cristiano Ronaldo. James Rodriguez would have been Ronaldo’s perfect replacement.
Since Roy Keane’s departure in 2005 the Red Devils are yet to fill the void of a player who brought steel, leadership and brawn to the heart of the Manchester United midfield.
It’s been obvious for a number of years now, Manchester United weakness lies in the heart of the midfield. They missed a trick letting Kevin Strootman sign for Roma this summer, the midfield maestro was not only financially viable but also the solution to the club’s on-going midfield woes.
As I write this, Michael Carrick is the backbone of Manchester United’s midfield, but the pressure on him to stay fit and in-form is incredible, and United would look a very different and weakened team if he was to suddenly become unavailable.
Tactically, Kevin Strootman would have tailored Manchester United’s system seamlessly functioning as an energetic box-to-box midfielder in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation and acting as the perfect complement to Michael Carrick, allowing him to flourish in the pivot.
But it was the Dutchman’s versatility that caught the eye of Sir Alex Ferguson and it’s easy to see why with the 22-year-old being technically adept on both ends of the pitch. Defensively sound, Strootman has the ability to shut down attacking possession and also provide extra cover for the back four and David de Gea.
Offensively he possesses great vision for long balls, can pin-point passes through defence and perhaps most importantly, he’s capable of making intelligent runs on and off the ball, which often lead to scoring opportunities for both him and his team mates.
It’s rare that a player wants to leave Barcelona, let alone a player who has as much potential as 22-year-old Thiago Alcantara, but with legendary midfield duo Iniesta and Xavi still at the heart of the Catalan’s midfield Thiago had no choice but to look elsewhere for first team football.
The Spaniard was seen to be a high priority on Ed Woodward and David Moyes’s wish list with Thiago appearing to be the solution to Manchester United’s midfield problems. A creative spark in the heart of the midfield, Thiago would’ve brought flair, energy and exquisite technical capabilities to Old Trafford.
Acting as the successor to Scholes, the Spaniard would have essentially played in a deeper role for Manchester United, almost like a box-to-box midfielder, and the type of player who can break the line and put Manchester United on the front foot.
In terms of skills he’s got fantastic vision averaging a 93.9% pass success rate last season, and has great composure on the ball seamlessly being able to create space for himself anywhere on the field.
As you’d expect from a La Masia graduate, the 22-year-old is a very mobile player. He has the ability to play as a holding midfielder, which we've seen throughout his time at Barcelona and also in behind the striker in that no.10 role.
This, combined with his array of skills, makes him one of the world football's most exciting prospects, yet Manchester United let the opportunity slip when Thiago chose to be reunited with former Barcelona coach, Pep Guardiola, and signed for Bayern Munich for just €21.6 million back in July.
Who do you think Manchester United should’ve signed this summer? Comment in the box provided below.
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