Manchester United could have had Mesut Ozil & Aaron Ramsey

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Without meaning to fall on to the bandwagon of criticising Manchester United while we have the chance, it is fair to say that the they have not done their title of Premier League champions justice this season.

Although it is easy to blame the arrival of David Moyes for their poor form, there has to be some collective responsibility amongst the Manchester United ranks.

What is becoming clearer by the day is that Moyes didn't inherit the best Manchester United squad from Sir Alex Ferguson when he departed in the summer.

Key figures like Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are ageing fast and Robin van Persie is struggling with injury.

The main concerns for United are, however, the overall ability of a number of midfield players.

Anderson, Ashley Young, Wilfried Zaha and Nani just aren't performing under Moyes, leaving the squad brittle in the centre of the park.

But it could have been so different for the Red Devils and their faltering team.

In London, their rivals Arsenal are sitting pretty at the top of the table, 12 points clear of the defending champions and four clear of second placed Chelsea.

Their standout stars have been, without much doubt, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil.

If Manchester United had been more astute in the transfer market, they could have signed both of them ahead of the Gunners.

First of all, to Aaron Ramsey.

Until the start of this season, not many Manchester United fans were lamenting the fact that Ramsey rejected a move to Old Trafford in favour of one to the Emirates.

After his horrific leg break in 2010, the Welsh international failed to rekindle to form that saw Arsenal pay £5m for him.

In fact, Arsene Wenger recently revealed that he sometimes considered dropping the 22-year-old for home games, through fear that the home crowd's jeers would get the better of him.

But this season he has been a revelation. 13 goals in all competitions and a similar amount of assists means he is now early favourite for the PFA Player of the Year award. He is also leading the charts for most tackles from a midfielder in the Premier League.

On current form, he would walk in to the Manchester United team and be far and away their best player.

And if it wasn't for Ferguson's complacency during the summer of 2008, he would be well on his way to being an Old Trafford legend.

Having announced that they'd agreed a fee with Cardiff on their official website, a deal looked likely. But Arsenal snuck in there to steal his signature and that was down to the effort Wenger made.

Ramsey told the Daily Telegraph in 2010: "I listened to what [Ferguson & Wenger] had to say to me and I was just more impressed by how much [Arsenal] knew about me, what they wanted me to do to improve and the path they had for me.

"I just felt more wanted [at Arsenal] than Manchester United."

It's a similar story to that of Mesut Ozil.

The German international was available for transfer this summer and, unbelievably, only Arsenal and PSG came in for the player.

He eventually chose Arsenal and has gone on to inspire the Gunners to top spot, arguably dragging Ramsey up a few levels as well.

They seem to feed off each other with Ramsey putting in the hard yards and Ozil providing those seemingly impossible passes.

So why didn't this excellent playmaker join Manchester United? 

Moyes was desperate to bring in a quality midfielder in the summer. He tried to sign Cesc Fabregas and Anders Herrea but failed to land them both.

The Scotsman is quoted as sainyg by the Daily Mail: "As regards Ozil, we weren’t close to buying him but something was mooted (to us). We didn’t need that position at the time. It was put to us and it was just something at the time we didn’t need.

"We had Shinji Kagawa and Wayne (Rooney) and people of a similar ilk so it wasn’t quite what we required at that time. We were looking at different positions."

It seems almost insane that Moyes was offered the marquee signing he so desperately wanted but, when push came to shove, he - for want of a better saying - bottled it.

So it was Ferguson who cost Manchester United the Premier League's best player this season, and Moyes' inexperience that cost them Ozil.

With both those players in the centre of midfield, they would automatically go from one of the weakest midfields in the top six to very much the strongest and would most likely be somewhere similar to where Arsenal are now rather than ninth.

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Premier League
Manchester United
Aaron Ramsey

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