Louis van Gaal has made it clear with his recent comments that he will be bringing in a new creative midfielder in the summer. That is probably music to the ears of Manchester United fans everywhere.
After the disaster that was last year under David Moyes, it’s hard to say how much United have actually moved on. Each weekend it is clear to everyone that Van Gaal still does not yet know his strongest team, which is worrying for fans and players.
When asked if the reason he is playing Wayne Rooney in a deeper, midfield role was because he had no one else creative enough to play there, he answered: “Of course that’s the case”.
United's current midfield situation
That is probably not what £29 million summer signing Ander Herrera wanted to hear, though he must have been thinking it, after all, he’s only started seven games since joining United.
Billed as a playmaker, and one that attracted interested from a number of other clubs, Herrera has not lived up to the hype and certainly hasn’t lived up to the price tag.
Article continues below
Juan Mata also finds himself sitting on the bench for the Manchester side so that must also be hard to hear for him especially when fans know how good he can be in this country after his time at Chelsea.
Of Van Gaal's other players, it seems that Michael Carrick can’t be relied on either as he keeps picking up injuries and Marouane Fellaini, well Marouane Fellaini is Marouane Fellaini.
Rooney is the go to guy for now, but you can’t help feeling he’s wasted in the deeper position especially when Radamel Falcao is struggling to get goals in his position.
So, what options will there be when the club do dip into the transfer market?
Kevin Strootman (Roma)
The Roma midfielder is a player that Van Gaal knows well from his time as Netherlands manager. In fact, Strootman was a vital piece to Van Gaal’s World Cup puzzle but that fell apart when Strootman picked up an injury in March that kept out of the tournament.
The Dutchman has made a point before of his interest in Strootman despite his injury, but has he changed his mind?
Quite possibly because Strootman has suffered a bit of a setback as his Roma manager, Rudi Garcia, has ruled him out for the rest of the season.
This could however force the asking price to come down and leave the door open for Strootman at Old Trafford.
Paul Pogba (Juventus)
Could all of Manchester United’s problems have been avoided if Sir Alex Ferguson had managed to keep Pogba at Old Trafford?
Possibly, but there’s no doubt he wasn’t the player then that he is now. His time at Juventus has seen him develop into a creative, goalscoring threat and he announced himself on the international stage having a good World Cup with France in the summer.
The 21-year-old signed a new contract back in October to see him through to 2019 in Turin but it seems inevitable that the Frenchman will be moving on before then with Old Trafford possibly being the destination.
There’s no doubt about it that Pogba could easily be the answer to United’s creative issues.
Arturo Vidal (Juventus)
Vidal has sparked interest at Old Trafford for a couple of seasons now and is always a name that is thrown around when a player of these requirements is needed.
He is a strong and talented player, and in his prime at age 28. He encapsulates what it takes to be a box-to-box midfielder, with his high energy levels, relentless defensive work, and his talent in the final third. Vidal performs well on big occasions, and big occasions are something that Manchester United are used to.
Van Gaal has expressed his interest in the Chilean before, when he first arrived at United he hinted at a possible move for the 28-year-old but it never materialised.
Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Rumours were rampant in January again as it was suggested that Modric could be making his way back to the Premier League after his wife struggled to settle in Spain.
The 29-year-old midfielder is the ideal playmaker for United as he is proven in England. He can play in a deeper role, or out wide but there is no doubt he is at his best when he is pushing forward and attacking.
Creating chances and chipping in with goals is something Modric has been doing for a while now and he will command a hefty price tag.
The Croatian could be the perfect fit for United and it is clear that Van Gaal is prepared to spend, but he is going to need to spend big in order to ensure getting quality in return.
Koke (Atletico Madrid)
The 23-year-old Spaniard very highly regarded around Europe and seems sure to slot into Xavi’s place in the national side but, for now, he is working under one of the best managers in Europe in Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid.
In a team that achieved so much last season by winning La Liga and reaching the Champions League final, Koke stood out. His talent was clear to see for all, his defensive play is good and the way he uses the ball reminds you so much of the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
A creative player with an eye for goal as well, some would say he is just what Van Gaal is looking for. A deal could be on the table as well with rumours suggesting that Juan Mata could be to the Vincente Calderon in a swap deal.