Arturo Vidal to Manchester United has been one of the most talked about, on-off transfer saga’s of the summer and it seems we will never truly know whether the Chilean maestro will be a Manchester United player until he is presented to us by Louis Van Gaal himself. However if this deal were to not go through, who could Van Gaal look towards bringing in to re-build United’s midfield?
Candidate No.1 – Kevin Strootman
Strootman has been linked with United for some time ever since he cemented his place in the PSV Eindhoven team almost 3 years ago. Strootman has since joined Italian side Roma and was instrumental in their second place finish in Serie A last season, before a serious knee injury in March saw him miss the rest of the season and also the World Cup this summer. Strootman has been likened to United legend Roy Keane for being a strong, tough tackling midfielder who dominates his opponents and also has an eye for goal.
Should we sign him? If his injury is fully healed by Christmas, we should put all our attention on signing him in the January window.
Candidate No.2 – Sami Khedira
Khedira is usually in the shadow of team mates like Cristiano Ronaldo,Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema however the German’s work ethic and sheer quality is often a crucial factor in Madrid’s success in recent years. What’s more, at 6 feet 2 inches Khedira has height as an advantage and like Strootman this means he can use his physical stature to dominate the midfield, a job similar to that of Yaya Toure at Manchester City.An almost certain starter in the German national team, Khedira has been more coveted by Arsenal and more recently Chelsea as added quality to their defensive midfield options.
Should we sign him? It is one of the more unlikely targets, as Arsenal and Chelsea have stated their interest on several occasions this summer, however if Khedira decides against a move to the capital he would be a more than welcome addition to United’s midfield.
Candidate No.3 – Jordy Clasie
Clasie was a relative unknown across most of Europe until last season where he established himself as a crucial part of Feyenoord’s successful Eredivisie campaign and also a regular in the Dutch national team. At 5 feet 7 inches, Clasie does not have physicality on his side, however he is extremely difficult to dispossess and passing is almost second to none. Clasie made 7 assists in the Eredivisie last year and also set up Robin Van Persie’s goal against Ecuador just before the World Cup. Clasie bears a slight resemblance to United midfielder Tom Cleverley however his style of play is more similar to the legendary Paul Scholes, a small, tough central midfielder with tremendous passing range and bags of energy. He is not a goalscorer though, in over 130 Eredivisie games, Clasie has only scored 8 times and his most prolific campaign in 2011-2012 yielded just 3 goals. However with attacking options like Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and Juan Mata, this shouldnt be a problem.
Should we sign him? Feyenoord’s exit from the Champions League last week gives United some renewed hope despite Feyenoord saying that Clasie was to stay at least another season at the De Kuip. However after Feyenoord sold World Cup stars Daryl Janmaat, Stefan De Vrij and Bruno Martins Indi, Clasie is seen as a cheaper alternative to the more experienced and higher profile players on United’s radar and the Dutch side may be tempted to accept an offer of between 10 and 15m.
Candidate No.4 – Ross Barkley
The talented England youngster had a very impressive 2013-14 campaign as his 6 league goals helped Everton to an impressive 5th place finish under new manager Roberto Martinez. Despite having recently signed a new 4 year deal at Goodison Park, many players have switched clubs after recently signing new contracts, notably PSG defender Thiago Silva who moved to the Parisian side just 12 days after agreeing a new long term contract at AC Milan. On the down side, Barkley will almost certainly be one of the most expensive midfielders that Van Gaal may look towards, especially after Marouane Fellaini’s £27m move to Old Trafford on deadline day last summer. The precocious talent has been likened to former Everton star and United’s own Wayne Rooney, being physically strong, having an eye for goal and being able to run at defenders with pace and power.
Should we sign him? Barkley is one of the more unlikely targets to move to Old Trafford however he could potentially become one of the best midfielders in Europe. A poor season from Everton or player-manager bust up could be the best way of Van Gaal securing the Liverpudlian’s signature at Old Trafford.
Candidate No.5 – Joao Moutinho
Moutinho is a very versatile midfielder who is primarily an attack minded player but can also operate effectively as a holding midfielder or even as a winger. One thing that is for certain is that if Moutinho were to come to Old Trafford, it would not be cheap. Monaco paid 25m Euros for Moutinho in May 2013 and will want to make sure they get a return on their investment if he were to leave, coupled with Monaco’s involvement in this season’s Champions League the French side will not be very open to the idea of letting one of the most valuable players leaving the club. At 27, Moutinho is the perfect age for United, an experienced quality midfielder with nearly 300 club appearances and over 70 caps for Portugal under his belt.
Should we sign him? In short, yes. Moutinho is a quality player who has proven himself in a good standard of league for nearly a decade and still has years left at the top. He wouldn’t be cheap, but Van Gaal has openly stated that if he wanted to spend big on the right players, he would.
Be sure to check out new signings Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera potentially making their league debuts at home to Swansea City on Saturday.