As David Moyes embarks upon his Manchester United tenure, he will look to add to the squad in order to ensure the club remain challengers for both the Champions League and Premier League title.
Over the course of Sir Alex Ferguson’s 26-year reign at Manchester United, the Red Devils won just two Champions League's.
This is despite unprecedented domestic success which saw the club winning 13 Premier League crowns over the same period.
One of the biggest regrets for Ferguson as he steps down from the manager’s position will be that he never quite mastered the tactics and strategy necessary to translate domestic success onto the European stage.
His successor, David Moyes, will be hoping to better Fergie's record in Europe and here are three players that could help him achieve this.
The only man that rivals Lionel Messi as the best player in the world.
Ronaldo has matured since leaving Manchester United into arguably the most complete footballer on the planet.
With electric pace, supreme aerial ability, scything free kicks and a huge range of dribbling skills he has scored over 200 goals in just 198 appearances for Real Madrid.
A return to United would guarantee the club goals, and his individual brilliance would allow more defensive formations to be implemented while maintaining a huge attacking threat on the counter, the key to United’s tactics in Europe.
It is no coincidence that the last time United won the Champions League Ronaldo operated in this way to lethal effect.
A return of a star still held fondly in the supporter’s hearts would make United, already a Premier League-winning side, potential world-beaters. Ronaldo was thought to be keen to return to work under Sir Alex again, and the effect of the change in manager is unknown.
Furthermore, an astronomical fee in excess of £60m would be required to secure Ronaldo, and even with sponsors willing to help fund the deal this could prove too costly for a player of 29-years-of-age, but there is no questioning that United would become a European force if Ronaldo were to return.
It speaks volumes about the improvement in Gareth Bale’s game that people even think to compare him to Ronaldo, and Bale’s game has certainly developed with 21 league goals for Tottenham Hotspur in the 2012/13 season.
This is a reflection on Bale’s move to a more central attacking position for last season, and Tottenham came to rely on their talisman to such an extent that they struggled to win a game without him.
Bale would have a similar effect to Ronaldo, providing goals and penetration to an already-strong side. However, Bale is likely to be somewhat less expensive than Ronaldo, and for a 23-year-old with huge potential to improve even more, even a price in excess of £40m would not seem like a bad investment.
Bale could be United’s next superstar, replacing the ageing Ryan Giggs and elevating United to the level required to regain the Champions League.
If rumours of Cesc Fabregas’ discontent at lack of game-time at boyhood club Barcelona are true, United could land a ready-made replacement for Paul Scholes.
A player whose box-to-box capabilities made him the heart of former club Arsenal’s midfield for years with great success.
United have long required a world-class midfielder, especially in European fixtures, and the addition of Fabregas allied to the resurgence of Michael Carrick would make United’s midfield one of the strongest in Europe.
A potential stumbling block exists in Arsenal’s right of first refusal on their former captain but if the player could be persuaded to join United it would provide the midfield with the impetus required to win the top trophies.
Signing any one of these players would be a huge statement of Moyes’ intention to continue United’s domination of the Premier League and make an assault on the European title Ferguson so badly craved.
This transfer window promises to be a fascinating and crucial one in Moyes’ endeavour to challenge for the top prizes in football during his first season at the helm of Old Trafford.
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