As summer transfer windows go, this one is set to be massive for Manchester United. In a matter of days the doors to Old Trafford and the rest of the Premier League will swing wide open, allowing sides up and down the country to bring in new recruits and populate Sky Sports’ iconic ‘yellow bar’.
With Ander Herrera seemingly on his way to Old Trafford from Athletic Bilbao, some outlets are mooting Sami Khedira as the next top target on Louis van Gaal’s ever-growing hit-list. An all-round midfielder needed after the lack of options and energy in the area was ruthlessly exposed under David Moyes, and the Germany international would certainly add a combative edge to the Red Devils’ engine room.
So with a new central duo potentially in place, whom else should United be targeting? As it’s a warm summer afternoon we’ve done the thinking for you, and here are six players we see as fit to follow Khedira to the Theatre of Dreams…
It seems that every day a member of LVG’s Dutch World Cup squad gets linked with a move to United, and Robben’s name has been a recurring one. The 30-year-old winger has been one of European football’s top performers in recent seasons, helping Bayern Munich rise to overhaul the dominance Barcelona once had over the continent’s footballing scene.
It’s little secret that United were below their best last season, and although they scored more than the teams around them, a tally of 64 left them some way off of bitter rivals Manchester City, who netted 102 times. Reading into this, attacking additions are needed, and Robben would certainly be useful.
The flying Dutchman is able to play in just about any position across the forward line, and as the stats show he can weigh in with goals and assists in almost any of them.
Oh, and he’s a bit quick…
With Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic no longer Old Trafford stars, at least one new centre-back is needed. Step up Martins Indi. The powerful and uncompromising defender was one of the stars of the Eredivisie last season, with his rugged yet composed playing style helping the Rotterdamers steal second place and a Champions League berth.
A real bonus the 22-year-old has – other than youth – is a good relationship with van Gaal. The new United gaffer handed Martins Indi his senior Netherlands debut in 2012, and has since shown great faith in him by handing him a further 17 caps and involving him in the Oranje’s World Cup adventure.
As this video shows, he’s a pretty good option for the Red Devils…
Pace is key in the modern game, and it’s fair to say that Cuadrado has it in spades. The Colombian has thrived for Fiorentina since being converted from full-back to winger – a la Gareth Bale – and has been shining at the World Cup.
As well as speed, the £30m-rated wide-man has bags of skill and an eye for goal. But don’t take my word for it, let his magic feet do the talking…
Depay has been dubbed ‘the new Cristiano Ronaldo’, enough said. Despite being just 20, the silky winger has netted two World Cup goals already this tournament, and is widely seen as one of the rising stars of Dutch football.
As is the case with any emerging talent, the Premier League is already calling, and although Tottenham have been linked with him United are firmly in the hunt. A need for attacking talent is clear at Old Trafford, and the unpredictable edge Depay would provide could be vital in getting the club back into the top four next term.
For some reason unbeknown to us mere mortals, Real Madrid look ready to sell Angel di Maria. We can’t work out why either. Even with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in the team, the Argentine was the star of the show on many occasions last season, with the Champions League final a massive example what he can do with his direct running style and ability on the ball.
Los Blancos’ potential questionable decision making could be United’s gain, with van Gaal known to be looking for a talented man to operate between the lines as he looks to overhaul his inherited United squad. There is little doubt that di Maria could link well with van Persie and Rooney, which could be enough to fire the Red Devils back into the top four, or even to the title.
In the words of Andy Gray… what a hit!
The Shaw to United stories just don’t seem to go away, leaving the episode in danger of becoming one of the defining transfer sagas of 2014. Some reports suggest van Gaal’s side are baulking at the demands Southampton have made, while others insinuate he’s already agreed terms and is desperate to make the switch.
Whatever the case, the 18-year-old is a talent. Despite his tender years he was ever-present for the Saints in the Premier League last season, playing a key role in their solid midtable finish. Although his stats weren’t amazing – one assist – he earned a spot in England’s World Cup squad, which is some going for one so young.