Rumours are spreading once again this week that Manchester United are reviving their interest in Juventus’ winger Miloš Krasić. Given that the Salford-based club have a habit of signing a replacement player a year or two before the incumbent in that position departs – think Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham, Wayne Rooney replacing Ruud van Nistelrooy, and now Phil Jones taking over from Rio Ferdinand – should we be reading into these rumours that Krasić is the answer for the Ryan Giggs conundrum?
Allow us for a second to assume that the rumours are genuine. Allow us also to point out that Krasić would not be a direct replacement for the veteran Welshman – he is, after all, right-footed. But there are several comparisons between the two. Both are inventive playmakers who are equally comfortable operating in the middle of the park or hugging the touchline; while Giggs has moved inside primarily to make room for the likes of Nani and Ashley Young on the left, Krasić has grown up occupying both roles.
Both men are prodigiously talented in the fine art of delivering the killer pass. In his first season at the resurrected Juventus last year, Krasić was a near-constant in the first team and delivered numerous assists from the very start of his time with the club. At 38, Giggs is still one of the most revered passers in the Premier League and Manchester United will once again turn to him this season when they are in need of a moment of magic.
What might appeal to Sir Alex Ferguson the most, though, is Krasić’s record as a winner. The Serbian has proven throughout the course of his career that he can contribute to a successful side. In a six-year spell at Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow, Krasić was part of a team that won nine domestic titles (including back-to-back league crowns) and the 2005 UEFA Cup. In 2009, he succeeded one Nemanja Vidic as Serbian Footballer of the Year.
Ferguson will doubtless understand that, with Giggs surely reaching the latter part of the autumn of his career, and Paul Scholes having retired in the summer, the time is right to find a new midfield talisman. At 26, Krasic is somewhat older than most of the players Manchester United have signed in recent transfer dealings, but he comes with a proven track record, six years’ experience playing in one of the most physical leagues outside the UK, and as an established international.
Krasić’s ability to provide a replacement for Giggs would somewhat depend on where he slots into the side. Ferguson’s gradual but seemingly inevitable switch to a 4-5-1 presents three positions Krasić could fill, in central midfield, on the right wing or behind the striker (although United tend to favour fielding a second centre-forward in that position).
With the already enviable array of attacking talent on show at Old Trafford, a role in central midfield would allow Krasić to spray passes in all directions for the likes of Nani, Young and Antonio Valencia to chase after; playing him on the right would mean more headed opportunities for Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney. Either way, we all know Ferguson would relish the challenge of finding room for another creative mastermind in a midfield already bulging with ideas.