Over the years Manchester United have been linked with a plethora of brilliant and exciting midfielders. Wesley Sneidjer, Thiago, Arturo Vidal, Kevin Strootman, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Daniele De Rossi, Luiz Gustavo, Cesc Febregas, Sami Khedira and Claudio Marchisio are just some of the names that come to mind when looking back to the past few transfer windows. After multiple failures fans are starting to questioning whether Manchester United are ever going to sign a decent central midfielder. Who can blame them really? It has been that long since we signed a world class central midfielder.
Lets look back at the first transfer window of the David Moyes era. The most disastrous transfer window in recent years saw United linked with every single midfielder in the world. The brilliant minds of David Moyes and Ed Woodward combined and spent the whole transfer window chasing that elusive big name central midfielder. Meanwhile midfielders United could have much more comfortably signed were leaving for other clubs. Not just any central midfielders, players of the caliber of Kevin Strootman and Luiz Gustavo. Two players who would have added much needed bite and energy to our midfield and who were heavily linked with a move to United. While Ed Woodward was busy trying to gain stalker status at Barcelona with persistent bidding for Febregas and Thiago, Strootman and Luiz Gustavo signed for Roma and Wolfsburg respectively for a combined free close to £37 million. Manchester United signed Marouane Fellaini on the last day of the transfer window for £27.5 million !!!
Reports linking Manchester United with Luiz Gustavo have once again picked up pace this summer. Some may disagree but Luiz Gustavo is exactly the type of player Manchester Uuited have been missing since 2008. A player who protects the defense and isn’t afraid to do the dirty work of winning the ball back and stopping counter attacks. A midfielder who can compliment the passing abilities of an ageing Michael Carrick. Carrick is a wonderful passer of the ball but the ability to win back the ball is not his best trait.
An important member of Felipe Scolari’s side in the ongoing World Cup Luis Gustavo is the reason you see Marcelo and Dani Alves bombing up the wings with freedom for Brazil and also the reason why Manchester City’s Fernandinho dosent get anywhere near the Brazilian starting lineup. Some of the work he does for a team he plays in may go unnoticed by many, averaging 3.4 tackles and 2.4 interceptions per game he is amongst the best midfield destroyers in the game. After the arrival of Mario Gotze and Thiago last summer at Bayern Munich Luis Gustavo moved to Wolfsburg for £20 million. For £7.5 million less than what United payed Everton for Mourane Fellaini to do the same job. Brilliant bargain by Ed Woodward there. Maybe Manchester United would actually sign him this time around since Gustavo is a player who previously worked under Louis Van Gaal at Bayern Munich.26 years of age and valued close to £30 million he is definetely one player worth pursuing.
Many would argue that Manchester United need more creative players in midfield, I would disagree. What the squad needs is a solid base for it’s midfield to allow the more creative players to flourish further up field. Imagine the likes of Januzaj, Kagawa and Mata playing without the burden of excessive defensive duties. Imagine a player who could protect our beloved United from being ripped apart on the counter when Evra goes on his runs to join the attack and forgets to come back. A player who reduces the defensive burden on the brilliant passer that is Michael Carrick. A player who flawlessly fits into Louis Van Gaal’s 4-3-3 right in front of the back four.
Would you like to see Luiz Gustavo in a Manchester United shirt or would United be better off pursuing other targets?