Under the tutelage of new boss David Moyes, Manchester United have endured a difficult beginning to the 2013/14 domestic campaign.
The former Everton favourite has obviously found it complicated to adequately plug the sizeable void left by the departure of the truly iconic and unforgettable Sir Alex Ferguson.
Towards the end of last week, however, United were given cause for optimism with the news that the club had clinched a spectacular £300 million shirt deal with sportswear giants Nike.
Although it does not seem to have been made apparent as of yet, it is widely expected that such an extravagant deal will provide Moyes with a sizeable boost in the transfer market.
Given United's struggles to provide consistently excellent service to their talented frontline so far this season, I believe it is essential that they use the bulk of any money set aside to ensure that they are able to capture a talented midfield star.
Here are five playmakers who should be targeted:
Although largely famous for his spiky, gravity-defying hairdo, Slovakian playmaker Hamsik is an integral figure for Serie A title hopefuls Napoli.
Having represented his current club for six years, the former Brescia man may well be keen to put his obvious qualities to the test and pursue a fresh challenge in another of the world's highly-rated leagues.
Wishful thinking perhaps, but a return for Fabregas - whom United supposedly chased repeatedly during the summer - is surely worth trying for Moyes.
Although Fabregas is a former Arsenal star and has often pledged his affection and happiness with current employers Barcelona, he is often overlooked in favour of his arguably more reputable teammates and could be tempted with the offer of once again becoming the focal point of a team.
Perhaps more adequately described as a box-to-box midfielder rather than your traditional playmaker, Borussia Dortmund star Gundogan has long been linked with a potential switch to Old Trafford.
Although it could very well be argued that he represents a stronger outfit in Jurgen Klopp's side, presumably Gundogan would be astute enough to realise the considerable benefits behind a switch to the Premier League's most-illustrious club.
Moyes and United allegedly attempted to negotiate a deal for Chelsea's Spanish star during the summer, but were evidently unable to complete any such deal.
Although transfers between fierce title rivals are indeed rare, Mata remains largely out of favour and chronically underused at Stamford Bridge during Jose Mourinho's second-spell in charge and, if United can make an offer that is too alluring to refuse, he could well move to Old Trafford.
Italian playmaker Verratti is forging quite a reputation for himself with wealthy Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.
If Moyes has any serious long-term designs on Verratti, then he should move very quickly to ensure that he does not miss out. The 20-year-old is a truly stunning talent who is still some years from reaching his peak, meaning he is surely likely to be in high-demand very soon.
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