Splash the cash for the perfect midfielder at Manchester United
Manchester United’s team has been crying out for an energetic man in the middle of the park who is physically strong, technically gifted, and can help out in attack and defence. Not since Roy Keane have they had such a player, and many transfer windows have come and gone where first Sir Alex, and more recently David Moyes, have failed to add quality to this area. There are certainly options out there, and for The Red Devils to return to where they believe they should be, a major acquisition needs to be made in central midfield. For me, there are 3 that stand out above the rest as perfect signings for Man Utd.
Arturo Vidal: The Chilean midfielder who patrols the middle of the field for Juventus has been unstoppable this season for Juventus, contributing in all aspects to the team. Earlier this year in an interview with Sport Bild, Vidal declared “Why am I playing so well? Well that’s simple, because in my role I am the best in the world. Many try to imitate my style, but I want to say one thing – I’m the best in the world. In my role, no one defends like me or scores as many goals as me.”
Who can argue with him? His impact on Juve’s title-winning side has been immense due to his ability to perform to high standards in many areas. Boundless energy levels and aggression allow the finest passers more space to apply the magic touch, tactical awareness helps his defenders as he covers them during opposition forays into their defensive third, and his ability to make late runs and shoot from distance add a vital goal output from midfield. You could not wish to describe a better central midfielder and would be a perfect fit for Manchester United.
The only down-side I can see would be the price-tag required to lure him away from the Turin-based club. They have just won the Italian league title in comparison to the 7th placed finish of the Old Trafford club, and Juventus are a huge club also steeped in history. There is no reason for the Italians to part with Vidal for anything less than a huge fee as they are in no position where selling is a necessity. Therefore, United may well be looking at a similar sort of outlay to that spent on obtaining Juan Mata. Spending big is not optional.
Approximate valuation: £40 million.
Paul Pogba: The Frenchman was allowed to leave by Sir Alex Ferguson a few years ago now, and that has to be one of the ex-manager’s biggest regrets. Pogba was an academy product at Old Trafford and after being given very limited opportunities in the first team, rumours started to surface that Sir Alex was not a fan of Pogba’s attitude. His talent and potential was not really placed into question, and selling him so early was almost certainly a mistake.
Now his manager at Juventus has placed faith in him, Pogba has gone from strength to strength. His running power is fantastic and his upper body prowess is comparable to Yaya Touré. Yet he possess a certain poise on the ball which defies his muscular build. It is unlikely that the new Manchester United manager could sign both the Juve midfielders, but Pogba would be a fantastic addition. However, with Fergie still involved at Old Trafford behind the scenes, could he attempt to scupper the deal to save face?
Approximate valuation: £40 million.
Ross Barkley: Could Ross Barkley follow the same path as fellow Scouser and Everton youngster Wayne Rooney in crossing the M62 divide and join Manchester United? Despite Roberto Martinez’s protestations about requiring “Gareth Bale sized bids” to draw Barkley away from Goodison Park, Everton’s continuing financial situation leads one to believe that they would surely accept a much lower bid. The attacking midfielder has had a hugely impressive season that has recently resulted in a call-up to the England squad for the World Cup in Brazil. This is more than justified when you consider the wide array of talents he has demonstrated during the campaign.
Barkley has the physique to be well and truly at home in the engine room of any prospective title challengers and his quality on the ball and direct running style means that his end product provides a serious test to even the strongest defence. He does not lack confidence or self-belief, and we need look no further than his long distance curler against Man City or his lung-busting run and finish against Newcastle United. The Red Devils need someone who is not afraid to take possession of the ball in tight spaces and get their head up before picking a pass. Ross Barkley already has all the skills required in his locker and still at such a young age, you feel he will only get improve. Perhaps the most realistic and economically viable signing of the three discussed for Man United, Barkley should be very high on their shopping list this summer.
Approximate valuation: £30 million.