Despite their recent performances that suggest time doesn’t apply to them, the clock is ticking on the careers of some of Manchester United’s ageing stars. Ryan Giggs may have signed a new one-year deal, but the future of Paul Scholes is less clear. Whether he gives it another year or not, Sir Alex Ferguson knows a replacement is needed sooner rather than later. One of the players linked with filling the void over the past few years has been Roma’s Daniele de Rossi. But who is he? Is he really the man to plug the gap in Manchester United’s midfield?
The Italian has been a regular fixture in Roma’s and Italy’s midfield for quite some time now. The 27-year-old is an explosive, box-to-box type of player – a seemingly dying breed these days. De Rossi has bags of experience, which Ferguson will be looking for. He’s captained his country, scored in the penalty shoot out victory in the World Cup final, and certainly knows a thing or two about European football.
The problem Ferguson may face in bringing De Rossi to Old Trafford is the players allegiance to his club’s cause. Just like Catalans have with Barcelona, De Rossi has a special connection with the Trigoria and after Francesco Totti, he is the club’s darling. Roma also have new owners: mega-rich Americans hell-bent on ruling the football world, (we’ve heard that before) which could prove to be stumbling block number two for Manchester United.
Whoever Sir Alex to decides to bring in, it’s going to be a gamble. How can you replace a player like Paul Scholes? Somebody who has been the heartbeat of the club for the past two decades, almost. But De Rossi can certainly do as well as anybody else coming in. Similar to Scholes, he loves a tackle (whether it’s clean or not) and isn’t bad in front of goal.
If speculation is to be believed, Ferguson sent his scouts over to Italy to watch De Rossi in action against Napoli last week. The Italian club is well aware of United’s interest and reports have suggested that a player-plus-cash deal could get the ball rolling, with either Federico Macheda or Anderson going in the other direction.
I can’t see Ferguson being too keen on the idea of letting players go in such a deal, but if De Rossi is the man he has been chasing, I’m sure he will use other means of persuasion. The funds are available, and the attraction of winning silverware at Manchester United is hard to resist for any player.
So De Rossi could be the next big arrival at Old Trafford. Filling Paul Scholes’ shoes is a massive task, and only the best need apply. Daniele De Rossi certainly fits that bill.
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